Nice to meet you.
This is where we share our manifesto (download it below), newsfeed opt-ins, and regular articles on what we do behind the scenes at Thread.
Scroll down for our latest blogs, news, and musings.
March 21, 2017
An open letter to Thread's clients that I want to share here too.
Hi there. It's occurred to me that I haven't written to many of you since last year. There's a few reasons for that, which I'll keep brief and bullet-pointed.
- The more Thread grew, the less happier I became.
- I wanted to be with my kids more.
- So we had a seachange.
- And I changed the business model to be largely remote.
- As counter intuitive as it all felt – the more I slowed down, the happier I became.
In this candid spirit, I wanted to touch base and say an overdue hello to you - clients, writers, friends, Women in Focus peers, and newsletter subscribers.
Ironically (and much to my surprise) the business hasn't been affected by the above changes, apart from an unusually quiet pre-Christmas period. It actually helped to define the kinds of services I want Thread to offer - virtual, streamlined and transparently priced. It's all updated on the services and about us page etc. etc., but the gist is that lengthy briefings, frequent face-to-face meetings, and working in an open plan office is officially a thing of the past. Hooray.
I thought this would sound the death knell for Thread but it hasn't - quite the opposite. I now work from the kitchen table, our writers work from theirs, and my 'lunch hour' is spent picking my kids up from school and sharing some carb-laden afternoon tea with them. And I've not been as happy in a long time.
I've learned that success is what you want it to be - and for me, it is about great clients, virtual projects, being around for my family more; and having more space for my mental and physical health to thrive.
So maybe I will touch base in another six months to say hello like this. Or maybe not. I have a feeling it won't matter to you, in the best possible way. I switched off our social media accounts and stopped our weekly newsletters a while back - and guess what? It hasn't made a difference. Music to my ears.
Have a great weekend – and happy slowing down if that's what you are looking to do too at some stage.
AKA The sunny south coast
February 2 2017
How to immediately improve your copy
If you know you can write copy well enough, and you want to do this yourself, then you’re halfway there.
These five tips should carry you the entire way to a beautiful piece of copy that does exactly what you want it to.
- Look at your third paragraph, and start with that
We’re not entirely sure why, but people’s third paragraphs are often where a piece of content starts to get interesting. Instinctively people seem to write in the order of: their business, their skills and finally (...cue the magic third paragraph…) their readers’ needs.
So flip the third paragraph to the top, and shift the other two paragraphs down. Doesn’t that read better?
2. Keep it simple and human, always.
Sometimes when people write copy, they fall into an outdated style of writing that is super formal and kind of starchy in tone.
Case in point, something like this: “Our overarching objectives are low risk, to ensure you have peace of mind”. Did someone say 1990s corporate speak? Bleurgh.
Instead, simply try: “We want you to have peace of mind and not worry about any risk factors.”
Don’t toe the corporate line as a reason to do formal-speak. More than ever corporates need to loosen up their copy, or they risk being irrelevant.
3. Speak directly to the customer
People can get stage fright when writing copy. Formal overtones creep in and they instinctively put the customer at an arm's length.
Copy starts sounding like this: “Our customers know that we deliver excellent service time and again.”
So let’s just reframe this right now. Speak directly to the customer: ‘you, you’re, us, we’ – these words will carry you a long way.
Imagine you are in a café across a table from them, treat them like a human being and not just a customer, and go from there.
4. Start with a customer story
There is a fine line here, given people are busy and don’t generally have time to sit down with a hot cocoa to read your business tales.
But…what people do crave is a quick entry point in the copy that connects personally with them, and stories deliver this hands down.
So, start your copy on a human note. Talk about a real customer who had very common challenges and get them to tell their story for you.
Not you, and definitely not your marketing team, but the customer. And god forbid, don’t ask your customer to send this testimonial in writing as it will just sound like a bad infomercial.
This always has to be done by phone.
To explain: Try to open the piece up on a direct verbatim quote from this customer, which tells their story (not sells your service) in a few short paragraphs.
Ask them about the challenge that led them to you, what their journey was like to find you, their experience of your company, and their reflections looking back overall.
Just ask these questions over the phone in 10 minutes or less (or get someone else outside of your company to do this).
Make sure the conversation feels like just that: a conversation. The second you are both in ‘interview mode’, it is going to sound contrived.
Once you have had this recorded conversation, you have storytelling gold in your customers’ words.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of the breakout box
There is a running joke in journalism circles that if you don’t know where to put some stray content, just put it in a breakout box. But in all seriousness, the breakout box is indispensable next to any copy – online or in print.
The way it works is that the body of your story, brochure or website sits nicely woven together. But there are always random facts, figures, add-on services or just a plain old summary that comes in handy, but doesn’t quite fit into the overall flow of the copy.
So put this stray content into a breakout box: just theme together it under a header, bullet point it, and keep it short and punchy. It’s a great way to draw wandering eyes into your copy for a closer look.
And that’s it for now – hope this helps.
Siobhan & the team at Thread
In other news....
We are a registered B Corporation!
Thread Publishing and The Writers' Group were proud to become a Certified B Corporation in 2016.
What's a B Corp?
B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, demonstrating that business really can be used as a force for good.
What does that mean?
We were certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. We’ve evaluated how our practices impact our employees, our community, the environment, and our customers.
Today, there are over 1,600 Certified B Corps around the globe, including Etsy and Ben & Jerry's. We are proud to join them in a movement that exists to redefine success in business.
Erin's quest to find the stories in business
For her, the focus of any writing, whether it be journalistic, creative, or business, is to find the story and meaning.
Thread is a marketing and PR company, but in addition to their copy writing and publicity work, Erin and her colleagues specialise in long-form, first person articles. To find the best tales possible, Thread interviews their clients in long, free-flowing discussions. They squeeze, pull and push their subjects in the gentlest ways to extract story-telling gold. These pieces of work not only require constant communication with their clients, but internal teamwork as well.
“All of our work is a collaborative effort,” Erin explains. “At every stage between the initial brainstorm to the final review period we’re going back and forth.
“For example, a freelance writer might have produced a first draft but that will always be looked at internally by me and Siobhan Doran, our CEO, so we can collaborate on our end and go back to the freelancer, So, in that sense, all of our work is a team effort.”
Erin also emphasises why this collaboration is so important to the writing process: “Whenever we can, Siobhan and I review each other's work because there's always value in having your work seen by another pair of eyes, by somebody who has a slightly different approach to things.”
Erin's title, 'Managing Editor', is an apt description. She splits her time between creating and writing articles, and organising interviews, films shoots, and liaising with clients. And with customers ranging from not-for-profit organisations to big business, tone and style are king for Thread.
“Working with clients you realise that style is so important to the feel of the whole piece. They often have their own style guides, but sometimes we'll go to their website and see how they've written in the past.
“If I'm writing something for a client, it's important to be able to know which tone to take or which style to use.”
Erin found herself inadvertently learning many skills in style and content when completing her Bachelor's degree in English literature and creative writing. These skills would inform her future career… but at the time she didn't have any real idea where she was heading.
Erin's decision to study English literature at university “…was just on the back of having really enjoyed doing English at school, but without any real knowledge of where I wanted to take it at that time.
“We had to put together our own publication as part of the course,” she explains. “…it had to be something we thought was new to the market.”
To create an innovative publication, Erin drew on her growing experience in literary analysis.
“Working with different literature examples we were given in class encouraged me to think in new and different ways, especially in relation to societal contexts.”
These new ways of thinking, it has turned out, have been invaluable to Erin's career, and she learned that the best way to approach a new challenge is to think outside of the box.
“I think you can see variations in the ways that you can approach any subject,” she says. “There's such a wide range of ways to write about things and I have to pick that out. It's not a one size fits all approach. Writing is quite subtle and you have to be quite clever with it."
Between her literature analysis skills and her flair for creative writing, Erin has comfortably found her place in the story-focused journalism of Thread Publishing.
In addition to their dedication to drawing the story out of unlikely subjects, Thread was created with a mindset of truly ethical writing — Siobhan synthesised the company name by drawing the thread between her heart and her head.
“We've certainly had occasions when we've turned a job down because it doesn't necessarily fit in with the model of who we want to work for.
“For example, we were asked to write content for gambling marketing and we said that we'd rather not. I think we're usually quite clear on exactly what we know is right and wrong.”
Finding clients that fit with Thread 's ethos has been a focus since the company's inception:
“Even in the beginning we still had that gut feeling for our ethics. The gambling job came to us before Thread even got off the ground and even back then we knew enough about ourselves to turn that down.”
But above all, it's storytelling that drives all of the work that Erin and Thread do. For them, the most important part of any piece of writing, even the driest of all business documents, is to delve deep, search your subject, and locate the core narrative.
“One of the main things in our work process is to really listen to what those people are saying, push them, and follow them down the path where they really have some passion.”
The application of this creative, narrative approach to writing can be applied in any situation, not just Thread 's articles. In everything from social media to client emails, finding the story is the most important part of Erin's work.
“It's about having a relationship with the people, the things and the concepts you're writing about.
“Your writing has to shine when somebody's reading it. So just get beyond the surface level, have a prod and ask those questions that might not be what someone was expecting — then you can write a genuine story.“
Taking this approach has helped Erin and her colleagues at Thread to create some new and inspiring pieces of journalism. They endeavour to share this approach with the world, by helping not-for-profit organisations and Thread 's clients to find the unique story in every situation.
To find out more about Thread Publishing, visit their website: threadpublishing.com
Uganda Part 1
Looking back to look forward
Here is Siobhan's take on the life-changing experience in the below three-part series.
It’s nearly been a fortnight since I returned home and the images from Uganda are still fresh in my mind, which is exactly how I want them to remain.
The dust-lined streets stirred with the energy of people selling their wares. The tangled traffic and smoke-soaked atmosphere, heavy with the cacophony of livestock and livelihoods – all merging together and playing out every minute of every day.
This is what I remember; but more than this, it’s the people we met.
A hand up not a hand out
When I raised the funds to donate to The Hunger Project, I understood what The Hunger Project was about, at least on a basic level. I knew their giving model inspired me to want to become more involved. They give ‘a hand up not a hand out’ by respectfully understanding that it is the people who are hungry that create their own solutions to end their hunger.
But to read about hunger and to see hunger in action are, of course, two very different things. I came on this trip primarily to learn, and I learnt that to understand the impact of The Hunger Project – or of anything in life – you need a reference. And so it was through the villages and communities that had not been benefited by The Hunger Project that my eyes were opened as to how transformative The Hunger Project is.
To stand inside the mud hut of a widowed family and learn that their children drink boiled water most nights instead of eating dinner: you can’t forget that. To meet the proud grandfather of a newborn baby girl, who is now taking on parenting duties by default because his daughter died in childbirth. He sometimes feeds his granddaughter sticks from a nearby tree, as they seem to calm her. This is incomprehensible, yet it is still happening as I type these words.
Seeing hunger up close is to be invited to step into another beautiful family’s house and sit on their dusty floor, talking through a translator. Only to look upward and see no roof and, next to us, a small soiled mattress that is shared between six of them, given most of their family are babies and toddlers who haven’t been toilet trained yet.
Logic follows, if their hunger isn’t being met, then their most basic living conditions are secondary to this as well – health care, education, transport – all luxuries compared to hunger, instead of the necessities they are.
And so, this is what life is like without The Hunger Project, or another well-run NGO doing similarly transformative work.
The stories that need to be told
It doesn’t stop there, seeing hunger up close. And these stories need to be told if we are to aspire to help change their outcome.
We met a hard-working mother, called Eveline, whose husband left her when their youngest son was nine months old. He took everything with him – everything being their only comfort: their mattress. Now, diagnosed with syphilis, Eveline wakes up at midnight to brew the beer she is allergic to – so much so that she is covered in a rash. She quietly brews this beer throughout the night so it is ready for the trucks that come at 6am, to collect it and sell it on. Then she’s at work in her neighbour’s fields by 7am and spends all day there. Her total income during the 24-hour period? Just over $1.
Eveline can’t afford to feed her sons, she says shaking her head, so they will have to be pulled out of school next week when the new term is scheduled to start. The boys’ future taken before they’ve had the chance to explore it. Eveline’s sons, now aged nine and 12, stand beside her – proud and protective, but also resigned.
Hunger is manifested yet again when we meet another single mother down the road – her children sit on palm leaves and play in the red dust. Their distended bellies round in stark contrast to their tiny arms. With dark circles beneath their eyes, their mother says that she chooses their education over feeding them. To choose education over food, how can we understand what drives that admirable but devastating choice?
Un-learning and re-learning
This is what we saw. These proud people who work so very hard, and yet it is still not enough. They live outside the reach of The Hunger Project, or have simply chosen not to access its services for now; the struggle of the day-to-day being one too many obstacles to deal with.
You can’t see everything that we saw and not be changed by it – nor would you want to. You certainly can’t ‘unsee’ it. It stays with you, as it should.
Learning about the issues that surround hunger, as we did through these inspiring people, it rightly brings a certain responsibility. It would be disrespectful to simply visit these village people, be moved by their stories for a week or two, and then move on.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, I came on this trip to learn. I knew there was so much I didn’t understand about the chronic long-term issues around hunger and the complexities that surround it at every level – from the local community through to the Government and macro-economic forces. And I’ve come away knowing that I know even less now; so complex are these issues.
But I also know that while I may only be one person navigating through a complex problem, I can’t ignore what I have seen.
So where to now?
The first step is to share more about the work of The Hunger Project, based on what I saw while in Uganda.
Uganda Part 2
The Hunger Project: up close
I know my life has been changed by this trip to Uganda, but I’m still processing exactly how. And that’s okay because I have learnt first-hand that real change is often a slow process.
Either way, I know the first step is to stand back and appreciate what The Hunger Project does, and to share where they fit into the seemingly desperate picture that we saw during our time across parts of Uganda Uganda.
Meet The Hunger Project
The Hunger Project has one goal: to do themselves out of business by the year 2030, when it is very possible that world hunger will no longer exist.
To work towards this target, The Hunger Project enable the poorest of the poor to be empowered to have the means to feed themselves and send their children to school. This is life-changing for these families, and for the unborn generations ahead of them.
It starts with a mindset shift that can only come from the people affected by hunger, and this process takes years. While The Hunger Project is the catalyst, the people themselves in these villages are the solution.
Once the village has committed as a group to end their own hunger, The Hunger Project sets about facilitating a community-led process that builds physical pillars of support, including an epicentre that is built brick by brick by the community. This special building houses a medical clinic, maternity services, a food bank, a school and a micro-loan service. Next come the fields and plantations – planted to surround the epicentre. They provide the physical reference that teaches villagers how to plant, grow, irrigate and develop crops back in their own villages – all financed through their own micro loans, which are governed by the women in their community.
A consultative approach
We went to the home of one such family who had made full use of the epicentre. They had taken the massive leap of faith required to invest in micro loans available from the epicentre, and to learn about farming techniques and irrigation first-hand. Outside their well-kept mud hut, millet was scattered over dust sheets, ready to be ground down into grains. Above their home stood ripe banana trees, in the nearby bush they had built a toilet with hand washing facilities, and the children were getting ready for the start of their new school term next week. The energy of their family and friends was so light and positive – and above all, so very proud. This probably wouldn’t have been the case five years ago, and yet now it is their reality. The transformation of this one family is inspiring their neighbours and their wider community, as all good ripple effects do.
Collaboration not 'solutions'
It is just as inspiring that The Hunger Project and a handful of like-minded NGOs in Uganda address the complex issues around hunger and poverty in such an intelligent, humble and empowering way. The Hunger Project doesn’t descend on villages with so-called ‘solutions’. It works through a structured collaborative process to empower communities to drive their own change and eventually reach total self-reliance, usually within five years.
Self-reliance in sight
I saw this happen – this self-reliance – over and over again. I saw thousands of people marching to the beat of their own brass band, standing in the rain, their cymbals clanging loudly while proudly looking ahead. Then taking our hands to lead us onwards to their epicentre, which is clearly the pulse of their community.
We saw their mango plantations heavy with fruit, their banana plantations towering high, and their millet sat in large sacks ready to be ground down and sold. We saw their self-run schools and their self-administered medical centres, their well stocked food banks and self-governed micro-loan facilities. It works.
And with 121 epicentres across Africa, and over 395,000 local volunteers mobilising further operations in India, Bangladesh, and Latin America The Hunger Project is gaining momentum at a heartening rate.
However, on the other hand this is long-term change we are talking about. And it happens slowly. It needs to, given the significant mindset shifts that are required to take place and often the understandable cynicism of the communities who have had well-meaning but unorganised NGOs in the past attempt to ‘save’ them, and the results have of course not worked out.
But I could see this positive change in action. I could feel its energy. I could hear the villagers talk in earnest tones about how The Hunger Project is, “one of their favourite NGOs to deal with. They keep their promises. They are transparent. They do what they say.”
Generational change in focus
The Hunger Project is not only focussed on ending chronic long-term hunger, but, by intentional default, it is creating waves of generational change.
With each epicentre that becomes self reliant, future generations benefit – who soon won’t remember what it is like to drink boiled water as a substitute for their dinner.
These younger generations look up to their motivated elders with a heady mixture of respect and ambition. They stand and admire the community-elected ‘animators’ – whose job it is to go out and mobilise their communities. They aspire to do this one day, to become leaders when they grow up. The universal look of admiration etched on their faces.
Standing in one such epicentre, watching three boys look at their elders who stood there turning millet into grains, I could read this look on their earnest faces: “One day I want to do that.” Seeing the future give back already.
I too want to give back, and maybe you do too. While we worked hard to raised funds as a group before arriving in Uganda, there is obviously more to be done. And it is so easy to get involved, if you head to: www.thp.org.au or just contact me.
As my own starting point, I am proud to sit on the NSW Development Board of The Hunger Project and create opportunities for corporate Australia and like-minded individuals to get more involved in the work of worthwhile NGOs and social enterprises.
But this is just the beginning. As I earlier, we can’t ‘unsee’ what we have seen, nor should we. I feel, as humans, we all have a part to play. But in particular by seeing what I have seen, I personally have a responsibility to give back to the people who moved us. Or more to the point – to give back to many more like them who we didn’t meet.
Uganda Part 3
Bringing it home
It is the people that reside in my mind, long after the plane has touched down back home. While in Uganda visiting the epicentres, kind-hearted people wanted to say ‘thank you’, everywhere we went. There was dancing, singing, speeches, and another brass band to lead us to and from the epicentre.
Thousands of people would gather and dance around us in sheer joy. It was overwhelming, and at first I felt a fraud for being the subject of their praise, given our relatively small involvement at that point.
A shared experience
Yet, as I walked down a path – that a family had beaten with their own hands so that we could comfortably walk the 100 metres to their house and sit on their bamboo-lined floor to sip their tea – I understood.
We were the mirrors that reflected each and every achievement back at the villagers. By thanking us, we became symbols of The Hunger Project, validating the villagers’ success and laying a testimony to their total life change.
These connected families, beaming with pride. Who want us to see what they have done. How they have totally transformed their own lives.
They are our mentors
I have never respected a group of people more. If these people – who are without food or even a roof over their head – can change their understandably despondent mindset and muster up the energy to turn their lives around over a process of many years, then we can kick any perceived challenges in our life to the kerb. And that is just what I intend to do.
For me, this involves living a meaningful life where I can see now that the definition of conventional success is a complete lie. None of those material indicators really matter.
As long as we have a roof over our heads, food in our belly, fire in our minds and a positive future ahead for our family and our community –then we are on this planet to make sure that everyone else has access to this as well.
This is what success looks like to me. I’m not sure what it looks like for you, but if you share these feelings, I encourage you to find out more about The Hunger Project, to see how you can get involved.
Thanks so much to the Thread Publishing Giving Circle for donating funds, encouragement and support to The Hunger Project, to make this trip happen.
We're searching for interns.
Have you got the spark?
We think you do.
We are looking for interns to work with us and put humanity into business, one story at a time. Whether you're a social media guru, a beautiful story teller, or an aspiring project manager, we'd love to hear more.
You don't need to be a uni graduate (although uni grads are welcome to apply!), we're just looking for people with the smarts and a big heart to help us grow Thread Publishing and come on our journey.
We're based in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, but even if you live in a remote hut in the arctic circle with only one bar of wi-fi, then we still want to work with you.
Email our Managing Editor, Erin, to tell us about yourself and your weekly availability. Application deadline: Friday 29 May.
A word from two of our interns
"I loved my experience with Thread Publishing. Not only did I get to work with wonderful people like Siobhan and Erin, I felt like I was really helping to build something that I hadn’t seen before, something new and interesting.
"My favourite thing was learning about the lives and businesses of the people I wrote about! Not only getting to hear their stories – I also got to help shape a new kind of storytelling and discover the fascinating stories behind the growing movement called Business for Purpose.
"I enjoyed learning a new style of writing that I hadn’t ever tried before, and getting a look behind the scenes of professional digital journalism.
"Thank you, Thread! Heart and head all the way."
"I loved the internship! It was a great way to get a broad range of experience.
"I now know how to work Hootsuite, which is great, and it's good to have a sample of my writing I can use. I also learned some excellent writing tips.
"I love the image that Thread Publishing cultivates. The dedication to the creative nature of the work and the love of creating a profit for a purpose really comes through in the work.
"My advice to any new interns would be: go with the flow. Read the internship package and be confident in your skills — after all, you were given the internship for a reason!"
Latest blog post: Getting ready to head to Uganda
Our Managing Editor Siobhan Doran is packing her bags to join 20 other businesswomen across Australia and head to Uganda, as part of The Hunger Project's partnership with the Business Chicks Immersion and Leadership Program.
Over the course of three articles, Siobhan will map out her journey - before, during and after the trip.
It is thanks to the individuals and their companies who have donated, to help Siobhan raise $10,000 prior to leaving, that Siobhan is able to make this journey. All funds raised go directly to the work on the ground through The Hunger Project.
I am packing my bags and heading to Uganda as part of the Business Chicks Immersion and Leadership Program.
To be honest, I have been so busy it is only now that time is slowing down and my mind is able to focus on what is important. The coming weeks are a complete unknown, and that is not such a bad thing. I know we will come to learn so much more about the work of The Hunger Project, by visiting their epicentres at various stages of progress, and understanding up-close how the women in particular are empowered to end their own hunger and change the lives of their families and their villages.
This is a lesson in leadership at the heart of it, where we don't come to create change but we come to humbly learn from those who are transforming their own lives, with more bravery and courage than we will ever find in any boardroom or by the office water cooler.
While we have raised the funds to help kick-start this process in a small way, the real transformative change happens in the mud huts and epicentres in Uganda; far away from us and our fundraising help.
But to get to this point pre-departure, I have had to grapple on a smaller level with my own leadership. Part of the challenge given to us 'Trippers' is to raise $10,000 and this of course makes perfect sense - not only from The Hunger Project's need to be sustainable but also to get us out of our comfort zones at least a little, before we leave.
The big ask
Asking for money is never comfortable. And to me, $10,000 just sat there as this unachieved amount in the early weeks of fundraising. Like the elephant in the room that I chose to put aside until I figured out where on earth to start.
By donating $1,000 each, the members of the Giving Circle would not only be supporting The Hunger Project but they would be publicly on this journey with me - both through Thread Publishing's own web platform, and the Business Chicks platform.
Outside the box
By thinking outside the box - indeed, by turning the box over and asking myself, 'What would my sponsors want to achieve from this experience?' - I could see that content was my commodity and that this content could create real meaning for my sponsors as we proudly support The Hunger Project together.
So together, we embark on the journey ahead. Supported by Renata Cooper of Forming Circles, Heather English from Alto Hotel on Bourke, Christine Khor from Chorus Executive and Liz Trotter from Triple A Financial Services.
Thank you to the members of the Thread Publishing Giving Circle and to your companies for their support. I hope to make you proud as I learn more about The Hunger Project and the difference it makes.
I am headed to Uganda to simply learn more and be open to the lessons available to me. I hope the experience will empower me to empower others – and myself – in the longer term.
I'll keep you posted along the way.
Congratulations to Thread Publishing's original intern.
Thread Publishing prepares to bid a fond farewell to our brilliant and enthusiastic writing intern, India, who joined the team as we first started to share the stories of people using business as a force for good.
Thank you for lending us your brains. We know you'll excel in your new role (and write a bestselling novel). Come visit again soon!
Do Good December – encouraging the gift of giving in companies
As the time for traditional giving moves ever closer, Siobhan Doran and Erin Smith, from Thread Publishing, are hoping to give the gift of giving a global kick-start from the beaches of Sydney.
The Manly-based brand publishing company, which donates 10 per cent of their annual profits to charity, wanted to go further and encourage other companies to do likewise. ‘Do Good December’ is the result of this coffee-filled brainstorm, and encourages companies or individuals to help a charity or community organisation of their choice as a Christmas gift – whether it’s through their time, profits, or pro-bono work.
“We’re giving all of our profits away this month as part of Do Good December and this will be our Christmas present to the charity of our choice, The Hunger Project,” says Siobhan. “But it doesn’t matter what your company chooses to do, as long as the act of giving inspires the charity or person you are helping.”
The launch initiative
To launch this global initiative, Thread Publishing are asking people to upload a video of themselves on social media nominating an organisation or individual who they think does some serious good and deserves a little recognition. Then they need to share it with their network and encourage others to get involved.
“Just hashtag ‘Do Good December’ or upload your video straight to our Facebook page so we can find the entries,” adds Siobhan.
At the end of December, the winning nomination will receive a complimentary Express Storytelling Package to help share the good one step further. The free-of-charge package includes strategy, written content, video content and design services.
Pay it forward
“Do whatever floats your boat if you want to take part next month,” says Siobhan. “It may be lending some time to help out a local charity, offering pro-bono services, or just making a donation in the lead up to Christmas.
“We hope this will become an annual event, but we have no idea if it will take off. We’ll see how it goes by the end of December and take it from there!”
Traditionally a time for giving, December can become more stressful than serene these days and Do Good December hopes to bring people back to what matters.
“It’s easy to become bogged down by December as endless events take precedence, deadlines mount up, and budgets get tighter. We want to encourage everyone to get back to the spirit of Christmas, regardless of your beliefs. The gift of giving has no boundaries.”
To find out more about #DoGoodDecember go to:
For more background, photos and interviews contact:
m: 0431 528 802
Women in Focus talk all things Thread Publishing
The supportive business community for women shares our belief in the power of purposeful business in their article, Thread Publishing: Creating a business with purpose.
"It’s not about ‘doing digital’ anymore, it’s all a big melting pot that has to work seamlessly together." Siobhan Doran
We chat to Eagle Waves Radio about the stories that shape a business
Our CEO and Founder, Siobhan, speaks to the team at Eagle Business about the need for beautiful storytelling and authenticity in business – and discusses why this formula has become the backbone of marketing.
The rise of the connected economy
We recently soaked up the teachings of Seth Godin at a Business Chicks event and were blown away by the way he makes you feel as though he’s speaking to you – and you alone. It’s no small feat to gain almost cult-like status amongst a vast cross section of individuals.
His cut-through was connection. We are increasingly connected to each other and we gravitate to those who share our values. This isn’t just happening online – though technology has certainly fuelled the shift from an industrial economy to a connected economy.
American industrialist Henry Ford was ahead of his time when he said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Watch the momentum grow
Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to access a small group of people who are just like us, and do business with them. As Seth says, “don’t try to please everyone, just please people like you.” Find your fellow travellers, build connections with them and watch the momentum grow.
Good products and services no longer stand out, they only represent the baseline of what is expected. It’s connection that matters. And to connect you need to care long before the transaction.
This is a long-term relationship built on the various long tails within in every industry. And it’s an exciting time to be yourself, and know there is a meaningful market out there for everyone.
Ben & Jerry’s: Sharing the real purpose of business
The world of business has become about more than the bottom line. Global studies have reported a shift; consumers have come to expect more; and businesses are working to keep up with the momentum.
Beyond the bottom line
According to a global study from last year, only 6% of consumers believe that the singular purpose of business is to make money for shareholders.
Instead, the clear majority of those interviewed across the world expect companies to do more than play a limited role in communities, or to simply donate time and money.
Now, socially conscious companies rub shoulders with those trying to future-proof their business. But business greats have been leading the charge for years.
The multimillion-dollar example
Let’s head to Vermont, 1978. Ben Cohen – the man who literally put the Ben in Ben & Jerry’s – was in the process of co-founding his soon-to-be ice-cream empire with his childhood friend Jerry Greenfield.
The pair made the decision to start shop after taking a course in ice-cream making. Six years later, their company’s annual sales were exceeding US $4million.
But even then, they measured success by different parameters. Their company vowed to operate “in a way that actively recognises the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.”
And so they started the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in 1985 – a charity that continues to support and encourage social, economic and environmental justice to this day.
Unlock your value
The private arm of the business has supported the Foundation in the many successful years since.
Last year Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Corporation contributed $2,530,080 to the Foundation. In turn, the Foundation granted 358 specialist grants directly to socially conscious organisations and employees – at a total value of $2,412,075.
It’s as Ben says in his book, Values-Driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money, and Have Fun: “If a values-driven approach to business can begin to redirect this vast power toward more constructive ends than the simple accumulation of wealth, the human race and Planet Earth will have a fighting chance.”
Photo credit: Leeroy, Life of Pix