5 Tips for Successfully Pursuing Social Purpose — by PJ Wade, The Catalyst
Are you searching for social purpose to enrich your work, contribute to obvious local need, and reach out to new target groups? Not as a marketing pitch or sales promotion campaign, but with real social purpose that can right wrongs and improve lives.
Real estate professionals grow to love the communities they work in and often look for ways to give back to the families and neighborhoods that help these committed professionals realize business and personal goals. Blending social purpose with business can enrich existing connections and open the door to new relationships, depending on the type of social venture undertaken:
Challenges: Sometimes a cause or purpose arises out of things gone wrong or service gaps that newly emerge within a community. Existing charities or nonprofits may fully or partially cover these issues, but there is always more that can be done. Real estate professionals have unique perspectives to contribute.
Technology: Increasingly, technology enables a mission or passion to affordably, practically take form and reach out to a target group. Networking with existing service organizations brings benefits to all involved.
Revelation: Often a chance meeting or a new client introduces a fresh perspective on work or life which snaps a social issue or solution into focus and the mission begins. An epiphany of clear connections can occur in the midst of common routine. Revelation unearths new purpose.
How do you blend a business venture with social purpose?
A recent podcast interview posted on my blog offers one example of integrating social purpose into a business start-up. Entrepreneur Lino Falotico of Inner Balance Wear, interviewed on his launch day, candidly revealed the driving force of social purpose.
Falotico began as a successful caterer with a long-term interest in fashion design and a son who suffered from mental illness. One morning driving to a catering job during a particularly colorful sunrise, Falotico had his epiphany. Suddenly, he understood how to help his son and others like him while indulging that long-held design interest.
Listen to Falotico share his personal story of struggling to understand his son’s fight against anxiety disorder and of learning how to help him. You’ll realize that the right purpose ignites passion. This drives individuals to believe they must take on a cause to help others.
Falotico’s story is not without humor. The combined mental-health and fashion statement he is making is with underwear – or more exactly on underwear.
Nothing disrespectful there. His slogan for this motivational variation on days-of-the-week undies is “Let the first thing you put on be you.” Each pair of chakra-color-coded, super-comfies in a 7-pack displays one of seven powerful “I AM” self-actualizing statements on its waistband. This means that wearers start the day concentrating on an “I AM” theme that brings vitality to the day ahead. Falotico’s son works at Inner Balance as part of the team intent on ensuring the messaging works as an invisible-to-others personal reminder.
Falotico promises to donate 7% of the net proceeds to Mental Health Awareness and Research. This is not a launch gimmick, but a long-term commitment to mental health organizations and their causes. He is adamant that his success will mean success for others.
However your new purpose comes to you, finding practical ways to integrate it into your work routine can be a challenge. Wherever you start, your expertise with implementation and communication will determine your success, just as comparable skill will determine Inner Balance’s.
The point is this… your social purpose or solution may seem odd to others until your new way of thinking about the problem and solution gains acceptance. Your goal is to develop a unique approach that guarantees this new commitment works for you and everyone concerned.
Before you plunge into a new social venture, consider these 5 Tips for Successfully Pursuing Social Purpose:
#1. Slow Down
Remember the previous long-term projects you started and couldn’t sustain—the newsletter, the blog, the door-knocking campaign…? Here “failure to stick” can do more than embarrass you. The very people you’re intent on helping will be let down.
#2. Research Is Essential
Ask real estate colleagues and others with established social purpose projects what the long-term positive and negative considerations are. Reach outside your area to learn from professionals who have adopted a purpose that intrigues you. Volunteer on other’s projects to learn how to engage volunteers, fund raise…and the list goes on. Construct a very practical strategy to achieve your goals within your current real estate workload before you jump.
#3. Scale Down The Start-Up
Start small. Begin with a manageable event or a campaign to see if this is really for you. Fine-tune practical considerations before you expand commitment. An annual event may be all that’s necessary.
#4. Understand Target Needs
Invest time and resources listening to those you intend to help. They know what will and won’t work for them. Stereotypes, labels, and “common knowledge” are usually wrong. You may discover targets would prefer an entirely different type of support than is the common perception. Just look at the public’s perceptions about the real estate industry!
#5. Put Your Real Estate Strengths To Work
Incorporate your real estate skills into the design of your organization and project. Your powerful communication, problem-solving, and implementation expertise can ensure your project succeeds. The more you incorporate aspects of your social project into your business routine, the more you’ll achieve for both.
Reach PJ at pjwade@TheCatalyst.com and visit her Blog: http://whatsyourpoint.mobi.