Two things make the world go ‘round: ideas and exchanges. Ideas are seeds. Once planted they can flourish and turn a field into a plentiful harvest. Exchanges are tides. They shift and move across the world.
Following our ideas and exchanging our ideas is how impact is created.
We do this from the smallest things, like mimicking a habit of our favorite character, to bigger things, like holding a family tradition. The same goes for the impacts we create for the people and places around us. What conversations, projects, and initiatives move through our communities?
Social entrepreneurs create a positive impact on communities through business, but you don’t need to own a business to start change. You can start making a positive impact by showing up for the community. It can seem like there aren’t many options around. That’s when it’s time for ideas and exchanges.
You could find it helpful to go out and interact with people who are conscious about making a positive social impact. It starts at home, but when we combine our efforts in community, our impact becomes greater.
Donate to Local Causes
You can donate to causes in your community if you don’t know where to start. People in your area may do food drives or clothing drives that you can support. Donating isn’t simply about money. It’s a small start where you can observe what kinds of causes are being addressed.
The same approach can work with community events held around the year. Sites like Eventbrite often list the free community events taking place in the upcoming weeks. You can use these events to show support for causes that will improve the quality of life for your community.
It’s a good idea to find who is behind the drives or events. Community organizers can give you more information on what is happening for a certain cause. For example, a STEAM-themed community day held at a local park could lead to conversations about needs in the education system or supporting youth. You get connected to people who are already on the ground, taking action, and making an impact.
In most cases, these will be organizations you can research to know if they’re worth getting involved with. This brings us to our next point of knowing where you’re donating.
Support an Organization
After you find an organization you can support, you explore what you can do to amplify that team. Outside of making a donation, you can volunteer, work, or promote the organization. Perhaps you volunteer weekly, or volunteer for an annual event. Maybe you share the organization’s latest campaign on your social media. Your efforts can show up for the organization in many ways. It depends on how you want to offer your time, skills, and attention.
Companies address causes differently. A nonprofit could hold a movie night to raise money for a cause. Separately, a local activist could establish a social enterprise to create resources for a cause. Interacting with either naturally creates a positive impact. The interesting part is discovering your level of involvement.
For the movie night example, did you:
Buy a ticket?
Volunteer to work the popcorn station?
Bring a group of local kids for a fun movie night?
Take pictures and tag the organization?
You don’t need to do everything. These are a few ways anyone can show up to support the positive impact happening in the community.
Participate in a Social Impact Accelerator
One of the ultimate ways to move positive impact along is by supporting businesses, like social enterprises. Launching a business is already a long journey, but in the special case of social impact, a connection to the community is deeply valued. This is why events like social impact accelerators can be so vital to social enterprises.
Initiatives across the US may run their accelerators with a set guide, but they’re generally similar. People who commit to social impact gather for a time period to brainstorm, test, and build positive solutions for the world.
There is more than one way to participate in a accelerator:
Bring a social impact idea.
Be a team player that brings the idea to life.
Join as an audience member for the idea presentations.
Be a judge or mentor for the social impact ideas.
Sponsor the event.
You can make a positive impact in your community by showing up at whatever level you are able to at the moment.
This happens a lot at the social impact accelerator GiveBackHack. GiveBackHack is “bringing community together to talk about social issues and come up with innovative solutions.”
Wild Tiger Tees and GiveBackHack
Wild Tiger Tees is an exact example of positive social impact sparked at GiveBackHack.
Like many things, the idea started off with a simple agreement. Wild Tiger Tees came together during a weekend at GiveBackHack in 2018. This social enterprise aims to “empower youth experiencing homelessness with the skills necessary to gain employment through the art of screen printing” in partnership with Star House. At least, that’s where the business started.
Over the years of iterating and learning, what Wild Tiger Tees could offer evolved. The initiative still serves youth while creating a positive ripple effect in the community. The main change is that the team shifted away from screen printing. It was a great beginning, but printing t shirts was not the most eco-friendly option. Inspired to have a holistic positive impact, Wild Tiger Tees decided to look for a new product or service that includes sustainability.
When you go to make an impact, remember that you are starting a journey. What you start with may change. Who you work with may change. How much you know will definitely change. There are so many events that take place on your way to your continuous impact that you’ll see each and every step is meaningful.
If you are interested in taking a step towards positive social impact, consider GiveBackHack. Not able to participate? We strongly encourage checking out your area for an accelerator, workshop, or talk related to positive social impact solutions. You’ll get to exercise your ability to make a change, and you’ll find people who want to work together towards a positive change.
Podcast episodes about the journey of Wild Tiger Tees: