Are You A Socially Responsible Freelancer?

by Alicia Sparks on March 17, 2011

For just pennies a day... Haha, just kidding, this is a serious post.

Remember when I was talking about all the newsletters, blogs, articles, etc. that I has through on a daily basis (and I swear I’m working on fixing that time drain)?

Well, Laura Cross’s newsletter is one of those (one of the better ones, I might add).

A couple of times a week, Laura Cross, the “Expert Entrepreneur” who wants to help you “Rock Your Expertise,” sends out a newsletter or quick e-mail update packed with useful articles or reminders about upcoming web- or teleseminars.

I don’t always read every word of every newsletter (most times I just skim and pick out what’s relevant to me), but I happened to make it to the bottom of her last newsletter…

…and I am so glad I did.

I saw that the last section of Laura’s newsletter was titled “Social Responsibility Rocks,” and after reading about an Australian Cattledog that needs adopting, I found out that Laura donates 5% of certain proceeds to the Best Friends Animal Society.

How fantastic is that?

Laura Cross is a socially responsible entrepreneur.

It made me start thinking about how our society tends to place a lot of pressure on bigger companies to be socially responsible. We want to know if the ink they use is soy-based, what percentage of their packaging is from recycled materials, how much money they give back to society.

But, how many of us stop and think about the little guys? The freelancers, contractors, or entrepreneurs who might have an employee or three but are, for the most part, still the little guys?

I never have.

I guess the bigger companies get so much of our attention because of their size. It makes us feel better to know that an enormous nation- or worldwide company is doing something besides, well, getting rich.

Think about Seventh Generation, TOMS Shoes, and Threads for Thought.

These are all socially responsible companies that make (some) of us feel warm and fuzzy about supporting them.

Even some of the larger scale companies, like Tide with its Loads of Hope and L’Oreal Paris with its Color of Hope, work to give back to their communities.

We little folk, though (and this isn’t a slam on Laura Cross – merely pointing out she’s not as recognized as, you know, L’Oreal Paris), don’t get all that much attention. Overall, freelance writers and editors and web designers have fairly small footprints, and other than The Salvation Army Santa Claus at Christmas, no one really thinks about whether we’re giving back.

Or, do they?

The world might not be looking at us, but maybe we’re looking at ourselves.

I don’t donate a certain percent of proceeds like Laura does, but I do donate money annually to three organizations that represent three of my passions (animal rights, the environment, and mental health advocacy) (although, this year I decided to give to my local animal shelter, rather than a nationwide organization). I sign and forward on petitions, I donate to my local Salvation Army, and I write my governor and other representatives about policies I believe in.

I even engage in “click to give” virtual volunteering daily to make up for what I can’t do out and about in the real world.

Now it’s your turn.

Are you a socially responsible entrepreneur?

As a freelancer, small business owner, or other entrepreneur, are you giving back? What are you doing for the environment? Homeless animals? People? How are you helping fight disease? Feed the hungry? Make sure children are clothed and learn to read?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanja March 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Alicia! What a great post!!! There is so much that we can do as individual to make this world a better place, right? No one thinks that even small things, like holding the door for someone can go great lengths šŸ™‚
I got involved with Team In Traning, to race in triathlon and raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. What started as a lone trip, turned into this beautiful web of people, love, support, and excitement. I have been super anxious to spread the word.
As my friend likes to say: LOVE IS SIMPLE, IT STARTS WITH YOU šŸ™‚

Check out the link:
http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/lavatri11/vbokun

Lindsay Oberst March 19, 2011 at 10:07 am

This is a wonderful post, Alicia. As I am forming my own freelance writing business, social responsibility is something I’m trying to consider. I can’t give a lot, but I can give some. I can also choose to use my words to support causes that matter to me. I think that’s an important thing to remember too.

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