Communications, marketing, and knowledge-sharing activities often emerge as a crucial part of their ability to attract resources, capacity to use resources, and knowledge to sustain and grow resources.
We regularly hear from for-benefit firms and organizations eager to diversify their revenue streams, improve their operations and strategic planning, and position their solutions to serve more community needs. Our clients want to know how to convert their initial bursts of buzz into actual support and revenue.
We also hear from good ventures at risk of undercutting their hard-won support and success. They’re hesitant to assert their advocacy voices throughout their business activities. They routinely ignore business development opportunities, and dismiss networking (offline and online) as a luxury. They fail to connect their outreach, engagement, and relationship building to ongoing strategic planning, program development, and revenue generation considerations.
As good social enterprise achieve greater support for their services and causes, they must think about a wider scope of activity that engages and retains their stakeholders. These demands can bring opportunities along with headaches.
Individual groups working towards a shared goal, or within the same sector, may get lost amid broader attention to the social issue. The broader social concern at issue may find itself competing for attention with specific firms and organizations able to provide clarity, focus, and a narrative tying specific concerns to concrete action.
Socially-disengaged enterprises will lose out on valuable resources and opportunities, no matter how credible, knowledgeable, or well-liked they may be. For-benefit ventures unprepared to adjust their efforts against changing attitudes, perceptions, and circumstances will get lost in the mix.
For-benefit enterprises must be able to apply their mission not only to their cause and services, but also towards their own sustainability. As stewards for the communities they serve, social entrepreneurs contribute passion and commitment rooted in a shared sense of values and purpose. As ambassadors for solutions and services, social entrepreneurs leverage their experience, credibility, and knowledge to work across a range of interests.
By establishing and supporting relationships– not merely points of contact– through which your social enterprise will deliver on its mission, your social venture creates a strong foundation from which to grow your presence, demonstrate your tangible social value, and continue to engage a diverse stakeholder base. Communications planning is important to realizing and reinforcing these needs.
From message development to identity reinforcement, marketing can help define and articulate social enterprise value across different audiences, positioning organizations for better short-term survival and long-range success.
This expanded ability, however, brings an ongoing responsibility, to be alert, responsive, and in-tune with the social enterprise itself, not just the community/society its aims to change.