All about social impact programs

The Blog

Social Impact programs are increasingly popular for businesses no matter their size or industry. From how businesses operate to the things people choose to buy, social impact is becoming more important to many people worldwide.

It’s all about making a difference and improving society.

Organizations are seeking to consciously and deliberately make positive changes to address social injustices and challenges. A social impact program requires investment, money, passion and hard work.

A successful social impact program will also improve an organization’s bottom line while creating new markets, driving innovation, retaining talent, and presenting new business opportunities.

Like any other business strategy, the social impact program needs to:

  • be backed by thorough research
  • be clearly communicated and understood internally
  • be flexible and adaptable
  • have clear smart goals, 
  • be managed and monitored, 
  • have management/stakeholder buy-in
  • be constantly promoted


While it is always tempting to look to causes that you (personally) are passionate about, it makes sense to spend the time to find something related to your business. In some cases, your personal passion projects may align with that of the business.

Either way, putting in the effort to research and understand how your organization can make a positive difference is time well spent. This will provide the well-laid foundation required for the success of the program.

A needs assessment will highlight how you can reach the target group, who else may be supporting the target group and how they may be helping.  

Internal communication

Just because certain stakeholders understand the goals doesn’t mean that everyone else in the organization does. To ensure that everyone champions the cause, it must be clearly communicated and should also form part of any onboarding process.

When explaining the program to staff you should ensure that you identify the business goals you want to achieve, whether that’s driving innovation, forming new strategic partnerships or becoming a more sustainable enterprise.

Flexible and Adaptable

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”, or “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” a quote attributed to Sir Robert Burns is testament that any plan needs to be adaptable and flexible as things that can go wrong often do.

Keeping your project flexible and adaptable will help with the longevity of the plan (and will keep you sane).

SMART goals

In order to ensure laser focus on deliverables and to be able to monitor progress, the application of SMART goals is critical to the success of the program. There are numerous articles about the benefits of SMART goals that go beyond the scope of this article. Just keep in mind that goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

Managing and Monitoring

Social-impact analysis involves considering results (outcomes and impact) as well as examining the products and services provided (output) along with the quality. The analysis also takes into account the fundamental assumptions regarding social impact underlying the project.

Too often, regular monitoring is overlooked and only a final evaluation is done at the end of the project. While a final evaluation is vital, ongoing monitoring enables people to respond to deviations and unforeseen events. And if your plan is flexible and agile, you should be able to respond adequately. One can view systematic monitoring as an early-warning system and a way to offer peace of mind as you progress. It also allows you to improve continuously.

Stakeholder buy-in

If stakeholders don’t see the value in a project, they can often derail it and render the project ineffective. 

Stakeholders can be anyone who has to adopt, manage, or approve a project. Stakeholders can be managers that you may work with directly, teams who might be using a new tool, or even executives who are responsible for approving the new budget.

Stakeholders who view projects in a positive light will be natural advocates for encouraging others to buy in. They can even be responsible for elevating projects to higher-level executives whose buy-in may carry substantial weight.

It is therefore crucial to understand who the stakeholders are and to nurture them from the outset.

Promote, promote, promote

With the amount of data we all have to process daily, it’s no wonder we’re constantly forgetting things. Don’t let your project be forgotten. Promote it and promote it well. Use every channel available to you be it the corporate website, social media, or newsletters. 

Let’s work together for a better tomorrow

At Greydale we can help you develop and execute your purpose-driven strategy, together with ongoing measurements of your success. Chat to us today and let’s collaborate towards a better future for your organization, your people, and your customers.