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Power of your social mission

Published: 
Sunday, July 8, 2018

Professor Muhammad Yunus, known for establishment of the Grameen Bank, propagated the “profit for purpose” definition where he sees social enterprises operating to earn profits, but to redeploy the profits in furthering the mission of the enterprise, rather than pay out the investors.

For them the mission of the enterprise should address a large scale social problem.

In his view, the social enterprise (business) should serve or meet the social need. In the process, if the business makes profits, that is incidental.

He further shares that when social enterprises make surpluses out of such businesses, these should be applied back into the business to continue to solve the problem and not enrich the entrepreneurs.

The primary goal of such businesses should be to exist for a “purpose” as an end in itself, extending beyond the concept of economic benefits sought by a regular business enterprise.

The key therefore lies in ensuring social enterprises have a well-defined social mission.

If you are thinking about starting a social enterprise or if your existing business doesn’t have one, then articulating a social mission is a good starting point.

Here I share with you three reasons to illustrate the power of your social mission:

1 Provides focus, focus, focus. Having a social mission can be empowering, and can demonstrate your commitment to the social good. Additionally, your social mission can be utilised to empower your employees. It can serve as a reminder “why are we doing this again?” It can rally the team spirit for your most critical asset—your employees.

2 It adds to your brand value. Your social mission should not be just a statement on your company’s wall. It can be incorporated possibly as a kind of tagline, to be directly associated with your brand. Document it in your brand guidelines and make it a part of your corporate identity.

3 Allows you to build partnerships.

Your social mission can be a compelling reason for donors or volunteers to be part of your journey. It allows you to affiliate yourself with other supporters of this mission and vice versa. In this way, you are able to earn more visibility and do more good by aligning yourself with others who are already involved in this mission or who would like to become involved in this mission.

Remember, don’t hide your social mission.

As social entrepreneurs, you should strive to display your social mission wherever you can. There are many ways you can make your social mission visible.

For instance, on your call card or from the About page of your website to the bylines of your press releases.

This will help keep your cause top-of-mind among your audience.

In sum, it’s never too late to get involved. If your existing business doesn’t currently have a social mission or you are think about establishing a social enterprise, now is the perfect time to get started with one.

Remember, the power of your social mission is not a drain on your company’s assets.

It can go a long way in achieving that social good.

NIRMALA MAHARAJ is a doctoral candidate at the UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business. Her research is in social entrepreneurship. Mobile: 689-6539 / E-mail: [email protected]

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