Social Impact is Essential to Your Business
These days, it seems like every startup is trying to figure out how to launch a social impact or “.org” arm. They see it helps build the brand, boost loyalty and even drive revenue but many aren’t sure how to start. Social impact works best when it is an integral part of your company’s strategy, culture and values. Here are some tips for anyone who is getting started:
Figure out the unique assets your company can offer
Too often, a company’s attempt to do good in the world is inspired by the favourite cause of a philanthropy-minded executive. Instead, consider the assets and offerings of your company, and find an angle into helping the world that your company can uniquely provide.
Does your product makes it easier to mobilise volunteers? Do your employees have a specific unusual skill?
Make social responsibility as critical as any other strategic initiative
Build ties so that when your company grows and generates more revenue, you also increase your ability to generate social impact. With an estimated 10 million non-profits worldwide, providing your products at discounted rates to non-profits allows you to make your products more accessible to many organisations while generating sustainable programme revenue. Creating a virtuous cycle between social impact and business success and making them inextricably tied is important for the sustainability of both efforts.
Put a team in place
Value your social impact programme as much as any other revenue-generating programme. Hire a team who is responsible for creating, executing and reporting on your plan. That way, it won’t be ancillary, it will be integral to the success of the business.
Take time to celebrate because it helps everyone in the company feel proud of the good work they’re doing in the world. One of the genuinely wonderful realities of corporate social impact is the impact on morale.
Measure and report
Set goals for social impact in the same way you would any area of the company — this holds you accountable and keeps you focused on progress. Be sure to articulate metrics for business impact as well as social impact in your objectives. Measure monthly and quarterly, report out to other departments to share your impact and successes. Many companies, including Google, LinkedIn and Twitter, use an OKR (Objectives and Key Results) system to track progress. The social impact team’s OKRs should roll up and support the overall company objectives, just like every other team at your company.
Is your company maximizing its brand awareness through social impact?
Adapted from an article by Erin Reilly, entrepreneur.com