As this year — and this decade — come to a close, we are excited to welcome new and exciting things for social enterprise in 2020. But in order to know where we’re going, we must consider where we’ve been. Instead of our weekly What’s Good, what follows is our reflection of What’s Been Good for Social Enterprise Alliance the past 365 days.
The need for socially and environmentally conscious businesses continues to grow, as do the number of social ventures setting out to solve our world’s toughest problems. To help them succeed, we strived to increase our member benefits with professional networks, workshops and promotional opportunities. We also focused on consumers, building our toasting good platform for conscious shoppers who are voting with their wallets and fueling the fire that scales social enterprises. With that said…
Here’s a few of our favorite 2019 accomplishments.
1. We hosted Summit ’19 in Chicago
In September, we brought our members and supporters together for three days of immersive and enlightening experiences. Summit ’19 kicked off with tours of local social enterprises, which is a special treat considering Chicago is one of the leading cities in the United States for mission-driven business.
After an inspiring Opening Plenary, over 60 speakers and industry leaders shared best practices for building capital and brand presence as social enterprises. Participants could follow or mix and match breakout sessions with tracts that focused on Capital, Impact, Marketing, and Marketplace strategies. We heard from RSF Social Finance, REDF, Stand Together Foundation, Bank of America and Social Enterprise UK.
Want to know more about Summit ‘19? Click here.
2. We welcomed our 2nd Cohort of Jim Schorr Scholarship recipients through the Pave a Path campaign
As an alliance, we recognize our role in making the social sector more inclusive and supportive for entrepreneurs of every gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and financial standing. That’s why we started the Pave a Path campaign in 2017 and proudly support deserving social entrepreneurs by offering Jim Schorr scholarships in the form of SEA memberships. Thanks to your donations, in 2019 we were able to award 15 scholarships!
Our scholarship recipients are making an amazing impact through their social ventures. Their work spans industries and global borders — from increasing health literacy with AI-enabled tech, employing formerly incarcerated individuals to build eco-friendly tiny homes, supporting Tanzanian artists by selling uniquely crafted beadwork, to promoting Native American and Alaska Native traditional teachings using customary healing models.
Want to meet our remarkable recipients? Click here.
3. We developed Marketplace Partnerships for members to grow their businesses
Many of our members’ social enterprise revenue models depend on product sales. To support their businesses, we wanted to make the retail process just a little simpler.
This year, we pioneered our first Marketplace Partnerships for members to sell their goods through online marketplaces such as Brightly and The Etho. Not only did we score our members commission discount rates, selling with our Marketplace Partners is a great way for members to meet their goals in e-commerce without sacrificing core values to compete with the retail giants.
Want to apply to sell with our marketplace partners? Click here.
4. We offered our first MasterClass with BriteWeb
In June 2019, we virtually hosted an online sales workshop for social entrepreneurs, the first in our series of MasterClasses set to cover branding, web design and merchandising. BriteWeb’s Samantha Langdorf taught participants how to build a strategic communications framework. The MasterClass offered a toolkit assessing the needs of a target audience, tactical plans to define or update value propositions and a roadmap to establishing a unique brand personality.
Want to learn more about our MasterClass? Click here.
5. Our toasting good platform launched a new socially conscious lifestyle blog: The Review
While most millennial consumers want to make ethical buying decisions, many don’t know where to start or how to find socially conscious products. To fill this gap, we started The Review, a blog and newsletter created to help consciously curious shoppers make sense of an information overload, answer questions and provide practical steps to start making an impact in everyday life. So far, we’ve featured stories on eco-anxiety, shopping on a budget, teaching kids to be socially conscious, fast fashion, refugee employment and gifting good.
Want to live a more socially conscious life by reading The Review? Click here.
6. toasting good offered its 2nd annual Holiday Gift Guide and 3 new mini-guides!
One of our favorite parts of every year is putting together the Holiday Gift Guide. After careful product selection for quality, style and purpose, we gathered over 300 gifts from 79 impactful brands. Whether it’s a super soft tee with a message in support of climate action, vegan bath and body products, high quality messenger bags made from recycled materials or handmade jewelry, we know that every gift is worth more than its wrapping. That’s the power of gifts that give back, shopping sustainably and sparking conversations about social enterprise goods.
Although winter is the biggest time of year to gift, we always encourage a conscious shopping mindset throughout the year, which inspired our three new gift guides: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day! Now almost every special occasion can be a catalyst for good.
Want to shop our gift guide on toasting good? Click here.
That’s a wrap for 2019, thank you to everyone who has been part of Social Enterprise Alliance as an entrepreneurial leader, member, funder or reader. We’ll see you in 2020!
Special thanks to Kila Englebrook (CEO) and Mikaela Clark (Communications Director) for their years of dedicated work with Social Enterprise Alliance. They are very missed, but doing great things in exciting new chapters of life!
Social Enterprise Alliance is a national membership organization and key catalyst for the rapidly growing social enterprise movement. We provide our members with the resources they need to succeed while supporting social entrepreneurship on a national scale and serving as a voice for more sustainable social impact.
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Author: Mirah Alix