Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baking for Good does Good for Causes

I want to introduce to you a small bakery doing big things to make a difference for charities. It is Baking for Good. With an online presence through the website, Facebook and Twitter, it's voice is being heard all across communities. The Founder, Emily Dubner has a mission to make great sweets and treats while offering causes a way to raise funds. Her brand brings us back to what we loved, cookies as good as our grandmother's, and local charities we supported through bake sales. Here is Emily's story on her commitment to making an impact.

Growing up, it was easy to give back. I lived in a small suburb outside of Boston where community service was integrated in nearly every activity I did. At school, we donated coats and hats for those who could not afford them; for my cross-country team, we volunteered at road races and raised money for local charities; with my family, we helped out at soup kitchens on each holiday. In college, too, opportunities to volunteer abounded. I spent time tutoring inner-city kids, raised money for breast cancer research, and helped out on neighborhood clean-up days.

Yet somehow, upon moving to New York City and starting my life as a young professional in the corporate world, giving back to my community took a backseat to my job and personal life. I realized that something that had been so important to me growing up was now not so easy to do.

Ultimately, I started Baking for Good as a way to help others give back in small ways. The bake sale is my favorite symbol of giving back: it brings together communities in support of great causes, and it does so in a very sweet, cheerful, and small but impactful way. Through Baking for Good, we enable charities of all sizes to spread awareness and raise money for their important missions. Moreover, we empower our customers to do something special for someone they care about while contributing to a charity of their choice. It’s touching to see the charities our customers choose and the reasons they send our products.

It’s easy for life to get in the way of giving back. We must continue to look for small ways to contribute to our communities.


Emily Dubner is the Founder and CEO of Baking for Good (, an online bakery based on the idea of a local bake sale. 15% of every purchase of Baking for Good’s all-natural, made-to-order brownies, cookies, and other sweet treats goes to a cause the customer chooses. Causes include national nonprofits and local, community-based fundraisers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What 1 Comment to Cause Marketing Campaign Can Mean

Well, who would've known that just one comment to a blog post on cause marketing could mean so much? It did and here is what it was about.

Paul R. Jones writes an excellent blog on the best and the worst of cause marketing campaigns. His expertise, insight and posts are the best I've come across. Plus, I think he is the real deal, someone who says it like it is. He recently wrote a post on Ulta, a large beauty retail store chain, that created a breast cancer campaign this month in support of breast cancer awareness.

After I read it, I offered my own insights on the campaign. Not only do I agree with Paul's comments but the campaign completely missed a call to action. Here is Paul's Blog Post on Ulta's Breast Cancer Campaign and my comment is below that.

Well, his post and my comment were RT across our Tweeples. The positive aspect of commenting in constructive ways is the sharing of ideas, a dialogue of sorts, all to educate and open space for the transfer of 'what you know' (knowledge) all for the sake of learning. It's also a platform for professionals to connect and exchange. Hopefully along the way others get a little something-something too and hec, 'might-could' (my Southern-eeze) make a bigger impact in the world.

If you want to learn more about Paul R Jones you can follow him @PaulRJones

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cause Marketing is Important to Women Consumers

Self Magazine recently released their GOOD 1.5 Study which taps into the desires of what women really want from companies.

So, what do women consumers really want? They want companies to be 'good'. It's as simple as that. According to the study, women want companies stand up for a cause, even if the product or service costs them a little more--73% said they would pay more for a "good" product. Get the full scoop on this here.

Companies that engage in giving back and take a stand for something beyond the bottom line always benefit, as well as the cause. Giving back, whether it's through volunteer time, outright contributions, cause marketing or some other way, is a good thing to do because it improves the social fabric of communities. And you've heard me say and it's plain as day on the home page of my website, giving is a force for social change. Companies are still learning about the positive impact it has for them. We know for sure that it benefits charities. Yet there is a benefit for businesses, it's employees and customers. The key, however, to reaping the rewards of giving back lies squarely in the "how" a company gives back and not in the "what" a company gives back. And, as important in "how" the giving is communicated. It takes more than just adding a blurb to your company website.

If you are a business whose services or products are targeted directly to women, the Self Magazine Study GOOD 1.5 is a must read. Then, because I work primarily with women-owned business that have a desire to make giving an important part of the business, I'd love to hear from you and help you be a force for good.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Girls giving back - Burlington, MA - Burlington Union

Here is how a group of 3rd and 4th grader who call themselves the Giving Girls are dedicated to raising funds for charities in their community. Inspiring!

Posted using ShareThis

Employee Volunteer Programs are Great for Business & Community

Volunteerism is a great way for any size business to give back and an employee volunteer program is a must for several reasons. The most important reason is it gives you and your employees a stake in the business's giving and it can improve employee morale. Even if you are a solo-entrepreneur, a volunteer program is an excellent way to build relationships in your community (even if your business is online).

An employee volunteer program doesn't have to be complex and time consuming. But, it should be leveraged against other assets for giving, which determines how you build this program. The employee volunteer program needs to also have the systems in place for it to be successful and effective. If you are thinking about establishing an employee volunteer program or if you are a solo entrepreneur and want to include time as a way to give back, here are 6 easy steps to create and employee volunteer program.

1. Align volunteer activities with the business giving mission. Volunteering should not necessarily be done on the fly or without consideration. This is key to its effectiveness and benefits for your business. Take the time to select volunteer activities that closely align with your giving mission. Choosing activities that align with your giving mission generate the greatest benefits for the business, employees and the community.

2. Develop a volunteer program structure and policies. Written and communicated policies about volunteering keep the program focused and easy to manage. It lays the groundwork for what the business will do, how you will do it, and when to recognize employees for their volunteer time. Structures and policies keeps the process fair for everyone involved.

3. Leverage volunteer activities against other assets the business has to give. You need to know how much time you can afford to give back. Time is weighed against in-kind donations, cash contributions (including matching gift programs), loaned expertise, and more. A good tip to know when the economy has taken a downturn, pump up your volunteer program over other ways you give back.

4. Communicate your volunteer efforts. Communicating your giving program generates enthusiasm within the business and goodwill within the community. The results and efforts of your volunteerism are linked to public relation and marketing efforts both internally and externally.

5. Reward engaged employees. Nothing speaks louder to employees than appreciation for what they do. Establishing a recognition program inspires others and is a great way to say 'thank you' for their contribution to the overall business giving program.

6. Measure and evaluate. You don't know how successful your volunteer program is unless you take the time to evaluate it. Yes, volunteering is all good, but you must evaluate the program as it's the only way true success can be determined. One area to measure is employee satisfaction with the program.

If you think you don't have the time to volunteer, know this for sure - you will never have enough time. Volunteering is a rich and rewarding way to give back. In the last chapter of my book, Donna Finocchiaro is a professional organizer and owner of Organized East of the River. She never thought she had enough time, but she makes the time. In her chapter, she describes the satisfaction and benefits of volunteering through her business.

Copyright © 2009. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Make A Difference Day

While October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month, it could also be Volunteer month. Make A Difference Day is a national day of volunteerism across America. Held this year on October 24th, this national day of volunteerism is sweeping cities and mayors are stepping up to support it through city-wide volunteer efforts.

Organized by USA Weekend and HandsOn Network, Make A Difference Day is held on the fourth Sunday of October each year. There are oodles of volunteer activities in your own community organized through your local HandsOn Network. So finding something to do is not a problem. Making the time is the priority here.

You can volunteer through your business, with a group of friends or make it a family outing. Chose an activity that inspires you and I promise you will feel richly rewarded at the end of the day. The opportunity to grow your business through volunteering, expand networks and build relationships, plus make a difference for a cause and lives is a WOW thing.

If you participate in Make A Difference Day through your business, then I want to hear from you! I will gladly feature your story on this blog. You never know just how much you can inspire someone else to do the same.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You Can Give Peace of Mind for Pet Owners

In yesterday's local newspaper there was an article that grabbed me. Maybe because it had to do with pets. Cat lover here. And, it had to do with individuals under hospice care and it is everything for me to share this with you in the hopes that you may desire to help.

In Columbus, GA the local hospice has extended a new program. The staff recognized that many of their patients are also pet owners but are no longer able to either physically or financially care to the daily needs of their loving pet companions. And it is hard to grasp what a pet must know when their owner is either no longer around or is no longer able to walk, feed or bathe them; and for a pet owner to be assured their furry companions are being cared for is a comfort.

Columbus Hospice in Columbus, GA received a $5,000 grant from the Banfield Charitable Trust for a new program called, Pet Peace of Mind. The program coordinates volunteers willing to make sure that the pets of those under the care at Columbus Hospice pick up pet food and cat litter, walk, feed and perform routine pet duties for the owner, they'll take pets to get groomed and take to the vet for check-ups, shots or in case of a pet emergency. Local veterinarians are helping out with this program as well offering discounted fees and pet grooming businesses are on board donating their services.

A great program, right? You maybe asking, "What can I do to help since I don't live in Columbus, GA?" Two things for you to consider:

1). Make an outright donation directly to the Pet Peace of Mind program at Columbus Hospice.
2). Host a Cause of Cocktail party and auction items. Donate the funds to Columbus Hospice.

If your local hospice does not have a similar program, but they have a Volunteer program, you can offer to:

1). Sponsor therapy pet visit an individual in any hospice, if they cannot see their own pets.
2). Volunteer to buy and deliver dog food, cat food or litter to an individual under hospice care at their home.
3). Host a Business Network Social to raise funds or any other idea but have a goal amount in mind as it motivates people to raise money.

The idea is to get creative about giving back in a unique way for you and your business. While the above ideas are not particularly 'out of the box', it is a way to get started.

Here is a video of Moments with Baxter. While Baxter is a Pet Therapy Dog for Hospice Care, it just may move your compassion and to tears.

Moments with Baxter

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Get Fit While Running & with Fido

A little something you may not know about me (because I make it a point not to blog about me, my life, etc... My life is not that interesting and besides I don't hold myself to a position that I think others would really care anyway) I am a long distance runner and have been since the age of 11. I run nearly every day, sometimes double work outs depending if I am training for a particular race. But, I am not a group runner, never have been. Just me, the miles, and an empty road (sort of). My weekly mileage has fluctuated from 40 to 75 miles a week, with once reaching 111. My pr for a 5K is 17:52; 10K is 38:39; 10 miler 64:?? and the 1/2 marathon 1:17 (way back when).

Just yesterday, while on a monthly call with a great group of women business owners, a question was asked... and I responded, "Well, I am a runner first and foremost. My days are scheduled around my runs." After the call I came across post on Run the Planet, a great online resource for runners of all levels. The article was about Get Fit with Fido. This Seattle-based program connects runners and walkers with a dog that is available for adoption. The Get Fit with Fido dog running team is recognized throughout Seattle, as they run in bright yellow running gear, with happy dogs at their sides wearing "I'm available for adoption" banners.

About the Get Fit with Fido program:

Every Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm, and Saturday morning at 9:00 am, Get Fit with Fido team members run adoptable dogs from the shelter to Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle. The distance ranges from 2 to 4 miles depending on the physical condition of the runners and dogs. Weather is also a factor. The team does not run during thunderstorms, or when the roads are icy. The dogs wear banners indicating that they are available for adoption. Generally we have 6 to 14 runners each session.

These are the primary goals of the program:
  • Vigorously exercise dogs that are confined to kennels for long periods of time
  • Find loving homes for shelter dogs
  • Increase public awareness of the shelter and let people know that adoptable dogs are not routinely "put to sleep"
  • Recruit volunteers for various programs at the shelter
  • Encourage runners and joggers to adopt dogs for companionship and safety
    (Source: Get Fit with Fido)

According to Alan Ward, the German Shepherd/Dachshund mix who can write and is VP Administrative Services a the local Community College, "There have been a lot of positive outcomes as a result of this program. One of them of course is that hundreds of wonderful dogs have found loving homes. Another is the "SAS' annual Furry 5K", a spin-off of the program, where 2500 runners/walkers, 1000 dogs, and 1 very brave cat participate in a five kilometers event each June to, raise money for the Help the Animals Fund. This fund provides veterinary care for sick and injured animals at the shelter. There is now a Fido racing team, where team members and dogs participate in local races, and a Tiger Mountain group that takes dogs hiking on a local mountain on Sunday mornings." (Source: Run the Planet)

This is one cool way to volunteer, to get moving and do something good for yourself and a dog awaiting adoption. I love this program and if I lived in Seattle, this is one running group I'd join.