I read an interesting article recently about the ways that Not For Profits are changing their strategic priorities. It contains many good points and watch outs for business sectors as well as charity/NFP sectors.
One comment, however, really concerned me – ‘…as consumers become increasingly critical of businesses looking to ‘do good’ or solve all society’s problems.’ There is a big difference between businesses that are genuinely striving to be more responsible, to embrace mutuality and to contribute in real and meaningful ways, versus those who use ‘purpose’ to gain marketing or brand uplift disingenuously and without serious intent, through vacuous grand gestures.
The former are very much contributing whilst the latter are increasingly being exposed. Purpose is, rightly, a massive topic but I’m concerned that unless it is debated, created, acted on and fully embedded responsibly, it will become (remain) just another confused and counterproductive marketing fad rather than the vital informer of true, organisation-wide strategic direction that it should be.
I am delighted that some in the charity sector are re-thinking their place in community and wider society, the ways that they consider their various and complex stakeholders and the issue of empowerment. Business can and should do the same – but only if they mean it.