Be the Change You Want to See: Creating Social Impact through Life’s Work

From: Alex Summers
September 17th, 2013 | 0 Comments

There are no division lines between business and social good. We live in a society in which the two go hand-in-hand because each works together to create social impact, whether it’s introducing a product or service that holds value with a consumer or helping individuals find peace and placement in the world.

No matter the business or choice to lend aid – you can align your goals to make the change you want to see in this world. The path may not be so clear in the very beginning for some. But an alignment of your goals will allow you to grow a successful business and do social good, from your life’s work.

Let’s look at a few salient examples…

Feeding Those in Need

Yank Barry got his start in the music industry as part of The Kingsmen, a band known for its song “Louie, Louie.” After a short stint with the group he moved forward and found himself entwined in the music industry for nearly 30 years.

Later in life, he found himself in the role of business owner behind a very successful soy company (to which he donates 60% of its profits) and co-founder of a non-profit group, Global Village Champions Foundation, along with Muhammad Ali. Barry also takes his time to do humanitarian work around the globe, which is why he has been nominated in 2012 and 2013 for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Ali and Barry and their foundation works with groups like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to donate meals to those in need.

Starting as a musician and becoming an individual that has earned more than 20 international humanitarian and peace awards is a major transition, but it goes to show that aligning goals when conducting business can lead to great social impact.

Empowering the Spirit

Another such example where business and social good have combined is through the work of Matt Flannery and the team behind Kiva.org.

Kiva.org was founded to empower individuals across the globe by allowing anyone to provide microloans. The loans are often as low as $25, which goes a very long way in certain regions of the world.

Recipients are often those individuals, groups, or organizations that do not have access to proper funding despite their noble community objective.

Examples of what these types of loans can include:

·  Helping groups purchase inventory to start a business and hire locals
·  Sending individuals to schools
·  Giving individuals the chance to receive life-saving surgeries

Those who give the loans take an inherent risk due to internal and external factors, but actions like these allow you to bypass the big organizations and give directly to individuals in need. The Kiva foundation does not take any cut of the loans because they are funded by sponsors and investors.

Kiva shows what’s possible when a business is aligned to contribute to a social cause; it has become a platform where you can continue your life’s work and provide humanitarian benefits without having to make a complete transition into the non-profit sector.

Changing the Industry

For a final example, Tesla founder Elon Musk has been single-handedly changing the automobile industry. It’s though the introduction of Tesla’s work that many others may pursue technological innovations that lead to incredible safety measures.

Musk is the type of individual with incredible drive and passion for his work. The businesses and innovations he’s introduced have inadvertently changed variable degrees of society, whether it’s inspiring people to look to the stars with the SpaceX program or through his actions as a co-founder of Paypal, which gives people the ability to easily conduct business.

The Musk Foundation is aimed at philanthropic efforts in science, pediatrics, and clean energy.

Some of the accomplishments include:

·  A multi-million dollar program to introduce solar-powered systems in disaster areas
·  Joined the “Giving Pledge” which aims to donate the majority of wealth to causes
·  A push to build a “spacefaring” civilization that encourages new technologies

Valued at a net worth of $8 billion dollars, it’s easy to see how aligning business goals and social good can go hand-in-hand.

If you’re passionate about your life’s work … no matter where it takes you … there are always options to do good and make a social impact.