The Chronicle of Philanthropy calculated that fund raising excluding Haiti relief, grew a median of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Despite the economy, America’s giving spirit also continues to proliferate as it relates to consumer products or services with a charitable component – what I title integrated generosity.
My first exposure to social enterprise was back in 1982 with Newman’s Own salad dressings. Actor Paul Newman’s food company pioneered the concept when he donated 100% of the proceeds after taxes from the products he marketed to various charities – currently over $300 million and still counting. It was American Express in 1983 that coined the term “cause marketing” with their efforts to support charitable causes, specifically the Statue of Liberty Restoration Project.
Flash forward to 2009 when the term Generation G surfaced. Consumers disgusted by corporate greed and a shaky economy, recognized the importance of “generosity” as a community mindset, thus wanted to support socially responsible businesses. In response corporations are implementing what trend watchers call “embedded generosity” strategies that make giving and donating relevant. A classic example is IKEA’s SUNNAN LED desk lamp powered by solar cells. For every unit they sell worldwide, they will donate an additional unit to UNICEF to give to children living in remote areas without electricity.
What‘s next? Integrated generosity where consumers connect with their communities online via social media to champion a cause. My personal favorite is Tasty TwEats, a cookbook conceived by world travelers that conduct a weekly conversation on Twitter. People submit their favorite recipe or sponsor a page for a minimal donation of $25, with all proceeds going to Planeterra a global grassroots organization that matches each donation 100 percent. People then select the project or cause they want to support. This coming September, integrated generosity will take center stage in the restaurant industry during Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out. The mission of this event is to raise funds to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. Restaurateurs will be utilizing numerous social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.) to engage with their guest’s to promote participation in the event running from September 19th through the 25th. Mark your calendar, the
Great American Dine Out tweet-a-thon is scheduled for Monday, September 20th. You can sample integrated generosity first hand and eat some good food too!