Media Manager at Green Apple Gives
We, at CanadianSME, recently talked to Wendy Jing, media manager at Green Apple Gives. She graduated from the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, with a degree in Business Studies. Wendy is a passionate volunteer in her community. Her love for business and the not-for-profit sector motivated her to pen tech-based articles for non-profit organizations on Entrepreneur.com and IT World Canada. In this interview, we talked about her prime aim to help organizations digitize and modernize their fundraising efforts to better adapt to the changing digital-first generations and cashless society. Her organization, Green Apple Gives, is an innovative digital fundraising platform for businesses such as non-profits, charities, and several other community-based organizations that brings goods into the world and generate new recurring revenue. Read on to know more about how it offers organizations an opportunity that fits and aligns beautifully with a digital-first lifestyle.
How do you think marketing strategies have changed over the past 5 years to include CSR?
I think marketing strategies have drastically changed over the past five years to include CSR through employee recruitment, speaking up on pressing issues, and the rise of social media. Companies have aligned their missions closer with CSR initiatives in recent years and used CSR as a key method to attract top talent. For example, Netflix offers 52 weeks of paid parental leave compared to the average of 18 weeks. Though this isn’t new, companies big and small have switched their focus to using CSR to attract talent, which is even more imperative now, given the Great Resignation. This is also evident with the percentage of companies on the S&P 500 publishing CSR reports increasing from 20% in 2011 to 90% in 2019. With important issues such as Black Lives Matter gaining more traction in the news in the past two years, companies have also made commitments to hire and invest in their diversity programs. Major Conglomerates such as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook all made public statements and donated millions to groups fighting racial inequality following George Floyd’s death. Finally, social media has drastically changed the CSR landscape. A prominent example is Mr.Beast. He’s launched successful campaigns such as TeamTrees (planted 23+ million trees) and TeamSeas (31+ million pounds of trash removed from seas) on YouTube . 5 years ago, CSR would be unheard of at this scale but social media and Millennials and Gen Z have made this possible.
What are your thoughts on the buying power of Millenials and Gen Z? And how do you think this trend will impact businesses?
In recent years, there has been a shift in buying power from Millennials to Gen Z. According to IBM’s Research “Meet the 2020 consumers driving change,” Gen Z cites health and wellness as their top priority, and 8 out of 10 Gen Z have purchased or want to purchase pre-owned products. This trend will impact businesses in three ways: Companies will 1. revamp their benefit programs to reflect the health and wellness goals Gen Z values, 2. focus more on sustainable fashion and sustainable packaging, 3. develop a seamless mobile shopping experience. According to a Bank of America Research Report, Gen Z will surpass millennials’ income in 2031, making more than $33 trillion in income as a cohort. Businesses will need to adapt quickly to remove the pain points Gen Z experiences while shopping online and attract them with genuine CSR initiatives.
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Why is it important for small businesses to focus on their CSRs? And should small business owners do their own CSR, or hire someone else to do it for them?
Small businesses need to focus on their CSR because culture and purpose are essential to Gen Z. Small businesses often lack the diversity and CSR initiatives that larger companies have, and these are important factors Gen Z looks at when searching for jobs. I currently work for two amazing companies with excellent CSR initiatives, which attracted me to apply. Green Apple Gives realized a need for a better fundraising method during a socially distanced period created by the pandemic and created a platform to meet this need. Hearing the positive feedback from donors, community partners, and non-profits have re-affirmed our mission and let us know we’re making a real change. I believe that small business owners should do their own CSR. They should talk with their employees and find an issue they strongly care about and do CSR from a place of true passion. Chris Tufford started Green Apple Gives from a place of passion, and my team and our community came together over the same passion. Hiring a third party is costly, and small business owners might end up creating a CSR initiative they have no passion for, which Gen Z will criticize as a cash grab.
Wendy Jing – Leveraging Technology to Bring Positive Impact Click To Tweet
What do you think is the key difference between how millennials and gen z consumes information? And how do you think the advertising industry will need to change in order to stay relevant?
The key difference between how millennials and gen z consume information is through technology. Millennials grew up using non-smartphones, and DVD players, while Gen Z grew up with iPads, Netflix, YouTube, immersed in technology from day 1. Millennials use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, while Gen Z uses social media like TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat. The speed at which Gen Z prefers to consume information is much shorter than Millennials. The advertising industry needs to learn and adapt to new platforms like TikTok faster and get their advertising out quickly and effectively without losing the core message. The advertising industry will need to switch from print and TV advertisements to influencer-type advertisements on platforms like TikTok.
Do you have pointers on how the process could work more smoothly in an organisation when planning and implementing a CSR strategy?
There are some great free resources and websites educating on planning and implementing a CSR strategy. I think you’ll find lots of helpful advice online, so instead of repeating what’s readily available, I’ll reiterate the most important thing to keep in mind. Buy-in from stakeholders is everything. You want to include your employees, external and internal stakeholders (partners, local communities), fans, and customers in your planning process, and then you should clearly communicate your CSR launch to your stakeholders at the end.
About Wendy Jing
Wendy Jing is the Media Manager at Green Apple Gives. Wendy attended the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and graduated in 2020. She has always been passionate about the non-profit space and CSR since she was a little girl. Her passion for the space encouraged her to volunteer for MetoWe (renamed WE charity), and local non-profits such as Parkwood Estate, Oshawa Senior Community Centers, and Oshawa Museum, among other nonprofits. She always loved solving challenging problems and took on the role of a consultant on two pro bono consulting engagements for a local marina and a large hospital supply chain while in university. Since graduating from the Smith School of business, she’s been busy writing articles specializing in the non-profit and technology space, with her writing featured on IT World Canada, Entrepreneur.com, Medium.com, Thrive Global, and Authority Magazine. She has also published two white papers on the fundraising habits in North America during the pandemic which can be found here: Fundraising in a Post-Pandemic World White Paper