December 22, 2023

Broken to Better: How to Build a Social Impact Program with Purpose

The first year for any entrepreneur is the “hair on fire” year. My co-founder Kiira Belonzi and I juggled endless tasks, from securing clients to delivering quality work and keeping the lights on. That first year was tough. Yours will likely be, too.

Once we hit year two, our hair was still on fire, but we fell into a pace that worked for us. Yet, once I had time to reflect, I realized something was missing. Turning a profit so quickly was a significant achievement, but I needed a higher purpose. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to give back. And I wanted Branded Group to be a part of that.

That’s when we started building our philanthropy program and made giving back part of our core values. Here’s how you can be generous and build a social impact program with purpose.

1.  Build giving opportunities into your business operations

One of the most effective ways to build philanthropy into your business is to integrate it into your everyday operations. This approach ensures that your efforts towards social responsibility are not just sporadic acts but a consistent part of your business ethos.

That’s how Branded Group’s award-winning One-for-One program began. For every client service call we took—the core of our business—we donated a minute of volunteer time to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. As we grew, we transitioned to a partnership with Feeding America, and now we donate a meal per service call.

Even as a new business owner, there’s something you and your business can do for your community. The best advice I can give is to start where you are. Donate money, time, and skills—whichever works best for you and your business. Everyone can find an hour in their schedule to pack up boxes of food or fill a backpack.

2. Establish a Meaningful Partnership with a Nonprofit

Finding a nonprofit partner that aligns with your company values is crucial. I encourage you to find a cause that you’re passionate about, where you can build a long-term relationship. Look for a mission that fits your values, amplifies your impact, and helps the message resonate with your team and clients.

These partnerships can also create mutually beneficial relationships. By aligning with Habitat for Humanity and Feeding America, Branded Group was able to engage in projects that were close to our office, facilitating team participation. This meant our team members could easily participate in and witness the tangible results of their efforts, enhancing their sense of accomplishment and connection to our company’s mission.

Don’t let small steps discourage you from taking action. If that first partner isn’t right, moving on to another is okay. When we first started the One-for-One program, it was primarily based in Orange County, California. Now that our workforce has expanded, we can help people in communities all over the country.

These partnerships have become a cornerstone of our identity, demonstrating that when a business aligns its values with its social impact efforts, the result is a powerful and enduring force for good.

3. Engage Everyone in Giving Initiatives

To create a truly impactful social impact program, involving your entire ecosystem—including your team and yourself—in your giving initiatives is essential. This comprehensive engagement fosters a culture of philanthropy that permeates every level of your organization and extends to your client relationships.

Involve Your Clients

By integrating our social impact goals with our business model, each service call completed by our clients directly contributes to our charitable efforts. When we share with our clients that their engagement has resulted in tangible impacts—like 200 meals provided to families or building a child’s first bedroom—it fosters a deep sense of pride and gratitude. They realize that their business with us goes beyond transactions. It’s about being part of something bigger, making a real difference. This understanding strengthens our relationships, transforming clients into enthusiastic partners in our mission.

Engage Your Employees

The engagement doesn’t stop with our clients. We actively involve our employees in our giving initiatives, encouraging them to participate in volunteer activities and decision-making processes. This not only empowers them but also instills a strong sense of belonging and purpose within the team. By being directly involved in making a positive impact, our employees become ambassadors of our core values, both within and outside the workplace.

Lead by Example

As a leader, my role goes beyond orchestrating these initiatives. It’s about being actively involved and leading by example. Participating alongside the team in volunteering activities, organizing charity events, and showing a genuine commitment to our causes reinforces the message that we are all in this together. It’s a testament to our belief that real leadership means rolling up your sleeves and being part of the change you want to see. This approach not only inspires our team but also resonates strongly with our clients, showcasing the authenticity of our commitment to social responsibility.

Embrace Profit and Purpose

As I navigate the journey of leading Branded Group, I’ve learned an invaluable lesson: the true essence of business leadership extends well beyond profit margins. It’s about forging a path that connects purpose with profitability. To aspiring entrepreneurs and future leaders, I urge you to embrace this ethos. Consider how your ventures can not only thrive financially but also enrich the lives of your employees, clients, and the broader community.

Want to grow your business with purpose? Check out my consulting services and discover how to Be Better.

This piece is based on a chapter of Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership. The book is dedicated to business leaders seeking to improve their company for their employees, clients and communities. Download/purchase the full book here.

Call Us Email Us
Close menu