Is ‘Profit with Purpose’ attainable? 3 tips for social impact

Do you believe business has a significant role to play in society, beyond the pursuit of profit?

Tackling Australia’s most pressing social challenges to deliver lasting social change is everyone’s business. So what does this mean for your organisation?

Increasingly complex social challenges continue to drive the need for social finance, shared value, and new digital platforms to bring government, business, not-for-profits and civil society together to make change happen. This means more opportunity for your business to make a scalable, sustainable and outcome oriented impact. There are also added benefits to being involved in long lasting social change.

For example, did you know businesses that focus on more than just the pursuit of profit are likely to have a stronger employee and customer value proposition? In fact, a recent Millennial survey revealed the vast majority of young professionals say being profitable is no longer enough, and personal morals/values play a greater role in deciding to remain in an organisation or not.

The belief that we can leverage business to positively impact society is the inspiration and driving force behind the team we work in. The Social Impact Consulting Practice – a ‘profit with purpose’ practice – brings together professionals from all areas of the firm, passionate about making a difference. Each of us has our own personal story that draws us to the team. Whether it is the impact of having a family member living with a disability, volunteering with a charity, or seeking greater purpose in life – what binds us together is a shared belief that business can be a powerful force for change.

So, what do we do? Well, if you think of a Venn diagram, where government is on the left, business is on the right, and the not-for-profit sector is on the bottom, we work at the intersection of all three sectors to create multi-sector solutions to complex social challenges.

We work with organisations in the areas of disability, aged care and Indigenous affairs, helping them to navigate reforms, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Consumer Directed Care (CDC), and develop innovative funding and growth models to cater for the raft of changes affecting their organisation. Within Indigenous Affairs, we have been working closely with organisations in areas of self-determination and economic independence through setting up governance frameworks to allow for capacity building and entrepreneurship.

There is a growing appreciation globally that we need business to partner with government and not-for-profits to build new and innovative solutions addressing social challenges at scale. The challenge is to create more platforms and opportunities for cross-sectoral dialogue and collaboration to take place.

If you are a business looking to make a lasting social impact – we have 3 key tips for creating social impact:

  1. Be clear on the social issue your organisation is keen to tackle. The closer the alignment to your core business, the more likely it is to be sustainable and ‘shared value’ in nature – in other words, know your ‘why’.
  1. Consider the key players (government, not-for-profits, and other businesses) in the ecosystem you should partner or collaborate with to make a meaningful dent on the social issue you have selected.
  1. Begin with the end in mind – clearly define what ‘success’ looks like from both a commercial and social impact perspective and reverse engineer the design of your business proposition to ensure it is designed to deliver both.


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