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How to Change the World in Seven Days

What rhymes with “heavenly” and has the power to inspire great change right here on planet earth in only one week? The answer is Sevenly – a small company with a big reach.

In 2011, Sevenly was created by four people with a shared vision of “leading a generation toward generosity.” Every week, Sevenly partners with a new cause and uses its social media savvy to get the word out, raise funds and change lives. Sevenly commissions original “cause art” and offers merchandise ranging from T-shirts to journals to wall art. Of every item purchased, $7 is contributed to the week’s featured cause.

“Bringing awareness isn’t just about raising money,” said Sevenly’s president, Larry Andreini. “We use the expression, ‘wear how you care.’ The cause lives on in apparel, which gives our supporters a way to show what’s important to them and continue to spread the message to others.”

Sevenly partners with a new cause and commissions original “cause art” each week.
Sevenly partners with a new cause and commissions original “cause art” each week.

Featured charities are well-screened and must complete Sevenly’s application in order to initiate a campaign. Sevenly looks for registered 501(c)(3) organizations with an established social media presence. Then the Sevenly team takes up the cause, working its artistic and technological magic to inspire people everywhere to show their support.

Andreini explained that his company – whose motto is “People Matter” – was founded on the belief that it is possible to run a highly effective, for-profit business that values people over profits. He offered big names like Toms Shoes, Ben & Jerry’s and The Body Shop as examples of “companies that have achieved tremendous social good operating a for-profit business. A company can act like a great corporate citizen by operating with transparency and authenticity, creating jobs and contributing to a better community. Many of today’s millennial employees want their income to come from a company that is more socially responsible.”

Sevenly has lived up to its mission. In only a few years, it has raised nearly $4.5 million for global causes and touched the lives of over 1.3 million people. Sevenly has been lauded by major media sources, and in 2014 was recognized by mashable.com as “America’s most social business.”

If we think of the tradeshow space as a provisional community, where like-minded people come together for a brief period to share ideas, products and innovations, then it is also an ideal place to share meaningful dialogue about the social causes that are important to a particular company within the community, or to the community at large. Sevenly has become adept at making the most of social media to initiate conversations about important social issues. This raises an interesting opportunity in the tradeshow environment, where social media communities are formed to stimulate dialogue before, during and after a show.

Andreini invites meeting planners to contact Sevenly about aligning around social causes. By working with Sevenly in advance of a show date, it may be possible for companies or tradeshow communities to throw their support behind a cause during show week, thereby leveraging their combined resources to stimulate dialogue, increase awareness and generate financial resources. Recently, a large entertainment brand provided Sevenly with a matching grant of $50,000 toward a campaign benefitting Autism Speaks, resulting in $14 raised for every T-shirt sold.

In a storefront right next door to Sevenly’s offices, another innovative business is working to bring awareness and funds to global causes. Share & Do Good is a boutique retail store in Fullerton, Calif., that sells merchandise to support social causes and pass along the stories of the people behind them.

Founder and owner Lilly Tokuyama has a background in non-profit work and Christian apparel sales. She was inspired to open her store after encountering a number of cause-related merchants at tradeshows. Tokuyama wanted to craft a retail space where consumers could put their hands on sustainable merchandise and learn about the people who created it.

Share & Do Good is located inside the historic Chapman building, a five-story structure built in 1923 and once the tallest building in Orange County. The store offers its beautiful store space as an event venue for both non-profit entities and businesses looking for a unique setting in which to bring people together.

Green Tip:

Contact Sevenly about aligning with them to support a cause during your next event.
www.sevenly.org

Share & Do Good also has an online store, making its merchandise available to buyers everywhere. Consider their sustainable alternatives for tradeshow giveaways or host an event in their store.
www.shareanddogood.com and www.shoptiques.com/boutiques/share-do-good

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