Saturday, October 10, 2009

To Think Pink or Not To...That Is the Question!

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein

A recent article in the Boston Globe, "Sick of Pink," talks about people's conflicted feelings about the Pink Ribbon campaign and corporate use of the pink ribbon to promote breast cancer awareness, and as some argue, to boost profits. ( Some call it "consumer philanthropy" and feel that corporations are commoditizing their diseases and taking advantage of cause marketing for their own benefit.

My question is AND so, is that really the worst thing? I know there is a lot of controversy about this subject, as brought up by another blogger So I too dare to ask the question, is there really anything wrong with this? Isn't it a win-win after all?

We are entering an Era of the Hybrid. That is, the old ways surely aren't working and the new ways are yet to be figured out. Yes, corporations might be making more of a profit because of the pink ribbon or other causes that they are associating with. But aren't they also contributing money that never before was available to these causes?

In addition to generating their own profits, aren't they generating a profit for the nonprofit that never existed before? So what is wrong with that? Perhaps, one could argue that the nonprofit should get more of a percentage. Possibly, this is true.

Yet isn't it exciting that we have entered an era in which corporations are beginning to acknowledge that the simple profit model no longer works and recognize that adopting a triple bottom line approach, a hybrid of sorts, is the only way to go. With all the corporate corruption, isn't their inclusion of a cause into their profit based structure a step in the right direction?

Now I get that there is potential for corporations to misuse or abuse the system, so we want to be vigilant with companies and help foster an environment to support them to grow their efforts in integrity and at the same time not punish them too early in the game so they pull out and stop supporting causes altogether. Wouldn't that harm the greater social benefit effort altogether?

The reality is for-profit corporations have a bottom line: profit! As we demonstrate that further aligning with causes is good for businesses' bottom line, will propel business forward into a new paradigm of a triple bottom line: people, profit and the planet!

Isn't this what we really want? What if every company on the planet was affiliated with a cause or many causes? And what if nonprofits could create new revenue streams from corporate partnerships, rather than solely from grants into a new hybrid model of true sustainability?

I am asking for you to:

  • Imagine the possibility of every business affiliated with one or more causes.
  • Imagine if every nonprofit found new revenue streams through corporate and other strategic partnerships to create sustainability in addition to grants.
  • Imagine if every person had a way to tap into this greater movement.

How do you want to be a part of the Responsbility Revolution? How do you want to help usher in a new era of giving? How do you want to support the next evolution of giving? How do you want to BE the change that you wish to see in the world? Do you want to think pink or not to think pink, that really is the question?

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1 comment:

  1. Great post. You're right, if companies have incentives to align themselves with good causes, then they are much more likely to support them. Profit is THE incentive in business. As distasteful as it may be to blatantly say, "we are doing this to make more money, or to get our customers to like us, not because we necessarily care but because it's a strategic business move to support our bottom line," that is fine with me. Several Fortune 500 companies have a bigger impact than some nations, so what they do to support good causes matters a lot - let's not discourage it. It's the same with investments in cleantech: people will invest because they think they will make money, not because they morally want to invest in something green. As long as the money and power is flowing the direction we want, let's not discourage it.