Creating Jobs and Building the Economy with Cause Marketing

Goodwill Industries International featured prominently in the news recently by announcing its commitment to participate in the White House Summer Jobs Initiative. Launched by President Barack Obama as part of a proposal to assist disadvantaged youths in finding employment, the initiative strives to join businesses and nonprofits together with a view to effecting social improvement while also providing a much-needed boost to the economy. In collaboration with numerous for-profit organizations, Goodwill will create up to 180,000 employment opportunities for youngsters this summer, with an estimated 100,000 of these being paid jobs and internships.

The Importance of Collaboration in Stimulating an Economy

This project epitomizes what cause marketing aims to achieve with a collaborative ethic between for-profit and nonprofit ventures helping to achieve social gain. The involvement of Goodwill should come as no surprise, given that they themselves incorporate the principles of social enterprise into their operation to supplement the efforts of 74 million donors located throughout the U.S. and Canada. By generating revenue streams through working with brands and providing assembly, packaging and food preparation services, they are helping to fund their own activities while also creating additional opportunities for employment.

In fact, there is a heavy focus on how contemporary business can effect social change and look to trigger job creation, but in truth it is the collaboration between businesses and nonprofits that has the potential to achieve the greatest levels of success in these fields. It is too easily forgotten that the nonprofit sector generates approximately $1.9 trillion in revenue each year, which equates to more than 13 percent of the total U.S. economy. In addition to this contribution, nonprofits have played a critical role in educating consumers and enhancing their awareness of causes, which has in turn encouraged competitive brands to develop their  own social consciences.

Creating Jobs Through the Nonprofit Sector

In terms of job creation and reducing unemployment, it is fair to surmise that nonprofits play a critical role in finding work for disadvantaged or poorly educated individuals. Aside from the efforts of Goodwill, other social enterprises such as the Greyston Foundation have also served local communities by generating revenue from their for-profit activities and investing in key areas of workforce development, affordable housing, and youth services. In terms of employment, the foundation is focused on teaching transferable skills that empower individuals to work within a range of alternative sectors.

The ‘Create Jobs for USA‘ campaign is another example of how social enterprise and a collaborative ethos between organizations can drive an economy’s growth. Founded on the more traditional cause marketing model of collaboration between a large commercial outlet and a like-minded nonprofit, it has raised more than $5 million towards sustaining job opportunities in poverty-stricken areas of the U.S. Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is the nonprofit venture at the heart of the project, and the financial backing and support of retail giant Starbucks has enabled the campaign to achieve significant media coverage and immediate success.

Nonprofits Integral to Economic Recovery

With 1 in 10 American citizens being employed by a nonprofit, it is clear that organizations in the third sector are integral to the government’s plans to reduce unemployment and drive economic regeneration. Through cause marketing and social enterprise it is possible to create campaigns that can share this growth across all sections of society, delivering jobs, prosperity, and financial independence to even the most disadvantaged of communities. So far from being the beginning, the White House Summer Jobs Initiative is merely a continuation of  the great strides made in cause marketing and effecting social change throughout 2012.

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