13 Essential Resources for Socially Responsible Companies

Mashable

In our recent Commerce With a Conscience Series, supported by FedEx, Mashable wrote about the intersection of tech, entrepreneurship, business and social good. This roundup showcases the innovations from the series and is a great resource for business owners, marketers, social entrepreneurs and consumers. To read more, click through to get the full story.

1. 11 Innovative Crowdfunding Platforms for Social Good

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Two heads are better than one. And the theory of crowdsourcing holds that a crowd of heads are even better. If you're looking for ideas, tapping the wisdom of a crowd can provide faster, better solutions from a diverse group, which can strengthen your project and create more stakeholders. Here are 11 platforms through which you can enjoy the insights of a crowd.

2. 9 Sites That Measure Companies' Social Responsibility

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CSR is important for many consumers -- you want to know where to go to find information on a corporations history of social good -- and so, it should also be important to business owners, too. Here are nine sites that offer great information on CSR -- some of the websites crowdsource opinions and facts, while others use their own set of metrics to gauge social good. And there's the Global Reporting Index, which formalized and made mainstream the notion of disclosing a company's environmental, social and governance performance. Mashable also spoke with Martin Smith, founder of JustMeans and StartingBloc, about these nine sites, as well as a few other resources that can help consumers make smart purchasing decisions.

3. 5 Foundations Supporting Social Good Entrepreneurship

We've all participated in food drives and charitable events, but these acts of social good happen offline. In today's digital age, there are social good foundations that work to enact change online. It's good news for social entrepreneurs who want to create ambitious ventures to further societal goals -- they don't have to go at it alone and can even score some funding from established organizations. Here's a rundown of five foundations, such as the Schwab Foundation, the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, that are helping these enterprising innovators achieve social change.

4. The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Good -- And How to Avoid Them

Yes, it's great to go green and recycle, but all too often, businesses "go green" more for the publicity than with the intention to change the world -- or they get caught supporting an organization that isn't legitimate. Yes, there's a part of social good that's bad, but it's easy to avoid the trap and make sure your business is doing social good the right way. From greenwashing to slacktivism to charity fatigue and more, we outline ways to make sure your own social good project avoids these sins.

5. 5 Ways Tech Companies Are Committing to Sustainability

Sustainability -- the practice of considering of the earth’s long-term well-being -- has become a major buzzword. And the concept is quite popular -- a study by MIT and Boston Consulting Group found that 70% of corporations intended to invest more time or attention from management in sustainability in 2011. And tech companies, which are hubs of innovation, are in a perfect position to make a difference. Here are five ways they're planning to do so, such as partnering with certain causes, increasing a product's life cycle and developing green products.

6. 6 Philanthropic Innovations From the Most Unexpected Sources

Innovation doesn't come just from well endowed tech companies. Some of history’s greatest inventions -- penicillin and microwaves, for example -- were serendipitous discoveries. Others, such as personal computers, were the result of decades of toiling and testing. And today, we're seeing innovations pop up in the unlikeliest of places, like cooking grease and used soda bottles. Check out how these and other social innovation projects could revolutionize the way those in the developing world go about their daily lives.

7. 3 Ways To Keep Cause Marketing Authentic

You can't just slap a charity sticker on a product and call it a day. More than 90% of consumers are prepared to boycott a company for an inauthentic cause marketing campaign, and more than half already are boycotting for this very reason. When it comes to cause marketing, you can't just talk the talk -- you have to walk the walk (and remember, there are those CSR sites mentioned above to keep you in check!). Mashable spoke with Mitch Baranowski, co-founder of B Corp-certified marketing company BBMG, and Brooke Golden, director of Luna Brand Team at Luna Bar, to find out three tips for keeping your business' cause marketing campaign authentic.

8. 16 Sustainable Gifts for the Eco-Minded Techie

Holidays and birthdays call for presents, and if you’re looking to be an environmental hero, you can not only scrap the wrapping paper and extraneous bows, but you can also purchase a green gift for the environmentally conscious guys and gals in your life. There are plenty of green and sustainable tools for the digital lifestyle, like circuit-board jewelry and a cardboard computer, that your eco-friendly friends will appreciate. We found 16 great gifts for your consideration.

9. 5 Steps for Starting and Funding a Social Good Enterprise

Each year, non-profits raise $300 billion, 13% of which is donated online. And yet, fundraising is one of the most challenging aspects of launching a non-profit. But with a savvy social media strategy, a passionate and innovative team, a business-inspired financial model and long nights with a laptop, your fundraising efforts -- and your enterprise -- can really take off. Adam Braun, founder of the education non-profit Pencils of Promise, outlines how to start and fund a social enterprise, sharing tips of how his own project raised money to build 40 schools (and counting).

10. 4 Young Social Good Entrepreneurs to Watch

In recent years, we've seen a heavy emphasis on entrepreneurship as a way to stimulate the economy, create jobs and innovate. Today, there's a slew of young entrepreneurs who run their businesses with the principles of social good. Mashable found four young businesspeople who are making a difference -- and making the world a better place -- with their innovative approach to entrepreneurship.

11. B Corporations: Do They Really Indicate Good Companies?

At the grocery store, you look for USDA and FDA seals. When you walk into a snazzy new building, you might notice a LEED sign by the door. When you swing by a cafe for your morning java, you probably see Fair Trade certified coffee on the shelves. Well, in the world of social good and business, there's an analog: the B Corp, or Benefit Corporations. Certified B Corps need to prove that they are practicing what they preach. The nonprofit B Lab certifies these companies based on a scorecard that assesses its impact on the community, its employees, its consumers and the environment. So while a company can claim that it's charitable and sustainable, a B Corp can prove it. Here's a more in-depth look at B Corps, how they work and how you can get your business certified.

12. What It Takes to Be a Successful Social Good Entrepreneur

Social entrepreneurship is the act of recognizing a social problem and creating a solution using entrepreneurial principles. Business entrepreneurs seek profits; social entrepreneurs seek social or environmental change. Here are some tips for becoming a social entrepreneur, from Harrison Miller of philanthropic daily deal site Recoup and Jeff Miller of car-sharing site Wheelz. Even if your business doesn't have a social good bent, you can still benefit from these tips.

13. 4 Big Trends for the Future of Sustainable Tech

"Sustainability" and "green tech" may sound like overused buzzwords, but there's a world of awesome technologies emerging in the field of sustainable tech. From hybrid cars to sharing models to microliving and gamification, here are four ways the future of tech can help to save the planet.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, studiovision, jaminwell, IvelinRadkov, oonal

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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