What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Toms Shoes' Philanthropic Struggles And Comebacks

05/12/2015 05:54 pm ET
Damon Dahlen, AOL

Millennials are on track to spend $200 billion per year starting in 2017. One of the many things that sets this generation apart is its insistence that business be about more than just turning a profit. According to a survey by Deloitte, 73% of Millennials believe businesses can have a positive impact on the world, but they also think today’s companies aren’t doing a very good job.

In order to capture those Millennial dollars, entrepreneurs are making philanthropy as much a part of their businesses as marketing and new product development. But philanthropy can be tricky. It’s not enough to just tack a charitable donation onto each sale. The philanthropy has to be authentic to the company’s brand and its mission. Even then, things can backfire.

Just look at the cautionary tale of Toms Shoes.


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