Accelerating the Speed of Social Change
How Social Change Really Happens
The best architects do more than construct buildings – they create an experience that provokes thinking and optimizes human interactions. The same is true for building a better world. At Social Impact Architects, we are A bridge between multiple disciplines with the goal of accelerating the speed of social change. Social Impact Architects is a social change agency that provides consulting and learning experiences to changemakers working alongside them to design creative and transformative solutions to social issues.
Current Social Sector Ideas & Trends
The best leaders have an integrated approach to personal mastery – in this blog, we share new thinking on 3Q – IQ, EQ and the newest one – SQ – and how it applies to the social sector.
Businesses are awakening to the value of “doing good.” In this blog, we share this new paradigm and how we all can partner together so people and planet can co-exist with proﬁts.
- Business Planning
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Education & Training
- Executive Coaching
- Feasibility Studies
- Impact Measurement
- Retreat Facilitation
- Scaling/Growth Planning
- Strategic Planning
- System Change/Movements
Each nonprofit is at some stage on the nonprofit life cycle. The key is not to compare your organization with others, but to contrast relative to those in your same life cycle and to chart the right growth trajectory for your organization.
By completing an internal and external assessment with Social Impact Architects, you can find out where you are relative to others and determine the best and most efficient methods to achieve growth. We utilize both quantitative and qualitative research methods and provide a customized report that we can share with your staff and Board. This process is most helpful before a strategic planning process or during executive transitions.
A well-developed business plan creates a roadmap for your social sector or nonprofit venture and includes detailed analysis on your market, competitors, resource considerations, financials, and risk mitigation plan. The difference between a good nonprofit business plan and a great business plan is market research. Social Impact Architects has a high standard for market research and excels at building strong and sustainable business plans for social sector programs, organizations or social enterprises.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Ten years ago, only a dozen Fortune 500 companies even issued a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. Now, the majority do, and more than 7,000 businesses around the world have signed the UN Global Compact pledging to show good global citizenship. In addition, many companies are following the lead of strategy experts, such as Michael Porter, and embedding CSR into their organizational strategy and operations. The figure below illustrates this new approach published in Harvard Business Review in 2006. Social Impact Architects can help you – whether you are a for-profit or nonprofit – build a strategic and integrated Corporate Social Responsibility plan, which will enhance your impact in the community, increase your recognition for exceptional corporate citizenship and community service, and impact your performance through enhanced employee and community engagement.
Education & Training
Social Impact Architects works with clients in the United States and Canada to design training and education sessions that meet your organization’s needs and expands the capacity of your staff. We work with audiences ranging from 30 to 250 people, and our past clients include the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the National Juvenile Justice Network, Catholic Charities, the Social Enterprise Alliance, and Social Venture Partners International. We have had the privilege of speaking in 32 states across the United States.
Social Impact Architects can help you develop your abilities and test your ideas before you share them with the larger team. Often, we have found it isn’t what you say that creates tension or issues, but it is how to convey it. We can work with you to assess your strengths, identify the capabilities or resources you need to take your organization to the next level, and develop an action plan to implement changes. Social Impact Architects can provide one-time coaching or on-going services.
Because the toughest part of a feasibility study is making the actual decision, we start with determining what is most important to the social sector organization (e.g. revenue, mission alignment, ease of implementation). Once this step is completed, we conduct analysis at a high-level of the market, competition, and organizational fit. Based on the decision criteria, it is typically easy to interpret whether or not the idea or venture is feasible.
Social Impact Architects can offer insight on how your social program or efforts can better meet the needs of clients and drive continuous improvement in your organization. To achieve social impact, you have to start with the end in mind – uncover what you want to know and learn and it will lead you to measure the right things and analyze your social impact to support your decision-making. To do this, we start with the organization’s logic model and work with you to define the impact you hope to achieve. We then work backwards to determine the tools you need to capture results and tell your organization’s story in a compelling way.
A good retreat has a focused agenda. A great retreat builds your team and facilitates discussion that takes your organization to the next level. Social Impact Architects will work alongside your team to build a customized agenda with expert facilitation before, during and after that will set the stage for results that matter – an engaged team, shared understanding, and manageable next steps.
Influenced by leading researchers on scaling, Social Impact Architects’s growth plan development process follows a path to uncover precisely what is innovative about your program or organization and how to best scale or grow it to maximize social impact and financial returns (if applicable).
Social Impact Architects has a time-tested approach to developing strategic plans for the social sector that actively engages stakeholders, maps the environment, provides customized solutions, and develops future scenarios to decide upon.
Stories are the universal language among humans.
The good news is that social sector organizations have great stories to share – if you learn how to tell them in the right way. Social Impact Architects works with social sector organizations to develop succinct, compelling messages that convey your results and speak to your stakeholders’ interests. We utilize a variety of tools to provide a holistic picture of the impact you have including anecdotes, internal/external data analysis, and social return on investment analysis.
Whether you call it collective impact, collaborative entrepreneurship, system change, or a movement, it requires constructing a strategic framework built upon research, convening a diverse group of stakeholders, developing ground rules for managing relationships and shared decision-making, and generating ongoing, meaningful value for each stakeholder.
Social Impact Architects bridges disciplines and uses a combination of concepts from business (systems thinking, competition), public policy (coalition building), and the social sector (socio-ecologic model).