How to make a real social impact without spending any money

Doing good is something that more and more business owners are concerned with. On the one hand, we all need meaning in our lives, a bigger purpose than just making money. On the other, we are all too busy keeping our businesses afloat and trying to grow them by making money indeed.

Using your business, where you invest most of your time, as a tool for social good is practically killing two birds with one stone. Through your company’s social engagement you can not only contribute to a greater good but also you feel like you are doing something meaningful with your life. Something that actually matters and goes beyond generating revenues.

As an management consultant on business growth and philanthropic endeavors, I often meet with business owners torn by their desire to help and the fact that their budgets don’t allow them to spend much on social causes.

And I often need to remind them that money is hardly the only resource you can contribute with. In fact, if you cannot afford to make consistent donations in a focused manner that ties in with your strategy and business model, you are better off not donating at all as it doesn’t do much good when it’s on a once-off basis.

If you happen to be in the same situation, why not consider other roads to making a difference? The options are endless. Think about all the other resources you have at your disposal such as time, knowledge, skills and of course human resource.

A great idea for example is teaching someone what you know and giving them the skills they will need in life. That way you make a direct, sometimes even more meaningful, impact on somebody’s life.

There’s thousands of teenagers from less privileged families that mightn’t be able to afford to go to university but let’s face it – the most important skills in life you learn are out in the field, and no institution can teach you those. Skills like talking to clients, negotiating, selling, managing a project, working with people, developing ideas, etc. are invaluable and could be applied to various industries.

You mightn’t be able to write a cheque to a charity every month but you can certainly create a programme in-house to accommodate these young people and give them a better chance in life. Let them spend some time in different departments, observe and work on different  tasks, take on responsibility, engage them in the whole process. The experience they may gain in say 6 months’ time will be worth more than 2 years in college. At the very least, it will give them a chance on the labour market.

Apart from not spending money that may or may not effectively impact somebody, investing time and a little bit of effort into the future younger generation has a number of other upsides. Here’s a few:

Spot a talent

Undoubtedly, in your work with these young people you will be able to spot their unique talents in different areas that might benefit your organisation too. Some will be incredibly creative when it comes to marketing, others may be great with clients and in sales, still others might have excellent leadership skills. You can help them further develop those skills and why not offer them a job afterwards at what they have already proven to excel?

Loyalty

Employee retention is a huge challenge today for all sorts of companies both large and small. Millennials entering the workforce over the last 15 years are not like previous generations seeking and settling for stability. They are always in search of the new and unexplored, they want to try things. No surprise that a survey by Future Workplace (an organisation aimed at dealing with HR issues) called “Multiple Generations @ Work” shows that Millennials stay at a job for less than 3 years.  One would assume that taking on a young person and teaching them everything would make them more willing to commit to your organisation for longer. Especially if you give them the chance to give back themselves. Something that most Millennials are defined by is indeed their strong need for meaning and desire to be socially engaged.

Happier employees

The above being said, such an initiative might also be great for your company morale and the retention of your current employees. By giving them the opportunity to share their knowledge and contribute to a greater good in doing so would boost your employees’ motivation as it gives them a sense of bigger purpose. The need for doing good is one of our main human instincts and it brings us joy and happiness but also satisfaction.

Benjamin Franklin once said:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

I believe that’s a saying we can all relate to. There’s a number of ways, different from donating money, which might actually create a much bigger social impact. Investing time and effort into involving people might be one of the best approaches as it means that you are impacting the life of more than one person.  The person you’ve decided to involve and indirectly the people in that person’s life.

If you would like to know more about incorporating a social element into your business model and find out different ways of doing so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. As a business consultant specialising in incorporating social impact into businesses and with extensive experience in a variety of industries, I will be happy to help you grow your business but also your social impact. You can get in touch with me, Paul Davis, here.

 

 

 

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