Leaving a social impact is using your business as a tool to meet a social need. Businesses with social impacts can provide customers with a role in helping solve social issues. Business’s resources, networks and experience can put them in a unique position to effectively tackle these issues.
Leaving a social impact with your business can solve real issues and benefit your business’s image and community connection.
How do you leave a social impact as a small business?
The first step in leaving a social impact with your business is creating your social goals. These are goals in line with the vision, mission and values of your company.
To develop your social goals, think about how you want to impact your community and those around it.
There are endless ways to implement your social goals. Including areas within your business such as sustainable processes, hiring and practices to external goals like donating to charities or community groups.
Once you have established your social goals you need to create a plan. This is the framework for how you will achieve your goals, essentially, the steps that must be taken to ensure your social initiative is getting the attention and resources necessary to grow.
Social goals such as changing internal procedures and being aware of suppliers and distributors require commitment. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure you’re providing an ongoing effort.
With ongoing work, you need to know you’re on the right track.
Virgin believes that reaching social goals requires a shift in business measurements. From measuring outputs such as units shifted or deliverables to including outcomes.
Measuring your impact on global issues is unrealistic, instead, make assumptions on how your impact contributes to the bigger issue. For example, measuring trees planted or jobs created rather than environmental impact or economic development.
How do you donate to a charity that is directly related to your business?
In 2017 corporate donations reached $20.77 billion. It is clear businesses use donations to create a social impact but with so many new charities appearing, how do you donate to a relevant charity?
Giving to a charity is not only beneficial for the social issue but also your company image. Picking a charity that is relevant to your business is important in finding a cause that your target consumers are passionate about.
This should reflect your social goals, values, mission and vision statements.
Small businesses often benefit from focusing on local charities to help secure that their contributions are going directly to the local community.
When looking for relevant charities you need to do the research. There are several websites that provide information on charities to make sure they’re run well and align with your business. GuideStar and Charity Navigator are both informative websites.
Unfortunately, choosing a charity has to include checking its legitimacy. Getting familiar with information about the organisation, what they do, their address and who they’re affiliated with are great first steps. Ask about tax deductions, corporate registration number and check the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to be certain.
It can be beneficial to use social media to bring awareness to issues and your social impact. For help with a social impact campaign or more information, get in contact with The Small Business Lounge team.