3 Ways Social Enterprises Can Attract Millennial Investments

Money talks, and with millennials representing $2.45 trillion in spending power, corporations are paying close attention to this generation’s financial interests. Having grown up with globalization and economic disruption as the norm, millennials are interested in investing towards a more equitable future for all. One recent study found that the average millennial donates nearly $600 per year to charitable causes. This social responsibility extends beyond what millennials purchase to how the companies they support are choosing to spend their profits.

Here are a few ways social enterprises can find success among millennials:

  1. Open up an online shop with a purpose

Millennials like supporting small businesses that are less likely to exploit their workforce or cause damage to the environment. Online stores can appeal to this demographic by weaving social responsibility into their platforms. The eyewear company Warby Parker capitalized on this trend by offering stylish yet affordable prescription eyewear and committing to donate a pair of glasses for every pair sold. They also train men and women in developing countries to perform basic eye exams and sell glasses as part of their program. Since launching in 2010, the eyeglasses company has grown from an online shop to 61 retail showrooms in the United States and Canada. The Australian family-owned company Bottle 4 Bottle has a similar business model and donates bottle of premium formula to orphaned or abandoned children in need for every lotion or spray tan bottle sold.

  1. Make a significant social impact through your corporation

According to Cone Communications, 70 percent of millennials are willing to spend more on brands that support causes they care about. In order to capture this segment’s attention, companies should conduct research to find causes that fall in line with their business interests. Millennials expect transparency, so the cause should be something that business owners genuinely feel called to address.

Retail giant Target lets customers choose the cause with their Target’s Bullseye Gives Program.  They invited their sizeable Facebook community to vote on ten nonprofits over a two-week period and portioned out $3 million based on voting percentages.  Since then we’ve seen corporations like Pepsi and Chase Bank launch similar social media giving campaigns.

Meed is working to redefine financial mobility with our SocialBoost program. Through this initiative, our users have the opportunity to earn funds by referring friends and family, who sign up with one of our Member Banks.  And as Meed rolls out across more countries, SocialBoost will help every Meeder who is working towards financial security, whether they live in Latin America, Asia or North America.

  1. Expand volunteering programs for employees

As a whole, millennials are more generous with their time than previous generations. They appreciate working for companies that provide volunteer opportunities and seek employees’ input on how to engage in social causes.

Rachel Hutchisson, vice president of corporate citizenship & philanthropy at Blackbaud, a leading technology company that provides solutions to the philanthropic community, advises that, “Social responsibility and HR should work together using data gained from engagement and volunteerism surveys — to determine what programs are most compelling for each audience.”

Not only will this strategy appeal to the millennial workforce (which is estimated to grow to 75 percent of the American workforce by 2025), but it will emphasize your commitment to social causes and draw more millennial customers.

Customer-Focused Initiatives Help Partnerships Between FinTechs and Banks Thrive

Technology has disrupted the financial industry, and banks are no longer in a position to resist these changes. As new Financial Technology (FinTech) services revolutionize our methods for banking, investing, paying bills, and doing business, banks will have to innovate their services to keep customers from defecting. FinTechs aren’t safe in this evolving market either and lack the strong infrastructures and large customer bases that banks often take for granted. Instead of fueling the competition, these institutions are partnering up to offer customer-focused initiatives that profit all parties involved.

According to a three-year study that included a survey of 10,000 millennials, one in three people in this age group is open to switching banks in the next 90 days, 53 percent don’t think their bank offers any unique services, and one-third think that banks will become irrelevant in the future. After losing customer trust following the financial crisis of 2008, banks need the accessible services that FinTechs are offering in order to remain both relevant and competitive.

In a Business Insider report, more than half of the respondents (54 percent) said that bank and FinTech partnerships increased revenue. 87 percent said these collaborations allowed them to cut costs, and 83 percent said that their brands benefited.

One example of a successful partnership is the Financial Solutions Lab (Opens Overlay), co-managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (Opens Overlay) and JPMorgan Chase. The $5 million, five-year project tests, identifies, and scales innovations that support savings, improve credit, and build assets. This allows finance giant JPMorgan Chase to influence FinTech and take risks outside of their usual scope.

Another unique partnership is Chase Business Banking and OnDeck (Opens Overlay), an online small business lender. The two companies partnered to build a new Chase lending product that will provide small-dollar loans to Chase customers. By combining Chase’s relationships and lending experience with OnDeck’s technology, they’re able to offer an inventive product with an easy application process that provides almost instant approvals and same-day or next-day funding.

The financial sector is changing rapidly and banks are struggling to adapt. By partnering with FinTechs, they help secure their future and demonstrate to other industries how technology and tradition can work together.

7 Ways to Live Affordably in an Unaffordable City

With financial experts suggesting that San Francisco residents need to earn six-figure incomes to live affordably in the city, it’s become clear that America’s growing cities are becoming less affordable, particularly for the millennials who seem to favor them.

For those who want the big city experience without the financial strain, here are a few ways to make it possible to live affordably in an unaffordable city:

  1. Get roommates

One of the easiest ways to cut your cost of living is to share your rent. A SmartAsset analysis found that in some cities, a renter who shares a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate saves more than $800 a month compared to someone who lives in a one-bedroom alone. You’re not just cutting back on the cost of rent though, you’ll also be able to split utility costs, which between internet, energy and water, can eat up more than 20 percent of your after-tax income according to the ACCCE.

Find someone you’re comfortable living with and cash in on these savings. In cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, you might need more roommates to make the rent reasonable.

  1. Secure a long lease

If you find an apartment or a home that you love at a reasonable cost, do whatever you can to lock that price in for as long as possible. Apartment managers like long-term tenants and might find the idea of an 18-month or even 24-month lease attractive. It will also ensure that your rent doesn’t go up for the duration of your lease.

  1. Move when the rental market is less competitive

The rental market slows during the holidays, especially in places that experience cold weather that is not conducive to moving, like New York City. According to a study from RentHop, rents in New York City are lowest in December and January and peak during the summer. The difference is roughly 4.5 percent for a one-bedroom apartment, or about $140 a month. If you can’t avoid moving during the summer months, avoid areas near colleges and universities that are popular for students.

  1. Cut miscellaneous costs

It’s not just the rents that make city living so expensive. Cost of living also trickles down to transportation, groceries, fitness and other discretionary spending. One way to cut back on these costs is to take advantage of public transportation, walking and biking whenever possible. If those options aren’t feasible, try the carpool options available through Uber or Lyft and avoiding ordering a car during prime time hours. Also, host dinners instead of going out to eat and plan your meals ahead of time to avoid impulsive food buys.

  1. Purge your closet

Take the time to purge your closet at least once a season. It will help you stay organized and reduce clutter in your home, and you can also make some easy cash on the side. Sell whatever you’re willing to part with to a local consignment store or list your clothes on apps like Poshmark. Consignment stores tend to favor trendy clothes that are in season, so be strategic about what you sell.

  1. Take advantage of free events

Rent in major metro areas might be expensive, but going out doesn’t have to be. Live affordably and fully by finding free or cheap events on websites like DoStuff Media, Meetup and Eventbrite. Most cities have free outdoor movies and concerts during the summer and most museums offer free entry a few days a month. With a little bit of research and planning ahead, you can maintain your vibrant social life without hitting your wallet too hard.

  1. Settle in the suburbs

Another way to live affordably in a big city is to settle in a nearby suburb. You’ll still be close enough to enjoy most of the benefits of the city, but for a fraction of the cost. Studies show that millennials tend to prioritize work-life balance, which can be difficult to achieve when you’re busy hustling in the big city. Living in the suburbs can free up time and money that could be spent on outings with friends, travel or even an eventual down payment on a home.

Entrepreneur Life Demystified. Is It Really for You?

Ever go on a date with a self-proclaimed entrepreneur? The ring of “entrepreneur” on his or her social media profile sounded sexy and exciting right? It showed ambition. And it meant he or she would soon be raking in millions. Over the past few years, entrepreneurship has become a fad for people of all ages, and in particular for millennials.

TV shows and other media have made entrepreneurship seem like the most enviable of professions, and a guaranteed way to impress your peers. Colleges all over the world continue to invest millions of dollars to launch entrepreneurship programs and construct buildings exclusively for these programs. The allure of entrepreneurship is still thriving. But is entrepreneurship as glamorous as it appears from the outside?

To get some behind the scenes insight into entrepreneur life, I spoke with Dominique Broadway, personal finance expert and millennial entrepreneur based in Washington D.C.

Finding the Path of Least Resistance

While the stories of successful entrepreneurs often get romanticized, entrepreneurship is far from a quick or easy road to riches for most people. Building a successful business requires major sacrifice, patience and diligent financial planning. And it also requires willingness to be broke in order to get rich. It can take years before entrepreneurs bring in enough business income to pay themselves at all, let alone a decent salary.

But with some strategic decision-making, it’s possible to make the roller coaster ride a lot smoother. If you have the resources you need, Dominique says don’t wait to get started on your dream. Otherwise, she recommends starting your business on the side before calling it quits on your day job. Wait to leave your job until your business starts bringing in enough income to support you. And make major financial decisions prior to setting out on your own.

Also consider the industry of your business. Certain industries inherently have lower startup costs, such as service-based businesses like Dominique’s where all she needed to get started was a computer. In contrast, brick and mortar businesses like restaurants and boutiques require significant startup capital for equipment, inventory, leases etc. While there’s a wide variety of business financing options out there, requirements can be restrictive and application processes tedious. So, be prepared to self-fund your business.

Dominique also emphasizes starting a business based on passion and experience. Since Dominique had been a stockbroker and was already a licensed financial services professional, starting a personal finance consulting business made sense. Many won’t find success if they pursue entrepreneurship just because it’s trendy. The reality of entrepreneurship is long hours, lots of pressure and ups and downs, and potential financial hardship particularly in the beginning. So, be sure you really, really love your business’s mission and the industry it’s in.

It’s Ok Not to Be an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. And that’s ok. But what if you still want the satisfaction of creating something that’s yours, of building a legacy, of having a positive impact in the world, of controlling your moneymaking destiny and of being your own boss? Dominique reminds us that it’s ok to excel at a job you love, even if you don’t own the business. She also says that being your own boss isn’t often the reality. As an entrepreneur, your clients become your boss, as well as any investors you may have.

If you aren’t cut out to be an entrepreneur, maybe intrapreneurship is for you. This means innovating at the company where you work. Develop a new product. Launch a new initiative. Use the resources that are already at your disposal. And don’t forget about side hustles. Instead of venturing out fulltime as an entrepreneur, you can always make your hobby into a profitable micro-business.

As long as you’re fully aware of the realities of being an entrepreneur, Dominique says go for it! Otherwise, it’s not worth risking your sanity and your bank account. Don’t worry, the people who matter in your life will think you’re sexy and exciting no matter what you do!

Learn more about Dominique: