The 2017 Engage for Good Conference in Chicago, led by David Hessekiel brought together corporations, nonprofits, and agencies to discuss the latest efforts and trends in cause marketing. At the conference, companies like Spotify, WestJet, LifeStraw were honored with a 2017 Halo Award that recognizes innovative and creative campaigns that are shining examples of the power corporations, nonprofits, and agencies can have in making an impact in society.
Our VP of Education and Strategy, Jennifer Stringer, shares these takeaways from #EFG2017 of interest for nonprofits, corporations or agencies supporting social initiatives.
Corporate Social Responsibility is more than a responsibility, it’s an opportunity. How can you build a sustainable business and make a sustainable impact on society at the same time? Corporations need to concentrate both on building a strong business and tackling issues they care about simultaneously. Companies like Toms, and Warby Parker built their business with giving back at their core. As corporations look to expand their social responsibility, thinking of authentic and creative ways to do that and making sure it is at the heart of their business can be a winning strategy.
Measure immediate outcomes, but look beyond that immediate impact. Use long-term outcomes to tell that story. While every great social-impact campaign shows immediate short term-outcomes, most campaigns also create a positive domino effect. Take for example, a campaign that aims to educate children about the importance of eating veggies. While children may become more open to new vegetables in the short term, the positive effects may ripple out for years to come: they may grow up to have fewer health problems, they could become health advocates in their family and they might become a parent who passes on those healthy eating habits to their own children. Another example - If your campaign succeeds in getting more kids to brush their teeth, that could lead to further effects such as decreasing the financial burden on families for dental care, less school absenteeism, and positive oral health habits for life. The story shouldn’t end at the end of your campaign.
Everyone in social impact needs to be telling stories and creating meaningful content. People and organizations involved in social causes need to think like a media company. Produce compelling content that shares your story and resonates with your target audience. Joe Waters, one of the speakers at the event, suggests concentrating on “building an audience that knows, likes, and trusts you.” He mentioned the success The Audubon Society has had in growing their community. By inviting their followers to post on their own social media channels pictures of birds they spotted using a unified hashtag, they were able to reach a much wider audience. What compelling stories can your organization and its constituents tell and share? How can you effectively educate the next generation about your cause or create behavior change?
Engage for Good creates a wonderful space to connect with other like-minded socially responsible organizations. The opportunity to celebrate creative campaigns, share and combine collective expertise, and forge new partnerships may just lead to the next great campaign that makes an impact.