Ultimate objective of any social enterprise (socent) or a social good brand, be it for-profit or non-profit is to have a positive social impact through organized economic, humanitarian or technological intervention. Broadly, it achieves this in two ways – By offering targeted products & services to people from Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) or by employing people from BOP to sell products & services to the general market place. Social impact can be created through innovation in a variety of sectors. According to a report by Intellicap, 28% of socents operate in the field of Agriculture and 25% in Energy, making them the categories with highest number of socents in India. Education (4%), Livelihood (18%), Healthcare(14%) and Water and Sanitation(11%) are other key areas for social impact initiatives in India. One of the best ways for a socent to represent the impact it makes is through storytelling. Stories of Impact are about a positive social change, achieved through collaboration between different stakeholders and a clear vision for a better tomorrow. They present social proof of a socent’s efforts by showing real people, real situations and real outcomes.
Here are a few impact stories from around the world:
Meet Sharmila Jadhav, a Swades Hero
Swades Foundation has showcased how their community mobilization initiatives have helped people like Sharmila to be self-sufficient through ‘Swades Heroes’. Her lack of education did not deter her from becoming an entrepreneur and supporting her family. This story by Swades Foundation shows how Sharmila attended a poultry training program conducted by them to start a domestic poultry farm of her own. Along with the poultry farm, she now brings in steady income to the household through her mushroom farming and sewing business.
The Women behind Jimani Collections
Jimani Collections is an apparel brand that trains and employs women from low income backgrounds in Kenya, to create beautiful apparels and jewelry. Here’s one such story about Eunice, who is the Manager at Jimani Collections. In her account she recollects how her stint with Jimani transformed her life from starving for days to leading a humble but self-sufficient life. In their ‘Meet the Women’ Section, Jimani has narrated stories of all the women who have been impacted by them.
Eunice;One of the impactees of Jimani
The Story of Clean Energy
Through One Life One Passion, a visual storytelling project, I created an impact story featuring Krishna Reddy- A cattle farmer based in rural Andhra Pradesh. He could save money spent on expensive LPG and eliminate the need to burn firewood by the use of clean fuel, thanks to the Biogas plant installed by SustainEarth. Here’s the story.
How are Impact Stories told?
Impact stories show hope and leave behind sweetness of overcoming unfavorable situations. These stories have a protagonist like a Sharmila, Eunice or a Krishna Reddy who represent the community and its struggle. An Impact story traverses through the challenges, and trials & tribulations of its protagonist, followed by interventions for change made by the socent and concludes with a sanguine outcome. It’s steadfastly focused on the human angle and ultimately serves the socent by showing it as a force that is associated with the positive change.
Stories of Impact deliver social proof for a socent in a way that’s real, emotive and engaging. Today, people are more likely to believe what they see and perceive as genuine and on-the-ground than a message that’s promoted through advertising. It’s for socents to decide how they want to talk to their audience.