How It Works

GameChangers 500 (GC500) ranks the world’s top For-Benefit organizations. Think of it as an alternative to the Fortune 500 list. Rather than rank organizations from 1 to 500 based on revenue alone, we award organizations up to 9 badges that represent best practices in using business as a force for good.

The more badges an organization earns, the higher they rank and the more of a GameChanger they are.

There is no cost to qualify for GameChangers 500. It is entirely merit based to ensure the organizations that deserve the recognition are included, rather than just the companies wanting to pay for a PR boost.

An organization qualifies by being endorsed by one of our trusted advisors or members, and by passing the GameChangers Badge Evaluation.

The GameChangers Badge Evaluation evaluates organizations across three categories:

  • WHY you are in business: purpose-first rather than profit-first
  • WHAT your business offers: products or services that create a better world
  • HOW you run your business: positively impacts people and the planet

Organizations can earn up to 9 badges across the above three categories. For an organization to pass the GameChangers Badge Evaluation they must earn:

  1. The “Meet the Mission” badge plus 2 others, or
  2. A total of any 4 badges

To recommend an organization to be evaluated, click here.

Unlike most lists which are static and produced annually, the GC500 is a dynamic list that is updated throughout the year based on the number of badges member organizations earn. It’s like a real live game—earn more badges and improve your rank. This allows organizations to improve their placement throughout the year, and keeps them incentivized to do so. Let’s face it, businesses are constantly improving and innovating and we think they should be awarded for doing so in real time.

Two factors influence an organization’s rank; the number of badges earned and the number of likes received from viewers. Therefore, if two organizations have the same number of badges, the organization with the greater number of likes will appear ahead on this website. Organizations can improve their chances of earning more likes by upgrading to a Featured Profile. A Featured Profile is a dedicated page that showcases the organization’s mission, theory of change, media, available jobs and inspiring best practices. Organizations with Featured Profiles are promoted through our growing social media channels and media partners which helps drive traffic to their page and earn them more likes.

It means you've been recognized for pioneering a new model business, that is focused on maximizing benefit to people and the planet rather than just maximizing profit. It means you get to shine in the spotlight as a GameChanger in business, and it also means you get to give back to the movement by sharing your best practices with other organizations.

We define a GameChanger as an individual or organization that is helping build a new model that makes an old model obsolete. GameChangers change the game from one objective and ruling paradigm to a completely new objective and ruling paradigm.

Old Game
The GameChangers
New Game

We define a GameChanger in business as an organization that is using business as a force for good. The objective of the Old Game was profit-at-all cost. The objective of the New Game is to maximize benefit to people and the planet. Therefore, the GameChangers in business are the organizations helping construct this new model and innovate best practices for using business as a force for good.

For example, TOMS helped popularize the one-for-one best practice that is now used by hundreds of organizations around the world, Zappos has pioneered many best practices for empowering employees, and Patagonia has been a long time leader in best practices that help minimize an organization’s environmental footprint.

Although some GameChangers excel in different best practices areas, they are united in a common worldview to use business to maximize benefit not just profit. This is why we classify them as “For-Benefit”organizations rather than “For-profit”.

We believe the choice between “for-profit” and “non-profit” is limiting. These legal structures were built in a past era, and entrepreneurs are now pushing the boundaries of what these legal models were designed to do. Examples include organizations running both a for-profit and non-profit simultaneously from the same office, and non-profits earning the large majority of their revenue from business activity rather than from grants or donations. If a new “For-Benefit” legal model existed that supported having an embedded purpose like a non-profit while also being agile and able to take on investment like a for-profit it can be argued that using business as a “force for good” would be much more common.

While the laws are being written to formalize this For-Benefit legal structure, we’ve taken a step forward by re-classifying For-Benefit for-profits and enterprising non-profits as "For-Benefit" organizations. When searching the database on this website, look for “For-Benefit” in the category drop-down menu to search only by organizations that we’ve re-classified as “For-Benefit”.

For a non-profit to be re-classified as "For-Benefit” it must generate more than 50% of its revenue from business activity (rather than from grants and donations). For a for-profit to be re-classified as a “For-Benefit” organization it must have earned the Meet the Mission badge to demonstrate its purpose-first approach to business.

Purpose vs. Profit

Image source: Fourth Sector Network www.fourthsectornetwork.net

This For-Benefit model is based on years of development by many of our advisors, member organizations and law makers from around the world. Although law is still being written to formalize this “For-Benefit” legal structure, organizations can ride the wave of the future by following our 9 badge framework.

We’ve committed to updating our 9 badge framework as law makers and researchers make progress in defining this new “Fourth Sector” of the economy. It’s our intent that the GameChangers 500 database will be a valuable tool in helping formalize this new “For-Benefit” model of business.

Increase Sales:

  • 92% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality
  • 93% of consumers want to know what companies they buy from are doing to make the world a better place

Source:

http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/10966/consumers-prefer-brands-associated-with-good-causes http://www.jimstengel.com/pdf/The_Big_Ideal.pdf

Enhance Employee engagement:

  • 93% of employees involved in their company’s cause efforts say they feel a strong sense of pride and loyalty to their company.
  • Forbes published a study that looked at 230 workplaces with more than 100,000 employees and found that the more a company actively pursues worthy environmental and social efforts, the more engaged its employees are.
  • The Society for Human Resources Management compared companies that have strong sustainability programs with companies that have poor ones and found that in the former morale was 55% better, business processes were 43% more efficient, public image was 43% stronger, and employee loyalty was 38% better.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/01/18/the-top-10-trends-in-csr-for-2012/ http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/AdvancingSustainabilityHR%E2%80%99sRole.aspx http://www.conecomm.com/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/3351

Improve your PR performance:

A study by David Jones, author of Who Cares Wins, found that a brand’s social media performance and “socially responsible” positioning are intrinsically linked.

  • 97% of marketing executives say cause marketing is good business strategy.
  • 62% of global consumers use social media to engage with companies around social and environmental issues.

Source:

http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/872-social-where-csr-brand-leadership-is-won-or-lost http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/01/18/the-top-10-trends-in-csr-for-2012/

Be considered “cool” and desirable among Millennials:

The Millennial Case Study, a national research study conducted by Cone Communications, found that:

  • 74% of millennials are more likely to pay attention to a company’s message when they see that the company has a deep commitment to a cause.
  • 89% of millennials are likely or very likely to switch from one brand to another (price and quality being equal) if the second brand is associated with a good cause.
  • 79% of millennials want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society.

Source:

http://ww2.causemarketingforum.com/page.asp?ID=473

It’s fabulous that doing good is proving to be good business. It also means that more profit-first companies are searching for ways to appear For-Benefit.

Therefore, the labels and lingo purpose-first organizations used to differentiate themselves are now being used by profit-first corporations out of a desire to compete for talent and marketshare. Think fair trade, 1% for the planet, and showcasing cause related initiatives.

More than ever consumers are skeptical of cause marketing. So, how do organizations stand out as a genuine force-for-good in business?

It’s no longer good enough for organizations to say they make a positive impact. What counts is showing how they do it.

According to CSRWire, more than two-thirds of consumers say they don’t know where to find information on how a company positively impacts people and the planet.

Consumers, employees, jobs seekers, and impact investors are wanting to see if the organization is taking a holistic approach to maximize benefit. Common questions include:

  • Does the organization just have a few “green” initiatives or do they have a variety of best practices to maximize their positive impact on both people and the planet?
  • How is the organization measuring their impact… or are they?
  • What is the creation story behind the organization, and what initiatives are they prioritizing to meet their mission?

Out of the thousands of organizations we researched, we found very few that were effectively answering these questions through their own website and communication materials. We tagged most organizations as “questionable” as we couldn’t tell if they were using certifications and planet-loving lingo as a PR play.

To help serve the exceptional organizations that qualify for the GC500, we’ve created “Featured Profiles” that help these organizations better communicate their For-Benefit approach to business.

We offer a more creditable third-party opinion by showcasing which badges they earned and how they earned them to help show the organization’s holistic approach to maximizing benefit. We also include their creation story, impact measurements, available jobs, and a showcase section to showoff awards, certifications, media and pictures of their office. Here’s a link to an example: http://recology.GameChangers500.com

Organizations that don’t opt for a Featured Profile are still profiled on this website, awarded badges and get value from sharing good company with famous GameChangers like Patagonia, Whole Foods, and TOMS.

Shining the spotlight on this movement is a major part of our mission, and so we are consistently promoting the organizations that qualify for the GC500 through a growing list of media partners, socially and environmentally conscious consumers, sustainability professionals, student leader networks, and to For-Benefit job seekers from some of the world’s top universities like Harvard and Middlebury.

Obviously profit is tremendously important for growing any enterprise. Just because an organization considers itself "purpose-first” rather than "profit-first” it doesn’t mean they don’t strive to earn a profit. Profit is what supports the growth of all businesses. A purpose-first organization is different in that it typically reinvests its profits in advancing its mission. Further, purpose-first organizations prioritize initiatives that lead them closer to their mission even if those initiatives might be less profitable than other options.

Support Organizations offer products and services specifically to support the construction of “force for good” businesses. For example, Ashoka exists to support the growth of social entrepreneurship, Cradle to Cradle exists to certify products that are designed to have low impact on the environment, and Opportunity Collaboration brings together leaders in this movement to collaborate. Together these Support Organizations represent an ecosystem that makes this movement possible.

You can search this database for Support Organizations across the following categories:

  • Accounting Services
  • Financial Services & Capital Support
  • Law/Policy & Regulation
  • Legal Services
  • Media & Communication
  • Networks & Associations
  • Ratings & Certifications
  • Research & Education
  • Staffing & Recruiting
  • Support Technology
  • Training/Coaching & Consulting

One of our driving motivations is to make it easier for people to learn about and find careers at high-impact For-Benefit organizations. Heres a few tips:

Search this database by the badges you are most interested in, the industries that most inspire you or by the locations you would like to work in. Also look for organizations with Featured Profiles. Featured Profiles include a thorough review of the company, their mission, impact measurements, awards they’ve won, photos of their office AND a jobs section that explains what the organization looks for when hiring and what jobs they have available or how to contact them with jobs available.