Social Impact Initiative TRENDS

TREND 1: Change for Good

A shift from performative “social washing” to taking action to help achieve the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

TREND 2: Nothing About Us Without Us

Including people with lived experience of social problems in developing solutions to these problems.

TREND 3: Stories are as Important as Numbers

Increased use of qualitative data in the form of personal stories, shared experiences to substantiate the business and societal value of social impact initiatives.

TREND 4: Diversity Hiring Changes Lives

Recognition that creating meaningful, secure employment is the best way to improve the lives of vulnerable people and their families.

TREND 5: Co-Creation Supersedes Consultation

Solving social problems depends on doing more than asking people what they think. Successful social change will involve creating opportunities for executives, employees, people with lived experience, investors and local communities to co-create and implement new ideas.


Corporate Social Responsibility

TREND 1: CSR is an Expectation Not a “Nice to Have”

Corporate social responsibility is becoming a greater expectation rather than an added benefit to a company’s value proposition.

TREND 2: Putting Investments to Work in a Way That Truly Matters

Impact investing is the one sector of venture capital that has been growing exponentially.

TREND 3: Purpose and Fulfillment Lead

Millenials and Gen Z would rather have purpose and fulfillment over financial security but lately have been pressing firms for both.

TREND 4: Climate Change is Front and Center

Environmental catastrophes have created immediate action with corporate social responsibility managers to address climate change.

TREND 5: The Impact of Covid

Taking care of the wellbeing of employees with a strong focus on mental health will be even more important this year than ever before.

TREND 6: Corporations Embrace Activism

In the context of Black Lives Matter, more businesses are taking action to address systemic racism inside their operations and in communications to consumers.

Social Impact

TREND 1: The Human Aggregation Business Will Bounce Back

If being isolated these past nine months has shown us anything, it has illuminated how much we value being with other people. This means eating in restaurants, attending concerts, watching live sports, and—most importantly—old-fashioned volunteer projects. Prior to 2020, traditional volunteering had been poo-pooed in favor of skills-based work that has more “impact.”

Toward the end of 2021, traditional volunteering—that is, getting into a community with a lot of people to help—will be very much in vogue as we remember that impact goes both directions. Helping nonprofits and other community organizations helps them for sure, but it helps the helpers even more. It turns out we need that connection—that physical connection—with each other.

TREND 2: Geography Continues to Gain Importance

We have all been forced to be where we are. We have Zoomed ourselves into oblivion, but in the end, we are where we live.

People are on the move since they can work from anywhere. People are also trying to help their local businesses, restaurants, and community organizations stay afloat during these uncertain times. From our point of view, caring about the state of your local community is a good thing.

Social impact has been trending local for many years, and this trend will continue. International causes will remain important, but people want to get face to face with the organizations they are helping. “Who can we help in the communities where we operate?” will be a key question in 2021.

TREND 3: The Purpose Economy Will Accelerate

Every time we have seen a change in the investment and activity around social impact, it is after a major crisis.
The pandemic is something that everyone has felt in one way or another. These macro events typically cause people to put their lives into some context. That includes assessing where individuals work and who they buy from. The private sector is on notice to be more responsive to the needs of stakeholders rather than just shareholders. So, we are bullish on making a difference in 2021! *Source:  Give to Get:  Purpose in Motion.

TREND 1: Transparency is so in

Openness is not just a must-have; it is expected by every stakeholder. Every aspect of transparency, from being your true self at work to openly reporting progress against your impact goals, is expected of the new corporate citizen.

TREND 2: Making time to do good: an everyday expectation

The workforce in 2020 will be redefining what workplace volunteerism looks like. Companies such as Salesforce and Johnson & Johnson are already committed to seven paid volunteer days off per year for each employee.

TREND 3: Leaders who inspire = brands that inspire

CEOs have taken a stand on polarizing issues more often in the last five years than at any other time in history. “Purpose” is about defining a company’s position on issues such as climate change, immigration, LGBTQ rights, workforce diversity and gender parity.

TREND 4: Purpose is profit

Purpose often seems counterintuitive to profit, but in reality, it’s the key. Strong brands that choose the path of collective good find they outperform in shareholder value.

TREND 5: Impact beyond grant-making

Businesses thrive on ROI, but measuring the impact of social good is still largely uncharted territory.


Source: TriplePundit

The Global Wellness Institute serves as an umbrella organization for numerous Initiatives, that are independently chaired and run. The resources, editorial, research and opinions presented by the Initiatives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Global Wellness Institute.