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Three ways to identify a social cause that matters to your company

Social change is shaking up the business world.

Companies that used to sit on the sidelines of social causes are now being forced onto the playing field.

Many businesses – such as US-based sportswear giant Nike – have made social change a key part of their marketing and business strategies.

For some organizations the causes with which you choose to align yourself will be obvious.

For others, adopting a cause won’t come as naturally.

Here are three ways your organization can identify a social cause behind which it should put its weight.

Find your mission

You’d be surprised at how few companies choose to define their mission, let alone discuss it regularly with employees.

If you don’t have a mission statement (or something similar), this would be a good time to get one.

If you already have one, go back and consult it.

What causes does it remind you of?

Which movements does it align with?

Which larger societal changes are associated with it?

This could be the starting point for finding the social cause that’s right for you and your company.

Ask your employees

Chances are, your employees are already involved in social causes.

Many of them likely post on social media about the social change that matters most to them. Many of them likely volunteer in their spare time with organizations they value. Many have likely participated in marches or demonstrations.

So a good place to start in identifying a social cause for your organization is to ask your employees what matters most to them.

You might not get total alignment from everyone. But at least you’ll come out of the process with some ideas.

And if you choose something that matters to them you’ll have a set audience ready to help you build engagement for your social cause.

Figure out what matters to your audience

Knowing your audience is fundamental to your success as a business.

It’s also a key part of involving your organization with business-driven social change.

Identifying the causes that matter most to your audience will go a long way towards finding a cause with which your organization should align.

You won’t be able to please everyone. But you will be able to come up with something that matters to most of your audience.

Read their social media posts. Do a survey. Run a focus group.

It’ll go a long way towards finding a social cause to identify with – and, in the process, give you a better sense for what your audience wants.

Mark Brownlee is a digital marketing strategist in Ottawa, Canada.

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