Social ImpactFocus. Finding your life purpose… that’s a tall order, and maybe not realistic (see this humorous article). However, identifying a few things that you are passionate about, and what you don’t care much about, can help with one critical task: deciding whether to say yes or no. Ultimately, this can clear your calendar, decide whether to donate when asked by a friend, and connect with the people who care about the same issues.

Gift. “Give generously.” Those words can take on double meaning when you recognize the passions of the people around you with a gift of giving. Birthdays and holidays can be recognized with a donation in their name to a favorite cause, or with a gift card that lets them find new causes.

Raise the bar. Want to make sure your resources (time spent volunteering, gifts, etc.) are spent wisely? Commit to supporting causes that show impact. How? See how the organization describes its impact in reports, on their website, in social media, etc. Third party reviewers provide ratings and information on several dimensions, including programs and results.

Add a social filter. You add filters and frames on Instagram and Snapchat. Incorporate a social impact filter when shopping, eating, or using services. You can find a seal of approval, ways to shop local, or support a cause during the activities you do anyway.

Looking for more ways to have an impact?

More and more employers are looking to have a social impact as a way to differentiate themselves and attract and retain employees. Your organization can adopt a social mission that uses some combination of sourcing, sharing, and selling products with a social impact. Public Benefit Corporations (PBCs), Minnesota’s newest form of business, are explicitly designed to have both a social and financial benefit; in March we will learn about the impact of Minnesota’s first batch of PBCs as they share their first benefit reports.

Investors are considering social impact, too. You can direct some of your personal portfolio to socially responsible investing, like the funds available in many 401K plans. Networks and investment firms are bringing together larger investments in enterprises with a potential social impact. And foundations are considering new strategies, such as program related investments, which allow flexibility for investments in companies as well as nonprofits making a social impact.