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The Business of Good: For the Socially Minded Entrepreneur

The Business of Good: For the Socially Minded Entrepreneur Credit: Dreamstime


Socially responsible business practices -- including organic, fair trade, giving back and going green – are becoming the norm for for-profit, as well as nonprofit, businesses. We’re committed to covering this side of small business with our weekly wrap-up of news affecting businesses that have embraced this socially responsible model, combining a for-profit business with nonprofit sensibilities.

Get certified

Socially conscious businesses looking to provide their consumers with the assurance that they truly practice what they preach can get a seal of approval as a certified Benefit Corporation. This week, BusinessNewsDaily looks at process of becoming a B Corporation as well as the benefits that come along with it. Businesses looking for the certification must go through a thorough assessment process by B Lab, a third-party nonprofit organization that uses a survey to rate a company’s environmental practices, employee treatment, and activism within its community, among other things.
Most importantly, perhaps, is that state governments are starting to recognize the need for an official "B Corp." status. So far, Vermont, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.

Got mail?

A new business is making it as easy as clicking “send” on an email to donate money to charitable organizations. Launched this week, GiveBackMail.com is a free email service that creates positive change around the world by donating to causes that users care about every time they use their email. Users can take advantage of the service – which features the ability to share large files, manage multiple accounts, preview attachments and view all social media feeds within an email platform – all while keeping their current email address.

Responsible shoppers

With all the discussion on the need for more socially responsible businesses, shouldn’t some of that talk include encouraging more socially responsible shoppers?

In a column for Mashable, Simon Mainwairing provides a “framework” for social activism that is designed to make socially conscious shopping experiences easy. Steps include making an individual commitment, engaging the community and promoting your values.

Personal touch

Socially conscious businesses looking to get a leg up with their social media campaigns need to be sure their online existence has a human presence.

BusinessNewsDaily reported this week on new University of Missouri research that showed social networking pages with a human presence , as opposed to an organizational tone, lead to much higher user satisfaction ratings.

Triple threat

For years, there have been only a few organized entities specifically concerned with human well-being: government, faith-based groups and nonprofit organizations.

In a Huffington Post blog this week, Goodwill President and CEO Jim Gibbons said businesses practicing social responsibility can now be added to the list, and are becoming increasingly important to local communities.


Gibbons advocates businesses, consumers and nonprofits all joining forces to triple their impact.

Artistic liberties

A logo is often the first interaction that socially responsible businesses have with their customers, which is why new research suggests it is critical to know the message it sends . BusinessNewsDaily reports on the research from Boston College that specifically looked at logos with manipulated typefaces that leave some parts to the customer’s imagination, such as the IBM logo. While businesses with these logos often are considered innovative, they are also seen as untrustworthy, the research showed.

Wedding bliss

Brides now have the chance to be socially conscious, and stylish, on their big day.  Vancouver blogger Janet Smith writes this week about a new line of wedding shoes being introduced by TOMS, which donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. The fashionable and comfortable shoes, Smith says, will leave the bride dancing until the very end of the night.

We hear about many socially responsible businesses each week.  Here are this week’s favorites:

MyCharityBox: A free online donation platform providing new tools for nonprofits related to fundraising and brand management and outreach. It also introduces a variety of interactive controls to simplify the donation process and ensure that donors can give quickly and efficiently.
On Twitter @NadanuOnline

Wearable Collections: A socially conscious organization designed to make it fast and easy for New Yorkers to donate their used clothing. The company serves as a drop-off point and then, through its established network, distributes the discarded clothing around the world to people in need.
On Twitter @Wearablecollect

Greenlighted: A group-buying website that promotes weekly discounted deals from socially responsible brands. A portion of the revenue is added into a $1 million pool and distributed to nonprofits that are competing in an online voting competition. Each time a target number of purchases are reached, the $1 million will be donated to the top 50 organizations receiving the most votes on their website.
On Twitter @Greenlighted

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.