Last week, we featured some of our work in Conscious Company Magazine in an article titled Microsoft’s MySkills program is one of the most purposeful corporate volunteering programs you’ve never heard of. In the article, we outline five lessons we learned in helping launch and scale this initiative. Make sure to check out the original piece at Conscious Company.
Here is a summary of the 5 steps:
1. Create a systems map, and understand the drivers and barriers for key players.
Social good projects need a diverse range of support to get off the ground: From executives and employees to external stakeholders and nonprofit partners. Gaining support from all of these groups is hard work, but creating a map of all the key stakeholders and relationships between them will help you decide when and how to activate each. We share more about systems-mapping in our Eguide on this topic.
2. Propose a pilot that will actually work.
This might sound stupid, but you’d be surprised how many pilots are “stupider”, usually because they are design on whiteboards instead of in communities they are designed to support. Build a pilot that will actually work by using a human-centered, design-thinking process to co-create a solution that will actually create the intended impact.
3. Build the business case and validate your hypotheses.
For social impact initiatives to scale, they must have a demonstrable impact on the business (this means they must be measured, too). If steps #1 and #2 have been completed, the metrics to track and report on will be clear. Using a Business Model Canvas to adequately map the elements of your initiative is a useful model to isolate the needed resources and dependencies. Identifying these resources and dependencies will enable you to create a series of hypotheses about whether your program will work or not.
4. Secure executive sponsorship and promotion.
To get to scale, you’ll need to align executives to commit long-term budget and promotional support. Executive sponsorship will help ensure you have the budget, HR support, legal compliance, internal promotion channels, and mid-level support to achieve long-term success. You’ll need plenty of data, anecdotes, and examples, so make sure do to your research.
5. Navigate the naysayers.
Nate Wong, Managing Director at Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation, in a presentation “Immunizing the Corporate Antibodies”, found that you must identify the naysayers in advance, understand their concerns, and then proactively address them — preferably by involving them in the design process.
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