TOMS Shoes Reconsiders Its “Buy One, Give One” Model


Toms Shoes, the company that pioneered the “buy one, give one” social entrepreneurship model into the mainstream, is now reconsidering its business and social impact model. For every shoe sold, the company provides a pair to an underprivileged child in a developing nations and, although this sounds like a great idea, this model has come under fire numerous times. Critics question whether such models actually relieve poverty, or if they simply perpetuate it by failing to provide any sustainable improvements to a recipient’s or community’s quality of life.



It seems the company is starting to take these concerns to heart: TOMS will be opening a manufacturing facility in Haiti which will employ 100 Haitians starting in January 2014. By the end of 2015, they have pledged to produce 1/3 of all their products in a “responsible, sustainable” environment – meaning in locations that they actually donate and distribute shoes.

What do you think about the buy on, give on model? Is it productive or damaging to communities receiving the model’s output? Comment or send us a tweet @ImpactFlo to get the conversation started!

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5 Lessons of the 2013 Millennial Impact Report for Nonprofits

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What is the Millennial Impact Report?

Last week, Achieve and The Case Foundation, along with their partners, released the Millennial Impact Reportan assessment of the social impact activity of people under 30, aka the Millennial generation.  The report includes data about Millennials’ propensity to donate, their expectations from nonprofit organizations’ websites, reporting, social impact and social media practices.

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In Social Impact, Is Impact a Bad Word?

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I just came across a really interesting piece in Pioneer Post – a UK-based blog about everything residing in the intersection of social, business and nonprofit – in which SROI CEO Jeremy Nicholls, who is heavily involved in social impact projects, discusses his uneasiness around the word “impact.”

In his article, he cites the shift of discourse in the social work space from value to impact as a violent one, and one in which agency is inherently stripped from those meant to be receiving “impactful” “help.” He notes, however, that this is of course an unintentional and unmalicious fixation but one that requires understanding and attention nonetheless; a moment to pause and think about what we are saying and how this initiates or regresses change sought.

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A Response to Marketing Social Impact

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Several weeks ago, I wrote a post about an article I read on Forbes, which addressed the ongoing debate of whether or not marketing social impact is always a good idea. I argued that perhaps it is never a bad thing to prove social impact.

The author of the Forbes article, Daniela Papi responded to our post:

“Thanks for the note and the blog. While I agree with your statement that tracking your social impact is an imperative, and I agree that how you tell your story is key, I disagree that sharing the full impact story in marketing is always a good thing.

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Nonprofit Transparency is Needed Now More Than Ever – CNN

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CNN partnered with the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting to disseminate the results of a yearlong investigation of American charities’ shortcomings as organizations. It is clear from the findings that nonprofit transparency is an urgent issue. [You can check out their list of 50 worst charities in America here.]

The article, published last week, has garnered significant media attention for the poor scores many organizations received. In one case, an organization spent less than 1% of their total revenue on their mission. Less than 1%! This number, of course, is shameful and disturbing, not only for the needy but also for the donors who had entrusted the organization to do good.

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Why Proving Social Impact is Never a Bad Thing

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This week, we take a break from our data story guide to probe a recent Forbes article, “Can Marketing Your Social Impact Harm Your Social Impact?” Proving social impact might need to be done with care, but it isn’t ever a bad thing.

While ImpactFlo is primarily focused on nonprofit organizations, we believe in the power of social enterprises, the positive impact they can engender and the importance of transparency in their activities.

The article, written by a social impact consultant based out of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford, gives a brief account of the tribulations faced by a socially conscious shop in Cambodia that employs women with a background of abuse or who are HIV positive.

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