5 Social Media Entrepreneurs With Multimillion-Dollar Empires
These 5 insanely successful social media entrepreneurs have millions of devoted followers and—more often than not—millions of dollars, too.
Founded in 1995 in a Massachusetts attic, Constant Contact was among the first e-mail marketing companies. Originally called “Roving Software,” it has since become an e-mail marketing platform must for small businesses and non-profits. Transforming the way businesses connect with their consumers, the company has added more than a handful of unique marketing features and expanded across the U.S. and other countries around the globe.
Through growth and success, Constant Contact has stayed true to their mission: To empower small businesses and non-profits to grow customer relationships and succeed. They aren’t just doing this in the traditional sense–from volunteering to pro-bono consulting to matching gift programs, Constant Contact is serving its customers and the broader community. In fact, the company’s commitment to serving the community earned them the 2014 Best Corporate Steward Award for Small and Middle- Market Businesses from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center.
In a recent interview, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility & Internal Communications Reed Bundy explained how Constant Contact is #bizgiving.
Can you give a brief overview of the programs and ways that Constant Contact is giving?
Giving back is core to our DNA. Our customers are mostly small businesses and non-profits, and we believe that thriving small businesses are built on thriving communities along with great products and services. We have several offices and we try to keep our programs localized so each office has the opportunity to partner with local organizations.
Each Constant Contact employee gets 8 hours of company time to volunteer – resulting in more than volunteer hours 2,400 hours this year. Through our Dollars-for-Doers program, if an employee volunteers over 25 hours we donate $250 to that non-profit in their honor. To date, we’ve donated $150,000 through Dollars-for-Doers and through local grants.
What are some other employee opportunities?
Beyond individual and team-based opportunities such as cleaning a park or painting a school, we also started a pro bono consulting program a year and a half ago. We have all these experts in-house — developers, marketers, creative minds — that a lot of non-profits don’t have. We pair our employees with these non-profits that need help in a certain area and it’s been very energizing for our employees. They’re excited to be lending their skills to help these non-profits.
What are your customer facing programs?
We run a program called Cares4Kids, where our small business members can sponsor a Constant Contact membership for a non-profit that helps youth. I love this program because it empowers our customers to give back and makes them the champion or the giver. We love being able to empower our customers and help them make a connection. Each year we give away $3.5 million worth of product a year.
Can you tell me more about your role with these programs?
I came to Constant Contact about five years ago in a role that was focused on employee communication. We were engaged in giving and philanthropy but I saw an opportunity to build out and scale our corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. I wanted to tie in employee engagement and get people excited to come to work, help non-profits, and make a connection to the community.
As I said before, giving back is core to our DNA—we live and breathe it every day. Having partnerships with non-profits and small businesses is so easy because it’s in sync with what we’re already offering our customers. It’s been a lot of fun scaling the programs.
What’s your favorite program?
One of my favorite programs is Jam4Good, a pro bono service event where we bring in a non-profit for a “marketing makeover.” Last year we worked with Catie’s Closet, where students in underserved Massachusetts communities can anonymously pick out new or gently used clothes for the winter months at a space in their high school.
They came to us and we had an all-day event where we brought in 30 employees and built their site and marketing from the ground up. They’re making a big impact in these communities and it was so rewarding to deliver this package of services to this organization. I still get glowing e-mails from their management saying how we helped transformed them.
What’s been your proudest accomplishment?
Right now we’re sitting in the “More than Words” conference room, which is named after a non-profit based in Waltham, MA. More than Words is a bookstore and coffee shop run by at-risk youth and it really embodies what we are all about-teaching kids about running a business, being a business, being a part of your community, and empowering yourself through small business.
We expanded our Innovation Loft space and built conference rooms and named them after customers of ours. We had 20-80 kids come here in hard hats while it was under construction and work with our architect and build an exact replica of their coffee shop and when it was complete, they came back for the ribbon cutting. Besides it being a really fun event, it symbolizes the type of strategic relationships we have with non-profits.