In the past, it was more about winners and losers. It was more about competition. It was about the people from the top, the leaders and executives whom the employees can talk to, wanting to see better results. Today, that’s not the case anymore, and I think many of you realize that. People are focused on sharing, being generous, and building networks.
Today’s companies want to win, and they’re trying to do it by developing their employees with technology, training, and culture to create work environments that amplify their wisdom and intelligence. They want to support their communities and others that are directly affected by them, as well as use their strengths to address some global issues. They want to change the world. With substantial wealth in your pocket, you’re thinking about how you can use it smartly to support the solving of global social and environmental issues. Well, you have three options.
One of the ways to support the world-changing activities is by being a passive investor, and enter the realm of the angel or impact investing.
Who are angel investors? Typically, they’re wealthy entrepreneurs who invest their money in projects they’re passionate about. For example, there may be a startup with a revolutionary idea but without access to financing. So, they reach out to an angel investor who makes a stock purchase or gives a loan. An angel investor can also advise or mentor the business they’re investing in as they specialize in a specific type of company.
Impact investing is an investment strategy that has to generate beneficial environmental or social impact (alongside a financial return) for its ultimate goal. After considering a company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, they decide whether they will become involved with it. Impact investing is done mostly by institutional investors, but also by a range of conscious financial service companies. For example, microfinance loans can provide small businesses in emerging nations with expansion or startup capital.
If you don’t want to limit yourself only to fund the projects you like, but take a more active role in making a positive impact on the world, you can become a part of a community that has common goals. Let’s take Nexus and Ashoka for example.
Nexus Global Summit
The Nexus Global Summit connects the intellectual, financial, social, and creative capital of our generation to inspire collaboration and learning between a secure network of peers. It gathers social innovators, impact investors, and philanthropists from nearly 70 countries. Founded in 2011, Nexus enables ultra-wealthy investors to make a significant difference in the world through social entrepreneurship on a global scale. Their summits are where social innovators and philanthropically motivated individuals with excellent wealth meet.
Ashoka is an organization that supports social innovators and entrepreneurs around the world. It was named after Ashoka, a great leader who lied in the 3rd century BC and transformed the Indian sub-continent. The organization’s goals are related to improving the quality of people’s lives by focusing on areas such as medical care, education, broadcasting, housing, and other fields of human need. They are action-driven and goal oriented, with about 90% of them seeing other independent institutions copy their innovative solutions.
Become a Social Entrepreneur Yourself
The last option you have is to take things into your own hands – become a social entrepreneur yourself and make it your business. But first, you need to lay out a clear roadmap for your journey if you feel called to make an impact and a difference in the world. Find out which cause to support and write your mission statement. Research and learn as much as you can about the social business landscape. Conceptualize your offering to the tiniest detail, hire a team for support and feedback, and develop a business model. Eventually, write an action plan, where you will lay out all the activities and tasks you need to commit to, and stick to it.
Companies can be assessed for their social and environmental performance, and granted a “B Certification.” Issued by B Lab (nonprofit organization), the certification requires companies to meet environmental performance and social sustainability standards, as well as to be transparent to the public. By becoming a B Corporation, you will attract engaged and talented employees, increase consumer trust, improve your performance, and protect your company mission for the long-term.
Elaine King, CFP is an expert on family enterprise consulting, creating strategies for wealth planning, family governance, and financial education programs.