What does real social impact look like?
A recent blog post written by our CEO - Kohl Crecelius - on his blog. There is a lot of talk about "social good" and "business with impact" these days, but my fear is that companies are leveraging its popularity to capitalize on a trend and that true impact isn't the focus. There is much to learn, our organization included, but here are a few things I'd like to offer from our experience to share what I believe real social impact looks like... 1) It equips people to help themselves. Too often our concept of impact stems from the idea of simply giving. Food, clothing, and money are given to people living in poverty every day, and while in many cases it is the most important thing needed in the moment, if that's the extent of what we offer we are really only helping them temporarily. If our thinking doesn't extend past the quick fixes, people can get stuck in a rut of dependency on the "charity" we offer. We need to think of equipping people with the skills to take care of themselves. 2) It is holistic. In the world of "social good" people oversimplify a message of impact - (ie) a donation of X number of dollars or a product given to someone in need changes their life forever. The truth is, poverty is a very complex issue and it requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted solution. We become whole people through the combination of our ability to earn an income, our social awareness and relationships, our education, and our health. By focusing exclusively on one of these things can we really say we are truly helping in the long term? We need to try to address the core issues of what keeps people trapped in poverty; there is more than one. 3) It is measured. It's one thing to say you are impacting people living in poverty, but it's a whole other thing to measure the actual impact you have on each individual. The hard facts. At Krochet Kids intl. we measure 45 key performance indicators per beneficiary of our program, every month. The picture of a person's progress toward breaking the cycle of poverty is one that incorporates all of the necessary inputs into their life and measures the success in each category. Each of us has our strengths and weaknesses. We are all different. And we need extra attention and discussion around areas that we're not particularly good at. Measurement helps address the true need with the necessary level of support. This is the framework we use to discuss poverty solutions and real social impact. We still have a lot to learn and we look forward to people joining in this conversation and helping to continue to sharpen our work and goals together. If you have any thoughts, comment below...
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