At an historic time when most progressives are feeling doomed by the impending Trump Administration, there was a lot to be hopeful about at Causecast’s first public Impact conference, held in San Francisco.
The chief cheerleader was Ryan Scott, CEO and founder of Causecast. Scott told 3BL Media, “It costs you a hell of a lot more to get a new employee than it does to invest in your current employees.” To that end, Scott created has Causecast, the first technology platform to facilitate corporate philanthropy.
“People really need purpose at work,” said Scott, “Otherwise, they will go someplace else.” Gallup polls have shown a startlingly 70% of American workers are disengaged. Companies with engaged or mission-driven workers score 3.9 times the earnings per share growth rate. Paradoxically, one way to increase employee engagement is through corporate volunteer programs. Why?
People (and millennials in particular) crave purpose in order to feel fulfilled, valued, connected, and committed. According to Gallup, “With mission-driven workers, companies realize major performance gains, including increased employee loyalty and retention, greater customer engagement, improved strategic alignment and enhanced clarity about work priorities.”
Causecast’s philanthropy ambassadors range from progressive companies like TheHonestCo. to big name corporations such as Playstation, Dish Network, Pearson, and Kenneth Cole.
Virtual Reality & Humor: Tools For Social Good
The Savii Group encouraged companies to use innovative storytelling techniques from humorous advertising to virtual reality, in order to engage consumers, whilst promoting social good. Curious attendees tried on Virtual Reality (VR) headgear, which transported them into three-dimensional worlds. The masked adults wandered about awkwardly looking a bit like lost astronauts—but each one left with a sense of awe and intrigue, and a “You’ve gotta try it!” message.
In this age of short attention spans, it’s a no-brainer that companies promoting a mission must engage their audience in new ways. Unlike most video and gaming companies who are marketing VR to kids in the form of addictive war games, Savii believes that VR can and will change lives for the better, launching people into stunning outdoor adventures from Mount Everest climbs to airplane sky dives. Gina Manis-Anderson, CEO of Savii Group, spoke about underprivileged children who are enabled to “travel” to the Grand Canyon, and an amputee who burst into tears after trying VR because it made him feel as if he could walk again.
Manis-Anderson had the audience roaring over an irreverent commercial by Poo-Pourri, an upstart sustainable company, whose low budget ads went viral; they broke all normal protocols for polite talk about poop. Their ad sold more than four million bottles of their natural air freshener and they earned a better rating on Amazon than the iPhone5. It’s a comic gift that your five-year olds (or the five-year old in you) will appreciate.
Manis-Anderson reminded audience members of how “Always,” the feminine hygiene company, took a similar risk creating an ad campaign that would force males to re-examine their stereotypes of what it means to “play like a girl.” Airing their ad during the Super Bowl, which is typically rife with ads about beer and buxom women, Always reached approximately 114.4 million viewers in 60 seconds. Audience members at the Causecast conference, were left wiping their eyes after viewing the LikeAGirl ad.
Adweek reported, “A recent study shows that after watching the video, 76 percent of girls ages 16-24 no longer see the phrase ‘like a girl’ as an insult, and two out of three men who watched said they would stop or think twice before using “like a girl” as an insult.”
SparrowMobile: Let’s Drop Love Bombs
Matthew Bauer, CEO and co-founder of Sparrow Mobile, provided inspiration, as an innovator who blends profit with purpose. Using the buy-one-give-one business model, Sparrow Mobile donates a phone or a month of service to needy populations: the homeless, refugees, and to Black Girls Who Code.
In this unique way, Sparrow Mobile has created a lifeline for the homeless and for refugees, offering the kind of practical connections that so much of us take for granted—a connection to estranged family, a mobile map to the nearest shelter, connections to mental health services, housing leads, jobs, and social workers for follow up phone calls.
By the end of the two-day Causecast conference, a column in the middle of the room was plastered with each participant’s goals. The papers read, “leverage passions,” “keep doing good for all around us,” “united together, we will move forward.”
How will the current political climate influence these companies’ march for sustainability and social justice? Bauer, of SparrowMobile, appeared undaunted. “We gotta go big, go fast— the need is going to be greater,” he told the audience. “Our attitude is to lower our heads and go more aggressively. Let’s just start dropping love bombs.”