Our Impact

Social impact strategies and programs aren’t just “feel good” programs.

They deliver real value and results within your company and throughout your system of stakeholders.

Facts About Impact:

Your Customers Want Social Impact

86% of consumers believe businesses should place the same weight on society’s interests as they do their own business interests.

And 81% percent believe that “purpose” is also a business opportunity.

Purpose is one of 5 key areas that make a company trustworthy and credible.

Businesses with a strong sense of purpose are 69% more likely to perform well financially, are 57% more likely to have a high level of employee satisfaction, and are 63% more likely to gain new employees.

Millennials Love Businesses With Social Impact

92% of Millennials and 71% of business leaders reject profit as the sole measure of success.

50% of Millennials believe that the purpose of business is primarily innovation and societal development.

3 in 4 Millennials want to work for a company that supports a social cause and think more highly of a company that supports a social cause

Millennials love brands that support their local communities and would rather purchase from them than competitors.

Case Studies:

Austin Community Foundation (City of Austin)

Digital Union serves as the premier Social innovation and Entrepreneurial Evangelist for The City of Austin, working extensively to help social innovation emerge as a powerful force to shape the future of Austin. The city has been called "The New Silicon Valley" because of the plethora of tech companies that have chosen Austin as their home; Austin is uniquely positioned to lead the emerging global dialogue on social innovation, ecosystem activation, and fostering social enterprise and related economies.

In 2015, a group of thought leaders in Austin formed a “social innovation council” (SI Council) with the Mayor serving as the inaugural chairman. The SI Council was eager to leverage the Mayor’s vision, leadership and public office to accelerate the role and impact of social innovation in the city:

  • Vision: Austin is a leader among cities, generating some of the world’s most innovative solutions to its pressing economic, social and environmental issues.
  • Mission: To attract the resources necessary – talent, technology and capital – to accelerate an ecosystem where innovative solutions come to life.

Digital Union provided a lead consulting role in the Austin Social Innovation Landscape Strategy Project to create a 3-year program strategy to serve as a roadmap that would guide the journey for the SI Council.

The project deliverables were the following:

  • Map out the landscape of social innovation in Austin, demonstrating where funding and entrepreneurial activity are focused in terms of both legal structure and impact objective
  • Identify Austin’s leading social enterprises, innovative nonprofits, partnerships, and companies
  • Provide the information necessary about those projects for Austin’s philanthropic community and local government to drive greater resources to Austin’s most promising social innovators
  • Work with the SI Council to develop a set of goals for the 3-year project
  • Undertake research to identify potential areas of opportunity for both major (“big”) and minor (“small”) social innovation initiatives and to identify potential major and minor initiatives.
  • Conduct key stakeholder interviews to gather feedback, assess levels of support and narrow down to a set of priority initiatives.
  • Verify the feasibility of top initiatives (funding, potential operational leadership, potential community support, potential impact, etc.)
  • Finalize a set of recommendations for both big Initiatives and small Initiatives, including a summary report for each chosen initiative.

Digital Union will continue to work with The City of Austin as the SI Council begins implementation of their roadmap in years to come.

Seven Hills (public relations firm) London

Seven Hills catalyzes momentum, forges followings and affects change through carefully crafted and compelling campaigns that bring ideas to life through stories for clients such as such as Evernote, London Stock Exchange Group and the International Festival for Business. The UK firm was named "Best Corporate & Public Affairs Consultancy in the World” by The Holmes Report.

Seven Hills enlisted Digital Union to maximize opportunities from the July 2015 launch of the book "Mission: How the Best in Business Break Through" by Michael Hayman and Nick Giles, the firm's co-founders. The book lays out the new rules of business: "purpose as the route to profit; mind share to gain market share."

Guided by similar values, Digital Union was uniquely suited to help Seven Hills develop internal alignment and an authentic story/program to exemplify the Seven Hills social impact brand.

Digital Union spent a full day with the Seven Hills team to integrate the exciting facets of the firm, promote the spirit of consciousness from the leadership, listen to employee feedback/ideas and build a high-level social Impact strategy Seven Hills can support. During "Mission Day," Digital Union introduced the idea of the "Responsibility Revolution" and helped the company identify its guiding principles, purpose and values. Additionally, Digital Union helped Seven Hills explore how to integrate stakeholders into its social impact programs and how to interpret social impact for clients. At the end of the day, employees gathered with their respective teams to draw up action plans on how to contribute.

The result for Seven Hills was a powerful document with the core concept of "Brilliant Ideas, Remarkable Impact." The document articulates Seven Hills' vision, values and key characteristics; captures the firm's story; and lays out its path for the future. It also establishes The Mission Movement as the firm's social impact strategy: "We will use our skills to do what we do best - to convene and communicate brilliantly, providing a voice to amplify solutions to some of today’s defining social and economic challenges. We will bring together likeminded entrepreneurs, investors and leaders to agree to shared goals around the role of business in addressing social problems." All proceeds from the book will support The Mission Movement.

Digital Union will continue working with Seven Hills to create an integrated service offering with Seven Hills for implementing social impact strategies and programs for companies that want to emulate those written about in "Mission."

Seven Hills founders Hayman and Giles praised Digital Union's impact on the the launch of "Mission": "Digital Union’s Maggie and Hector have inspired us and all the team at Seven Hills. They are helping us think about what we stand for and how our business should and can be a force for good. Thank you for your enthusiasm, energy and commitment to get this nailed. You are brilliant."

 

Verdtek (technology solutions company) International headquarters in Austin, Texas

Verdtek is a technology service consulting company specializing in cloud, storage and security solutions. With consultants in the U.S., Latin America, Asia and Europe, Verdtek offers an innovative IT service model for Fortune 500 corporations, private businesses and nearly every tier of government.

At a crucial time in their growth trajectory, Verdtek approached Digital Union to create a social Impact strategy to wed their profit with purpose.

Digital Union worked alongside Verdtek stakeholders to develop, brand and implement the GenerationTek Social Impact Program, an initiative powered by Verdtek to address the digital divide in communities that lack access to technology while implementing affordable cloud solutions for small businesses to thrive.

The GenerationTek program provides IT training and hands-on work opportunities for students who are passionate about technology. Digital Union developed education and nonprofit partnerships that linked some of the best consultants in the field to students seeking on-the-job training to launch IT career paths. Digital Union and partners also refreshed Verdtek’s marketing, branding, communications and website.

Oransi (air-cleaning products) International headquarters in Austin, Texas

Oransi improves the lives of their customers by providing high-quality air-cleaning products (air purifiers, face masks, ventilation systems, etc.). Based in Austin and China, Oransi serves customers domestically and internationally.

One of the company's core values is that making a profit and living with purpose go hand in hand. That led Oransi to engage Digital Union to develop the company's social good program, AirLift.

Domestically, Oransi addresses the quality of care for childhood asthma and improves the lives of youth through participation in comprehensive, multi-institutional and multi-faceted approaches.

The AirLift program makes a difference through a systematic approach to address childhood asthma aggravated by poverty conditions. This approach includes partnerships that address education, advocacy, outreach and intervention.

Internationally, AirLift is developing a program to provide education and intervention to serve rural villages in China where children are subject to critical levels of air contamination.

Buildasign.com (custom printing provider) International headquarters in Austin, Texas

BuildASign.com is a leading online custom-printing provider founded in 2005 in Austin, Texas, with over 320 employees, $90 million in revenue in 2014 and operations in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Germany.

In 2013, BuildASign launched Philanthropitch, a collaboration opportunity for community stakeholders to engage promising community nonprofit organizations in a fast-pitch forum to compete for capital, mentorship, resources and exposure opportunities.

Philanthropitch has been wildly successful in Austin, raising over $250,000 in stakeholder donations to support the social sector, providing mentoring and support for nonprofits and activating hundreds of community members through public education. With a successful local model that ignites stakeholders in the community to participate in innovative giving and that multiplies their philanthropic and community impact, Philanthropitch was primed for expansion.

BuildASign.com enlisted Digital Union to guide the Philanthropitch team in order to advance the national/international expansion the program for launch in 2015. Philanthropitch focuses on supporting the nonprofit community in a city, allowing business leaders to leverage their resources to create impact, and advancing philanthropy by fostering relationships between philanthropists, entrepreneurs, business and community leaders and nonprofit work.

In 2015, Philanthropitch is expanding its reach through a partnership with Social Venture Partners International to hold 11 pitch contests throughout the U.S. and Canada. The 11 champions will advance to a national pitch contest in Austin in September 2015.

Far West Capital (financing provider) Locations throughout Texas

Far West Capital works throughout Texas to provide financing for high-growth entrepreneurs who are frustrated and concerned by their current bank and equity alternatives.

Through purchasing or lending on accounts receivable, inventory or purchase orders, clients receive custom finance and business solutions that specifically meet the personal and professional goals of the entrepreneur.

Far West Capital is no ordinary company. They differentiate themselves with core company values that serve as a beacon for how they practice their customer-centric services. At their essence, Far West Capital serves the community by helping entrepreneurs unleash their potential.

The leadership at Far West engaged Digital Union to activate the company stakeholder system and ensure company consensus for the development of the Far Reaching social impact strategy that emphasized unleashing as many entrepreneurs on the path to prosperity as possible.

Integrating core values of team, transparency, passion, execution and excellence, the first initiative focused on a companywide effort to promote the Grameen America microcredit finance program dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families through microloans and training.

In 2015, Digital Union worked with Far West Capital to launch a Referral Initiative to recognize the power of collaboration from referrals; successful referrals are rewarded by direct $1,500 contributions to social sector causes that the referral is passionate about supporting.

Digital Union is involved in the ongoing effort to develop subsequent social impact program initiatives for Far West that galvanize entrepreneurial networks and support systems.

Atchley & Associates Full-service certified public accounting firm in Austin, Texas

As a long-standing Austin institution, Atchley & Associates approached Digital Union to develop a social impact platform that would electrify the internal culture of the company and stimulate meaningful and directed community impact.

Creating a culture of purpose for a company requires both intent and execution. Initially, the Social Impact Discover session with the Atchley & Associates Leadership team and Digital Union served to bridge Atchley’s core competencies with a potential platform for purpose. The Discover session produced a Social Impact Roadmap – including Core Ideology discussion and a working Core Purpose Statement, Core Competencies, Stakeholder Map, and initial Platform for Purpose initiative ideas generated in the session.

The next significant step converged the full Atchley team in the Spark session. During this session, team members further brainstormed on how to use Atchley’s core competencies to help transform and impact people, organizations, and communities. The discussion focused on potential initiative areas that could catalyze the marketplace, community, workplace, and Austin. Team members also considered what potential partner opportunities existed for igniting the potential social impact initiatives. Finally, the team brainstormed prospective names that could encompass the Atchley Social Impact Brand and agreed on their favorite, AccountAbility.

In the final step of the Social Impact Strategy process, Digital Union focused on the Activate offering by inviting key company stakeholders into the social impact planning process for Atchley. With the assistance of Atchley leadership, Digital Union reached out to approximately 20 stakeholders to get insights on how to refine, expand and build on the social impact plan created with team’s potential ideas. Ten stakeholders responded and phone-based interviews were conducted; the pages that follow represent a compilation of the feedback from these enthusiastic participants and subsequent recommendations from Digital Union.

Integrating social impact into practice not only carries the byproduct of making Atchley & Associates standout for all the right reasons, but also demonstrates for other companies in the industry how to walk the talk of business conscience. As leaders, Atchley & Associates can model what positive power a company has when it combines profit and purpose and serves between living and giving, consumption and contribution, and leverages the might of the private sector to build conscious communities.

Baylor University Women's Soccer (sports industry) Waco, Texas

The Baylor women’s soccer team is one of the university’s top-achieving sports, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2012. Baylor also had the Big 12 Conference's top Graduation Success Rate for female student-athletes and for student-athletes overall.

The coaching staff approached Digital Union to help build an impact strategy to cultivate donor relationships and increase giving from companies, alumni players and parents.

Digital Union worked with the Baylor operations staff to create an impact strategy called “I am Legacy.” The project included creation of a master plan timeline, a marketing development, communications and outreach strategy and a blueprint for an annual alumni giving event. The strategy resulted in over $2 million to support the construction of a new soccer building.

 

Our Clients:

Some of the companies who have fused purpose and profit with our help.

If corporations were to analyze their prospects for social responsibility using the same frameworks that guide their core business choices, they would discover that social responsibility can be much more than a cost, a constraint, or a charitable deed—it can be a source of opportunity, innovation, and competitive advantage.~Harvard professors Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, writing in Harvard Business Review