Social Impact refers to a range of internally driven but externally focussed community initiatives organisations run to improve the world on a variety of levels. It’s also known as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).
And while there are many worthwhile approaches, UpSkill Digital specialise in helping your organisation tackle wide-ranging digital inequality, which affects up to 14.9 million people in the UK today.
To thrive in the modern world, it's essential that every person, no matter their background has the skills, attitude and access to opportunities to thrive in the labour market and take advantage of digital tools.
From managing online banking and finding gainful employment to mastering social media, it’s impossible to flourish in the twenty-first century without understanding skills to harness the power of digital devices and online software that we rely on to survive and thrive.
Your organisation has the power to transform lives and change the world for the better by launching, sponsoring or driving important Social Impact initiatives to ensure no person is left behind and everybody has the digital skills they need to prosper.
With a wealth of experience producing powerful Social Impact programs for major international brands such as Google’s Digital Garage, BT Skills for Tomorrow and Lloyds Bank Academy, we’ll help your organisation scope, plan, build and deliver a digitally focussed CSR programme your employees are proud to produce, your customers want to see and communities need to happen.
Your organisation is part of a delicate ecosystem. No matter your industry, customer base, location or workforce, your business model is both driven by and shapes the lives of all it touches. By launching a powerful Social Impact initiative, you can help ensure both local and global communities see your organisation as a vehicle for positive change.
Your social impact initiative could help school leavers master technical skills to secure their first role, experienced workers reskill to keep pace with the modern age or the elderly navigate their lives more easily through the power of technology.
In most cases, customers can likely secure your product or service from a variety of other suppliers. Yours may be the better value or better built, but if your brand name is weighed down by questionable tactics or an unpopular reputation, you risk losing customers and threatening the future of your organisation.
By being the brand name ensuring society becomes a better place for all, not only will your organisation stand out in the minds of consumers, but you’ll also create both direct and indirect brand loyalty for years to come. (Harvard Business School)
Baking an authentic Corporate Social Responsibility culture into the foundation of your business gives you a powerful advantage when it comes to both attracting and retaining high-quality, skilled employees.
According to the global management consultancy powerhouse Deloitte, Millennials and Gen Zs (the future of your workforce at all levels) are increasingly driving the change they want to see in the world.
The report also found 44% of millennials and 49% of Gen Zs surveyed make decisions about the organizations they’d be willing to work for based on their personal socially aware values.
Social Impact alone is unlikely to ensure your organisation is the number one choice for every candidate. But in a candidate oriented market, the data shows offering both new and potential employees the opportunity to deliver meaningful change through powerful social impact initiatives can only boost your chances of attracting the best talent.
Step 1: Build your CSR strategy around your business’s core competencies
There are numerous worthy causes your business can choose to support and equally as many ways to deliver effective CSR. But if you want to make the biggest impact with minimum disruption to your day-to-day operations, choose an initiative or community group closely aligned to your core competencies.
Not only is supporting a cause tied to your expertise easier to scope, plan, build and deliver, but it also dramatically improves perceptions of authenticity in the minds of your customers, employees and communities alike.
Reducing the digital skills of your customers, boosting digital understanding in your local community, or driving initiatives to tackle digital inequality across your supply chain or wider industry, allows you to cement your brand name among those you want to impress and reduces the resources required to get started.
Step 2: Look to the world for inspiration.
Before launching your Social Impact initiative, first look to the world to see where it needs the most help.
For example, depending on a host of external factors, you may find instead of your initial idea to help school leavers learn to code on a national level, you may have a more significant impact on society addressing subsidised internet access in your local community.
Likewise, you may be able to partner with or improve on existing Digital Inclusion programmes already running to maximise results for everybody. By researching the needs of and speaking with your employees, industry peers and local communities, you’ll be better positioned to serve society where it needs the most help with Digital Inclusion.
Step 3: Plan well
After researching where your efforts will make the most impact in line with your core competencies, objectives and budget constraints, it’s time to plan the build and deliver your CSR project.
Get this wrong, and you can drive up costs, dilute impact and damage your brand reputation. But get it right and not only will you improve the lives of others while forging long-lasting community relationships, but you’ll also boost your brand image in the process.
As experienced Social Impact experts, we already know (and have solved) the various pitfalls and roadblocks you’re going to encounter. We can help you plan project teams, allocate resources, earmark budgets, design delivery schedules and measure impact every step of the way to ensure smooth delivery and minimum operational disruption.
Step 4: Measure the ROI
To avoid mid-project misalignments, and to learn from experience, the ongoing measurement of the delivery and efficacy of your digitally focussed Social Impact initiative is critical. But with multiple stakeholders and numerous moving parts, deciding where to start can trip you up before even deciding what to measure.
We’ll help you develop an organized reporting framework to both check and measure your CSR program before, during and after execution. From understanding initiatives that drive cost savings to increasing brand awareness through engaging public relations, we will help ensure your corporate social responsibility gets results.
Step 5: Scaling your social impact program
With a successful digitally-focused Social Impact initiative under your belt, you can now begin planning how to scale the operation at a local, national or global level.
But before starting, you need to remember scaling a Social Impact initiative isn't as simple as multiplying resources, budgets or delivery frameworks to accommodate more volume across the board. As your program grows and more external forces come into play, you’ll face a host of new and even more complex roadblocks and challenges depending on your CSR aspirations.
So before you begin the scaling operation, make certain you’ve spoken with an experienced Social Impact professional to ensure you’re aware of the potential pitfalls before it’s too late.
"Upskill Digital provided Google with a professional service right from the start. They took time to fully understand the brief and requirements, and made sure that they tailored the content to suit our needs. As a client we were regularly kept informed via email and video calls. The session was planned and executed very well, and well will be using Upskill Digital again in the future."
Like most attitudes in the workplace, how your organisation views diversity and inclusion can often be a top-down approach, with senior leaders setting the tone for the rest. A great way to start thinking about diversity and inclusion is to analyse how effective your management teams are at recognising and understanding operational bias, privilege and discrimination.
With business projects often vying for funding from the same pot, it can be difficult to secure the finance for the type of Social Impact initiative you want to launch. But how do you put a price on ensuring communities thrive by boosted digital skills and the confidence to thrive in a technology-driven world?
Our Social Impact team will help you scope and plan budget-friendly, digitally focussed CSR initiatives with the power to change lives by demystifying the numbers your business needs to understand.
Lack of Strategic buy-in
While you may have the resources to reduce growing digital inequality, getting buy-in from senior stakeholders can be difficult - especially if they don’t recognise or understand the value behind the action.
Persuading reluctant stakeholders to put their weight behind reducing the digital skills gap through a powerful, engaging social impact initiative is just one of our specialties.
Through a mixture of framing and research advice, we can help you build a powerful business case to persuade even the most reluctant of colleagues to back your idea without causing internal friction or diluting the impact of your ideas.
Lack of internal expertise
You likely already have internal talent capable of delivering large-scale, complex projects with noteworthy results.
But while generic skills and experience are great for most programs, scoping, planning, delivering and measuring effective Social Impact initiatives capable of changing lives isn't easy.
Before you commence a CSR program, take advantage of our extensive knowledge gleaned from the hundreds of successful Social Impact programs we’ve already launched for organisations just like you.
"From their custom trainings and close attention to detail to their professionalism at all points of collaboration, it has been a dream to partner with Upskill Digital. Not only are they experts in diversity, inclusion, and equity, but they are exceptional in facilitation and learning. Your team is in safe hands with Upskill Digital."
Founded in 2015, UpSkill Digital is committed to helping businesses plan, build and deliver effective, manageable Social Impact activities. We will empower both your businesses and communities to tackle growing digital inequality through a global network of highly experienced coaches and training experts.
Be the change you want to see in the world and boost your brand credentials with an impactful CSR initiative with the genuine power to ensure every person has the skills and confidence to thrive in the digital world.