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Why it's Cool to Care

Posted on 29 November 2018

The millennial generation takes a lot of flack for just about everything we do these days. Whether it’s social media, career advancement, avocado toast, or anything else on the laundry list, millennials just can’t seem to get it right. Though I generally disagree with this sentiment as a millennial myself, I do think there is at least one thing that we all began doing right: shopping.

In an age when Amazon Prime Now exists, why are more and more companies popping up with a focus first on social good, and on capitalism second? Why are consumers willing to pay more for a product that benefits more than just the business owners?

Here are my 4 reasons why the younger generations care more about a company with heart. 

  1. Social Media Burst the World Open at the Seams

Love it or hate it, one thing that social media (and the age of the internet) has done is expand our horizons. Major world landmarks like the Louvre in Paris, and the National Gallery in London have seen major increases in traffic over the last ten years, partly because travel became more accessible and partly because now everyone had access to a constant flow of images via Facebook and Instagram.   And though this showed a lot of the beauty of the world, it also made it more apparent that there are areas of the world and people that really need help. People saw more, and therefore more people wanted to help. People found companies that allowed them to buy products they may have found elsewhere, that promised to help people who needed it most. And not to say that this hasn’t existed for some time now, but now people had greater access to see the good they felt they were doing via social media and to connect with other people that were supporting similar efforts.

  1. Social Change is Everything

As an undergraduate student, I worked closely with the Office of Advancement and Development at my alma mater. One of the biggest shifts we were, and are, seeing is that young alumni give less to their university than their counterparts ten years earlier. Similar trends are being mimicked in big organizations like United Way and Red Cross, where there is a significant decrease in giving versus ten years ago. People aren’t necessarily making less money, but rather they are distributing it differently. The younger generation cares a lot about social issues. And by a lot I mean they are EVERYTHING. And we are really passionate about companies that allow us to spend our money and go towards social change. It gives a sense of ‘do-gooder’ because many times, now, we all know someone who is being affected by the issue this company is trying to fix. Which leads into my next point.

  1. The World became a much more vulnerable place

I use the world vulnerable, not to mean weak but vulnerable as defined by Brene Brown, in the sense of willing to share who they are, and even more so, what they have been through. People have become more comfortable sharing their difficulties and their hardships and their pain (again related to social media). But because of this, we all know more about our friends and family than we may have twenty years ago. I, unfortunately, know more people than I would like to that have been victims of sexual violence, and thankfully these people have had the support and resources they needed to recover. But I know that not everyone has the same resources or support and therefore, I own a multitude of products that benefit victims of sexual violence. Though it can seem like a form of passive giving, it is also still a way to make a change through everyday, commonplace actions. And we are especially prone to give to organizations that we have a connection to, in some way, shape, or form.

  1. We have too many options, so we want to feel good about the one we choose

Owning a business is by no means an easy undertaking, in fact it is probably one of the more difficult things anyone can do. But the resources and assistance that is available nowadays makes it a bit more accessible to be a business owner than previous generations. This fact, coupled with the Internet, means that instead of having 5 options of places to buy a t-shirt or a candle, we now have 25 options. Because we have so many options now, people actually take more time to consider where they are purchasing their products. Many times these options fall within $10-$15 of one another, which ultimately makes the price tag negligible. So the deciding factor now has become whether this purchase is going towards something meaningful. In an age when price tag is important, millennials are willing to spend a little bit more to know they are making a difference with their t-shirt or candle purchase.

In reality, there are hundreds of reasons why people have started caring more about the ‘why’ behind a company than the what, but from my experience and observations these few seems to be at the heart of many of our decisions. The fact is that right now, it’s really cool to care, you may even say caring is trending (yeah, I hate myself for that one too). But I am thankful to see so much good coming in small ways and hope that you take some extra time the next time you’re about to buy something to see if you can’t find a company with heart (you’ll be hard pressed not to find one).

We know the holidays are coming up and so our friends over at POINT app are putting together a list of social enterprises, non-profits, ethically sourced (and more) goods and stores where you can do your holiday shopping this year. Also, the holiday season is for more than just giving of gifts but giving of time so make sure to download POINT and connect with awesome volunteer opportunities near you!

Until next time,

Ryan Shaw

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