Social entrepreneurs are people who use all the resources at their disposal to solve community and world problems. They aim to, ultimately remake our world, redress the damage done in the past, and/or leave a healthier planet for the next generation. Social entrepreneurs recognize that we are all part of a mutually dependent globally community whose best interests are served by also serving the needs of others. Many social entrepreneurs don’t think of themselves as a brand, and would rather people focus on their cause. However, successful fundraisers understand that the majority of people make donations to organizations that have leaders that they perceive as trustworthy. The following are some of the most significant reasons why social entrepreneurs need to have great personal brands:
Makes you more accessible
Social entrepreneurs must be accessible for the individuals and community that they serve, as well as donors that support their organization. Accessibility becomes even more important if you are a serial social entrepreneur like Karen Kalish, who has founded three non-profit organizations and one program. After reading about her in the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Magazine, I performed a quick Google search and found her website and contact information. When I asked her why she decided to have a personal website she explained that as a serial social entrepreneur it provided a centralized location for all of her many community initiatives.
Social media increases influence and trustworthiness
Two cliché statements that are true: People form relationships with people. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. For a social entrepreneur to achieve the mission of their cause, others must invest their time and/or money to support them. Many people like to verify that the leader of the cause is trustworthy and credible before they commit resources. Damon Jones, Founder and Chief Giver of SOCKS (So Others Can Keep Striding), said that social media has been critical for increasing awareness and funding for the SOCKS movement. Mr. Jones has encountered many people who said that they donated to other organizations in the past, and the resources didn’t meet the target audience. However, by maintaining a trustworthy image on digital media, people support his cause because social media advertises his actions as a dedicated and passionate advocate for the homeless. By integrating personal and professional content on social media, social entrepreneurs not only develop a personal brand online, but also give people a holistic perception of who they are as an individual. It will make it easier for their peers, colleagues, and clients to establish trust, connection, and an authentic relationship. Social entrepreneurs, who have personal brands that are more trustworthy than those who don’t, make people significantly more likely to, metaphorically and literally, invest in them and help them achieve their goals.
A positive presence increases fundraising opportunities
One of the most important reasons why social entrepreneurs should build and maintain their personal brand is because having a positive on and offline presence helps increase the amount of funding they can raise. All social entrepreneurs need capital in order to be able to do what they aspire to do, and since most cannot arrange all of the required capital themselves, they must try to gather capital to fund their cause. Fundraising is essential to the sustainability of any social entrepreneurial venture. The majority of social entrepreneurs already possess characteristics of a good fundraiser such as: passion, commitment, strategic, innovative, vigilant, and optimistic. Another important attribute of successful fundraisers is having a presence or the ability to command attention and being respected as a professional. Personal branding, specifically your image and online presence, can help position yourself to appear more confident and knowledgeable to donors and potential donors.
Simply put: personal branding is about sharing your vision, not hard-selling yourself. Personal branding is using public relations, social media, and professional relationships to share your story and accomplish your mission to help and serve others. These are all things that some of the most successful social entrepreneurs do and as a result it has helped them make a huge impact in our communities.
Waller & Company offers entrepreneurs, executives, politicians, and public figures the tools they need create and promote a professional and consistent personal brand. Very few companies offer a full-complement of personal branding services necessary to guide you through all phases of your professional life-cycle. We work with clients in different stages of their personal brand: development, growth, and recovery. As a result, services are separated into three categories: online presence strategy, public relations, and crisis management. Our personalized services prove to be an invaluable resource and provide a unique competitive advantage to our clients.