How to Find a Cause to Support as a Social Enterprise or Social Impact Initiative

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People have an experience, or someone they know will have an experience, that leads them to create a social enterprise. It’s a common story, but what happens when it’s the opposite?

A person’s story could start from learning about social enterprise first. They found out they could do good and make money, so it was an obvious “yes.” That doesn’t mean the person knows exactly what they want to do yet. They could be someone who heard about supporting and spreading good through business for the first time without knowing which cause they want to support.

When there are many choices, we take longer to pursue something. People who support many causes could find it especially tricky to choose one cause to dedicate their social enterprise towards. In another scenario, a company could be in the middle of transitioning into a social enterprise or developing a social impact department. They want to start, but don’t have a clue of which cause to support so the process slows down.

Who do you want to help?

Everyone has to start somewhere. Begin your journey with a clear purpose of helping a specific community of social impact concern. The focus will allow you to build relationships, resources, and experience to have a long lasting social enterprise. Once your business is stable you can scale your venture or repeat your process to build a new business.

If you need ideas, we can go over social impact concerns you can help with. The list below is separated into the following categories: community, international affairs, underrepresented groups, environment, and society. When something stands out to you, make a note of the topic to research it later when you can give the topic your full attention.

Community

  • Natural Disaster Recovery
  • Cost of Living / Poverty
  • Quality of Life
  • Community Development (Gardens, Parks, Playgrounds, Recreation Centers, Libraries, Social Services)
  • Food Insecurity / Hunger / Malnutrition
  • Local Food Systems
  • Menstrual Hygiene / Period Poverty
  • Neighborhood Pollution (Air Quality, Water Quality / Sewage, Plastic / Waste)
  • Homelessness
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Foster Care System
  • Generational Wealth
  • Education / STEAM
  • Mentorship

International Affairs

  • International Relations
  • Foreign Aid
  • Expats / International Students
  • International Labor
  • Immigration
  • Foreign Policy
  • Cultural Exchange

Underrepresented Groups

  • Children
  • Veterans
  • LGBTQ+ / Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Non-conforming Individuals
  • Re-entry / Second Chance
  • People with Disabilities
  • Women
  • BIPOC / Underserved Racial and Ethnic groups
  • Immigrants
  • First Generation Immigrants
  • Undocumented Individuals
  • Refugees

Environment

  • Climate Change
  • Plastic Pollution (Clean ups, Recycle, Repurpose)
  • Zero Waste
  • Animal Rights
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Materials (Fashion, Construction, General Manufacturing)
  • Electronic Waste
  • Air Quality (National, International)
  • Water Quality (National, International)
  • Corporate Accountability / ESG (“Environmental, Social, & Governance”)
  • Deforestation
  • Endangered Species
  • Biodiversity
  • Urban Planning
  • Clean Energy

Society

  • Voter Rights
  • Bullying (School, Workplace, Virtual)
  • National Mutual Aid
  • Financial Literacy
  • DEI (“Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion”)
  • Healthcare
  • Mental Health
  • Reproductive Rights
  • Labor Rights
  • Workplace Safety / Working Conditions
  • Political Awareness
  • Misinformation
  • Consumer Protection
  • Accessibility
  • Unemployment
  • Impact Investing

UN Sustainable Development Goals

To wrap up, another source of inspiration can be the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These goals represent an intention to improve lives across the world. Each goal is a certain focus promoted by the UN, and the concerns relate to real issues many communities face internationally. You can find a cause under one of these themes to support a goal that’s known to need widespread support.

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs):

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

Start Now with What You Have

You have many paths you can take based on these themes. If you have a top 5, you can brainstorm how you might carry out the social enterprise. It’s a great way to predict the effort you need to get the first push for the business idea without exhausting time or business resources.

Now, you have an idea to test out, but how will you organize it? Use The Social Impact Starter Kit to refine your idea and get real-life evidence how your idea could be reality. It’s a custom deck of 67 cards with ideas, tools, tips, and concepts to help you find a great social enterprise idea that you can launch and build to make an impact in your community. The best part of all: on the back of each card is an example of an organization, along with its mission and how they’re creating an impact in the world.

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