Mannatech: Social Entrepreneurship: Helping People Help the World
November 11, 2014 Leave a comment
by Barbara Seale
Headquarters: Coppell, Texas
Executives: CEO and Chief Science Officer Robert Sinnott
Products: Naturally sourced nutritional supplements and skin care
For a company based on the science of nutrition, Mannatech’s decision to help improve the health of malnourished children around the world through its charitable programs just made sense.
The effort started with Mannatech Founder Sam Caster and his wife, Linda. They were in the process of expanding their personal philanthropic activities as they adopted five children from all over the world. During that time they became involved in supporting a Romanian orphanage. That’s when they learned that in that single organization, 35 to 40 of its children died every year from malnutrition. Their hearts broke, but Caster knew exactly what to do. Mannatech donated a year’s supply of a special blend of its Real Food Technology solutions for every child in the orphanage. At the end of the year the results were astounding. Not one child had died. All were healthy. Mannatech executives made the only possible decision. Get their nutritional powerhouse products, such as PhytoBlend™ powder, into the mouths of as many malnourished children as possible.
Since Mannatech was founded in late 1993 it has been actively involved in children’s philanthropic efforts, and as the company and its product line have matured, Mannatech has aligned its charitable outreach with one of its corporate strengths, the real-food technology at the core of its products. In 1999, the Casters opened MannaRelief, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing life-giving nutrients to children in need around the world. MannaRelief is a separate entity from Mannatech but partners with the company to purchase, donate and deliver Mannatech invention PhytoBlend, a highly concentrated powder of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can be added to any food. The independent associates and employees of Mannatech and MannaRelief wholeheartedly supported the cause for the first 10 years, and with the help of charitable donations, were able to feed thousands of children in more than 80 countries.
By 2013 the process had allowed Mannatech to donate more than 16 million servings of PhytoBlend powder during that year. Since Mannatech began donating to nutritional feeding programs 11 years ago it has distributed more than 80 million servings of PhytoBlend to 252,468 malnourished children around the globe. As impressive as those numbers are, Mannatech executives know they’re just a dent in the staggering numbers of undernourished children. Consider this: According to the World Health Organization, every year some 5 million children die from malnutrition—one child every six seconds.
Reflecting this statistic, Mannatech’s mission to fight global malnutrition became expressed most recently in Mission 5 MillionSM, or M5M, a movement to nourish 5 million malnourished children through the sales of Mannatech products to 5 million people. Every time a Mannatech product is purchased on automatic order, a donation is made to MannaRelief, which distributes PhytoBlend powder to orphanages and relief organizations all over the world.
The effort isn’t simply a philanthropic sidebar for Mannatech. It’s at the company’s very foundation. Injecting its direct selling model with a big dose of social entrepreneurship made both the company and its philanthropy more robust.
Social Entrepreneurship, Direct Selling Style
It would be easy to think that social entrepreneurship was just one more moniker adopted by a direct selling company. After all, the industry describes itself in a variety of ways: social sellers, social marketers, direct marketers, just to name three. All the names refer to the one-to-one or—with the advent of social media—one-to-many interactions that result in the sale of merchandise by a distributor to his or her warm market.
But because direct selling companies are also known for their philanthropy, combining that generosity with merchandise sales by an army of enthusiastic and mission-committed direct selling distributors gets you social entrepreneurship, direct selling style.
“Mannatech’s philanthropy through social entrepreneurship is part of our core values,” explains CEO and Chief Science Officer Robert Sinnott. “Our company was built around …” Read the rest of the article on Direct Selling News