What's your ROI (Return on Impact)?
Social purpose and social impact are topics that are discussed in the media and online with increasing regularity at the moment. And, whether you realise it or not, we all, both individuals and organisations, have a social impact. The question is whether, and to what extent, your impact is positive or negative and for that matter, do you care?
There are countless examples of how engendering a positive social impact is actually good for your bottom line, as well as being good for the world. The poster child for positive social impact is Patagonia. For over 30 years the company has been implementing business practices that are driven by the desire to, not just minimise negative impact, but create positive change through their whole organisation. This has resulted in a fiercely loyal network of suppliers and customers, and an unparalleled success rate in staff retention. All of this has led to huge cost savings and healthy profits for a company that continues to grow.
In mid-April 2018, Emmanuel Faber, Chairman and CEO of Danone North America, which became the largest Public Benefit Corporation in the USA in 2017, announced that the organisation had become a certified B Corp. A few days later, its stock rose in value.
The motivation for both of these organisations is a genuine interest in having a positive social impact that is not driven by money and profits. When an organisation’s activities benefit people and communities, they are supported by people and communities aligned with their values from the hip pocket, creating a circular and self-sustaining return on impact. Surely this is the ultimate in community engagement.
Any business can have a positive social impact. You don’t need to wait until you’re the size of Patagonia or Danone North America to make a difference that will benefit the community and your own bottom line.
Being creative and thinking about ways that you can use your core skills means that a business of any size can easily add immense value to the community. For example, if a financial planner gave just two or three hours of their time once a month to provide money management workshops to women who have escaped domestic violence and who are facing a terrifying and bleak future, imagine the huge impact that small gesture would have on those lives, and the lives of their children. And, as those values trickle out into the community, the financial planner benefits from attracting people who want to support them by using their services.
Embedded giving and shared value are much more effective and impactful than charitable donations. It allows you to better engage your team, the community and your customers.
If you’d like to have a more positive return on impact, but you’re stuck for ideas on how to, get in touch.