Building Social Purpose for Social Impact

Building Social Purpose for Social Impact

by Jul 30, 2022Social Impact, Social Purpose0 comments

The Social Purpose revolution for companies, big and small, is well underway all over the world.

Canada is waking up to the revolution, and although we’re lagging in the Social Purpose and Social Impact sector as compared to Europe and the US, we are catching up.

The more awareness we can bring to companies to adopt their own Social Purpose, by receiving training on how to achieve this, the stronger our communities will be. Ultimately social impact training companies like Business 4 Social Good are all working toward solving some of our world’s greatest challenges through business and empowering companies with the change structure to make it happen.

Social Purpose for a company is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, it’s a ‘must-have’.

In good times and bad, every company needs a north star. Social Purpose provides that higher purpose beacon beyond the products you manufacture or services you offer, by committing to making a difference toward a social, humanitarian or environmental issue, by embedding it into all levels of the company.

If you’re a forward-thinking company you recognize that to not only survive but thrive in the future, you need to exist for reasons beyond making a profit. Don’t get me wrong, this is not at the expense of making money, but rather, as well as making a profit. I call this making a profit with purpose. In fact, having a social purpose is what your customers and employees want and in some cases demand.

If the pandemic taught us anything, it put into question (or clarified) that what we do with our life matters – from what we do in our spare time, to who we work for, to what brands we support, to what we value, to how we want to contribute and make a difference to humanity – and why. And what both customers and employees alike care about, is changing!

If companies don’t adopt Social Purpose and work towards making social impact, they will most definitely get left behind.

DEB ALCADINHO, BUSINESS 4 SOCIAL GOOD

Social Purpose is not …

  • A marketing tactic or campaign
  • A tagline or slogan
  • a Vision statement
  • A mission statement
  • A CSR strategy (corporate social responsibility)
  • Philanthropy

I think of Social Purpose as your company’s heartbeat. It must be integrated into your company DNA, not added on as an afterthought.

Your company is ready for Social Purpose and impact if:

  1. You’re ready to explore your company’s reason for existing beyond the products or services.
  2. You’re committed to creating value to benefit society or humanity through the company’s core business, products, services and operations.
  3. You’re ready for a Social Purpose to be your north star.
  4. You have a desire to make society better and make it the over-arching rally cry that drives growth, innovation, culture, and stakeholder relationships, not at the cost of making a profit, but rather making a profit with purpose.
  5. You’re excited to develop an aspirational belief for a better world.
  6. You’re committed to the concept of using business as a force for good (even if you don’t know what that looks like right now).
  7. You’re ready to move beyond philanthropy and CSR.

Finding and articulating your company’s social purpose

The process to find and articulate the social purpose for the company is one that starts with the founder (at least in the work we do with our clients at Business 4 Social Good) because in our work the founder often sets the values, vision and direction for the company.

Like many businesswomen I know, I too was searching for an end-to-end framework to teach how I could be a social good company with full integration of a cause I was passionate about. When I couldn’t find it, I created it and founded The Social Good Academy and brought together a faculty of thought leaders in their industries to co-deliver the training programs.

In the Social Good Academy, we start with some reflective work with the founder, before we move to involve the team and the organization as a whole. We help the founder unearth the cause that lights them up, one that’s either in their community or globally. And we look at how to engage the employees, with the cause and how the company can wrap their products, services, growth, innovation, and culture around the issue. In our process, this foundational piece of Social Purpose lays the foundation for the entire social impact roadmap for the company to get their heart and heart wrapped around.

The fun part of Social Purpose (ok it’s all fun!) is when you see the potential to innovate around it (by developing new products/services), hire the right new people (and they will be searching out your company), and in the process, some employees will decide you’re not a good fit and that’s ok (or you’ll right-fit your employees and release others. But in order for Social Purpose to really work, it must run through your people and your culture. You’ll be surprised at how your vendors, contractors, and suppliers start resonating with your Social Purpose and start engaging with you by asking, “how can we support you and your cause?” Whether you choose to consider our programming or not, be aware that without properly embedding social purpose into your company, it can be construed as purpose-washing. So do it right! Only then can you bring it to life, amplify your cause and your impact, and measure the results.

Social Purpose is the foundation of the social impact your company will put out there to the world.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with possibilities or not sure how to get started, there’s a free download available to help you find the cause your business can champion. Find it here.

What is the value to your company of having engaged employees and reducing the cost of employee acquisition and retention? Or having a boatload of customers or clients who align with your purpose and what you’re doing in the world? And if you could make more profit (and feel good about the impact you’re creating), what’s the value of that to your company?

Our Academy training might be right for you or our consulting. Learn more about the end-to-end framework in the Social Good Academy, find it here, or reach out directly to see how we can help you with 1:1 consulting  

Be sure to share your progress with us. Now go out there and be the ‘social impacter’ I know you can be!

Deb Alcadinho, Chief Impact Officer & Founder, Business 4 Social Good

Author: Deb Alcadinho

Deb Alcadinho is the Founder & Chief Impact Officer at Business 4 Social Good, and the Founder of The Social Good Academy. She’s a social impact trainer and consultant to female business owners who want to move beyond CSR and philanthropy, and position social good at the heart of their business.

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