In part two of our social mission series, you’ll learn how to select a social mission that’s right for you, and how to properly promote it to your community. We also cover a type of business structure that may interest you as you devise your social mission strategy.
 
In part one, we touched on why your business may want to have its own social mission, including studies that show consumers’ preferences for businesses that give back. In this article, we’ll be covering how to go about choosing a mission and how to get started. Whether you’re in the planning stages of your new business or you’ve owned one for years, you may be feeling a tug to do something more for your community.
 
Business owners may interact with hundreds of people on a weekly basis. Not only are you in tune with the people who patronize your business, but you’re connected to other business owners and community leaders. Through these connections, you may start to notice a growing community need or a charitable cause that you’d like to support.
 
Whatever your reason for wanting to focus your charitable efforts, choosing to concentrate on one mission over many will help you and your business make a greater impact on your community in the long run.
 
Choosing a Mission or Charity
If you don’t already have a cause in mind, sit down with your staff and brainstorm about the local organizations and groups where you could be of help. Do you want to help with jobs, food, animals, education? There are countless ways you can be of assistance—both monetarily and/or in a volunteer capacity.
 
Established in 2010, The King’s Kitchen, in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a public restaurant that uses 100% of its profits and proceeds to feed the poor in Charlotte. Minister and restaurant owner Jim Noble also works with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Dream Center on “The Restoration Program,” a five-part training program that helps employ, train and minister to the homeless, poor, troubled youth, rehab graduates and others who need employment. Two passions collided in the mission of The King’s Kitchen—serving food and serving God.
 
Inspired by a magazine article about The King’s Kitchen, Vicky Ismael and Jim Freeze launched Carroll’s Kitchen in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2016. The nonprofit social enterprise restaurant is creating opportunities for single homeless women by empowering them through job training, life skills and housing. The endeavor has been such a success, Carroll’s Kitchen is opening a second location inside Raleigh’s Morgan Street Food Hall in July.
 
Creating an L3C Structure
While The King’s Kitchen and Carroll’s Kitchen are both 501c3 nonprofit establishments, you may decide that an L3C Structure makes more sense for you. Created 10 years ago in response to a growing number of socially responsible companies, the L3C business structure is a hybrid form of a limited liability company (LLC) and a 501c3. In an L3C, or low-profit company, companies can make a profit of one to 10%, but the profits are secondary to the company’s social purpose. The creation of the L3C structure has helped socially responsible companies secure more private investments since the profits they do make can go toward investors. Find out more about L3C structures here.
Getting the Word Out
How can you share your social mission with your customers and your community without overpromoting and coming across as insincere? The best way is to share your story. Everyone can appreciate the story behind why you’ve chosen to support a cause. Additionally, try sharing the stories of those who you help. Do you have access to share success stories or interview those in need who have been helped through your program? The community visiting your website and social pages will enjoy seeing that the work you do is making a change. Sharing your story could inspire a spark of hope or motivate someone to reach out for help.
 
There are hundreds of wonderful charities and causes that need your assistance. As a local business operator, remember that you can make the most impact by exploring the needs of your own neighborhood first.
 
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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