Back in January Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of BlackRock, wrote a letter to investors and business leaders notifying them that their companies must adopt a sense of corporate social responsibility if they want to continue to receive support from BlackRock. Continue reading
Over the last 7 months, I’ve been transitioning from the role of selling and consulting Enterprise applications to fortune 500 companies to developing social impact technology to consumers. The surprise is that for me, there isn’t that much difference. Sure there are different steps associated with marketing and distributing a $10M contract to one company vs. $1 to 10M people (currently 300 and trending….) but at its core, social impact is a service and it’s growing in importance.
What do I mean social impact is a service. Look around at the average American professional. We are constantly consumed with our work, families and social obligations. We seek deeper meaning in social media interactions via any number of sources. Social impact as a service describes an individual’s desire to be more deeply connected to issues that although not always visible, we know exist.
- There are wars being waged all over the world (Iraq, Syria, Ukraine)
- People are struggling to find clean water and food (Flint Michigan)
- People globally fight for basic rights we enjoy in the USA (think women’s rights)
To be more connected, people can do anything to engage in a social cause to help x,y,z but like in most things the individual is looking for a return on investment. The return on investment doesn’t come in monetary or obvious ways. However, think of the following;
- How good do you feel when you volunteer?
- How do you feel when you give money to an important cause?
- Why don’t you do these things more often?
Social impact as a service allows you to temporarily disengage from your life and engage in the support of another. Help someone get access to clean water, food, shelter or asylum. Help someone feel less persecuted for what they believe in who they are. Improve your own life through service to others.
Volunteering is good for you. There are many studies that demonstrate this but the most concise comes from The Corporation of National and Community Service (report here).
US States with higher volunteer rates
- Have lower mortality rates
- Have lower incidences of heart diseases
It’s not a zero-sum game, as an individual, you don’t have to decide whether you are going to quit your job and focus completely on something altruistic (however, if you feel so compelled let me know, we will help). There are many people who have already committed their lives to public and social works, let’s start by making their lives easier.
Many organizations offer social impact as a service, they provide lightweight opportunities for you to volunteer and donate. The actions at any level can do wonders for your personal satisfaction, mental and physical health as well as means a tremendous amount to the organizations you support.
Okay, now I’ll get off my soap box and get back to the central theme of this post. We are all seeking deeper meaning in our lives, how can we connect our time and talent to something that we truly value and bigger than ourselves. The next great social experience is altruism. If your interested in doing more, check out Guidestar.org for opportunities to contribute to some great meaningful causes.