If you want to do good in this world, nonprofits provide many career paths to explore. But the nonprofit sector isn’t the only place where you can find a job that makes a difference. In addition to the rise of social enterprises, businesses can also offer opportunities to create change. Liz Maw, the CEO of Net Impact, shares five ways businesses are creating opportunities to do good:
1. Landing a dedicated CSR or sustainability role
For those with experience and a deep familiarity with their industry, a dedicated CSR or sustainability role is often one of the tangible ways an individual can influence a larger organization from within. Employees in these departments spend their full-time jobs helping the company improve its social or environmental impact by working with internal departments, external stakeholders, suppliers, and more. Many corporations also have foundations that operate as a separate arm of the company, with staff dedicated to funding and supporting nonprofit organizations. Of course, these jobs are few and far between. But luckily, they’re not the only way to change how a company does business – in fact, many experts argue that the following four approaches can be as or more effective at creating change.
2. Taking on side projects
Some companies enable employees to contribute to social or environmental projects in addition to their regular responsibilities. For example, many companies have green teams, where groups of employees get together over lunch or after work to plan events and activities to reduce the company’s environmental impact. At eBay, for instance, about 10% of the company’s employees are involved in a green team. Other companies, like Deloitte, have instituted formal pro bono projects where employees use their business skills to help nonprofit organizations. And if your company doesn’t have a formal program? Create your own project! I recently met a member of Net Impact San Francisco at an Impact at Work(shop) who was crafting a business case for installing motion sensors for the lights for her office building – a true intrapreneur in action!
Liz offered several suggestions about how people can bring “doing good” into their jobs, including finding a dedicated corporate social responsibility or sustainability position, working to impact decision-making at a corporate level for the greater good, and becoming an intrapreneur.
What do you think? How do you see businesses doing good?