Using social media to integrate profit and purpose

The most potentially transformative impact of social media is its ability to encourage brands to marry profit and purpose. The reason brands participate is that such outreach earns those companies social currency enabling them to start or participate in conversations that connect them to consumers in meaningful ways. The currency of universal values make brands innately sharable.

This ability to end the false separation between living and giving is critical to a brighter future for us all. Without it, no amount of effort through corporate social responsibility initiatives or charitable foundations can hope to meet the scale of challenges we face with equal force. They are simply too great and accelerating. But if the very act of buying what we want or need is tied to contributions that over time make the practice of capitalism self-sustaining and restorative, social media could play an important role in changing the lives of millions of people around the world.

A great example is Tickets For Charity. Here, buyers can purchase tickets to music, sports or theater events and pay the same or better price they would otherwise while supporting a cause they care about.

By working with artists that include as U2, Brad Paisley, Coldplay, Elton John, James Taylor, John Mayer, Usher, the Rolling Stones, The Police, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys among others, Tickets For Charity have so far generated over $3.4 million in donations for charities.

Their participating causes include Artists Against Hunger & Poverty, Autism Speaks, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, CARE, City Year, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Farm Aid, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity International, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Malaria No More,  The National Children’s Cancer Society, The Partnership at, United Way Worldwide, Wildlife Conservation Society and so many more.

Re-purposed this way, the practice of capitalism becomes self-sustaining as it allows contributions to social change to scale in direct proportion to daily consumption. Whether it’s SocialVest, SwipeGood or Ticket’s For Charity, these new business models demonstrate how more and more consumers and social entrepreneurs are taking responsibility for the change they want to see in the world. Their efforts should be applauded, supported and expanded for the benefit of all.

Do you think buying and selling should be tied to contribution? Do you think big brands are likely to follow?