So, your business wants to do good - that’s great!
While I hear the case for trying to stay lean and frugal as a startup, I worry that brands who cheap out on their social impact do not get it right. And while they might be driving impact, if the social impact partnership is not mutually beneficial, the program might not last too long.
It’s important to think of social impact in business as a cycle: impact —> returns —> impact.
And that cycle starts with developing an authentic social impact program. We oftentimes see young brands bootstrap their nonprofit partnerships, social impact strategy, and storytelling, usually diminishing their ROI of social impact as a business.
Beyond the business case, the actual impact of their initiative might not reach its full potential if the time, effort, and internal buy-in is not there.
To bootstrap authentic impact, startups need to put in the time to develop a program that fits their brand and social impact objectives and aligns with key stakeholders.
We know this can be hard, so we compiled a list of social impact consulting agencies who focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR), cause marketing, purpose-led advertising, volunteer program design, communications and more.
- The List of Purpose Consulting Agencies
- Carol Cone ON PURPOSE
- Raised By Us
- Fifty & Fifty
- Conspiracy of Love
- Matter Unlimited
- Add to this list
The List of Purpose Consulting Agencies
Carol Cone ON PURPOSE
- About: Founded by purpose pioneer Carol Cone, Carol Cone ON PURPOSE (CCOP) worked with established corporations and nonprofit organization to help them elevate and activate their purpose. CCOP founded a collective called the Purpose Collaborative that allows them offer a wide range of services to their clients.
- In their own words: Today’s organizations must stand for something beyond profits. They need a mission that animates their every move, a purpose that inspires the full spectrum of stakeholders (employees, customers, communities, and suppliers) to engage deeply with the organization, advocate for it, buy from it, and when needed, even defend it. Brands and non-profits alike must build purpose into the core of their business strategy, not bolt it on as a marketing tactic. Our transparent world requires it.
- Select Clients: Aflac, PNC, Microsoft, UNICEF, KIND
- Learn more about Carol Cone ON PURPOSE.
For more than 30 years, Carol Cone’s name has been synonymous with cause marketing, CSR, and purpose programs. Now, tapping into that experience and a dynamic network that encompasses the world’s leading purpose experts, she has created a new consultancy: Carol Cone ON PURPOSE. Our mission is to inspire, create, curate, disrupt, and ultimately develop a world of good.
We build custom solutions for organizations/brands in strategy, innovation, research, social engagement, partnerships, sustainability, marketing, and measurement. We deliver it all through our handpicked expert network called The Purpose Collaborative, which includes top boutiques, agencies, creative consultants, millennial gurus, and technologists who bring compelling and thought-provoking purpose solutions to every challenge. Key to CCOP is our Idea Accelerator, curated breakthrough ideas to amplify a client's social commitment. This unique structure enables us to be collaborative yet agile, tech-savvy yet substantive, innovative, deeply experienced and efficient. Attitudes have changed, technology has changed, the economy has changed, the climate has changed; we can no longer afford to be philanthropists and cause marketers only when it’s convenient. Now is the time for us to act… on purpose.
- About: School began as a creative agency based in Boulder, Colorado, until it was shifted to a strategic consultancy a few years in. More on the edgy advertising side of things, School helps brands develop corporate social responsibility programs and communicate them in disruptive, fun ways. The agency was founded by Max Lenderman – a true pioneer in advertising and purpose-driven consulting industries – and owned by holding company Project Worldwide.
- In their words: “School is a strategy and creative consultancy focused on purpose marketing and branding. We’re based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Chicago, San Francisco and New York City. Since 2013, we have worked with major brands, nonprofits and startups to help unlock purpose in business and culture alike. We believe purpose-led marketing not only makes a difference in our communities and world, but for our clients’ bottom line. As we like to say, purpose is profit, and profit is purpose (we actually say that a lot)… Our model is modern, agile and tested to guide our global clients into cultural relevancy and growth. We develop purpose strategy, CSR platforms, brand integration, storytelling content and real-world action on behalf of our partners. When needed, we provide frictionless production capabilities through our agency network to activate purpose in our clients’ marketing and advertising work.”
- Select Clients: Hershey’s, Wilson, Verizon, Beam Suntory
- Learn more about School.
- About: Supur is a social impact consultancy focused on helping startups and small businesses make money doing good. We help startups launch social impact programs, establish nonprofit partnerships, and communicate impact. We work with partner agencies and independent strategists to help drive real business value that help small businesses see ROI on their do-good efforts. Through our collective, we offer services in social media, public relations, brand strategy, and project management. Supur has also launched a one-stop shop for social impact brands called Supurmarket to highlight top mission-driven direct-to-consumer brands.
- Learn more about our social impact consulting services.
Raised By Us
- In their words: RaisedBy.Us is a nonprofit workplace social good program. We inspire employees to give back to causes they love. Our partner companies include Casper, MongoDB, Squarespace, Shutterstock, Foursquare, Bonobos, and many others. We've directed over $6 million to thousands of different causes.
- Learn more about RaisedBy.Us
Fifty & Fifty
- About: Fifty & Fifty is a creative agency that combines digital craftsmanship and social impact. Their work focuses on taking a brand's social story and moving it through all phases of the engagement funnel, with expertise in strategy, design, and digital. They partner with organizations that exist for a bigger purpose than profit alone, and have worked with clients promoting education, sustainable peace, political action, youth engagement, fundraising, and creative arts.
- In their words: Fifty & Fifty is a creative agency that marries digital craftsmanship and social impact. Our work focuses on taking a brand's social story and moving it through all phases of the engagement funnel, with expertise in strategy, design and development of digital experiences, and marketing campaigns.Our innovative branding, digital, and marketing solutions empower those who champion the collective good. We marry their brand with stories of social impact in order to gain traction in tomorrow's consumer market.We partner with nonprofits, foundations, social brands and corporations that exist for a bigger purpose than profit alone—the ones with a good cause at the core of their DNA, who share our vision for a better world. To date we’ve partnered with clients promoting education, sustainable peace, political action, youth engagement, fundraising, and creative arts, and we’re just getting started.
- Select Clients: Kindness.org, Qualcomm, LifeStraw, UNDP
- Learn more about Fifty & Fifty.
- In their words: enso is a creative impact agency. We use strategic, creative and community building skills to make the planet and people’s lives better, now and in the future. We work to build creative ideas that disrupt the status quo, and have the power to scale through shared missions, where brands, organizations and people work together around collective objectives. In the 20th century, a belief emerged that positive impact was at odds with business success. We seek to comprehensively dismantle that belief, and in its place, demonstrate that the great organizations of the 21st century will inspire and work with people towards shared success.
- Select clients: Lyft, Google, Uber, Indeed
- Learn more about Enso.
Conspiracy of Love
- About: Founded by Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones in 2017, Conspiracy of Love helps brands, nonprofits, and startups harness their purpose to help businesses grow and make the world a better place. Aziz and Jones co-authored Good Is The New Cool to highlight the benefits of doing good as a brand.
- In their words: We are the world's most inspiring purpose consultancy. We help leaders at Fortune 500 brands, innovative non-profits and world-changing start-ups to use purpose and love to motivate your employees, delight your customers and make the world better. Since inception in 2017, Conspiracy of Love has been privileged to work with iconic brands in many categories: trillion-dollar tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook, cutting-edge lifestyle brands like adidas, Red Bull, The North Face and Sonos, spirits brands like Bombay Sapphire Gin and Crown Royal, and universally loved food brands like Oreo and Skittles. We have also advised leading companies such as AB-Inbev, Miller Coors, Coty, Nestle Waters, and many others. We are a pending B Corp, and aspire to join the community of companies like Patagonia, Ben and Jerry's, Seventh Generation and more who believe in business as a force for good.
- Select clients: Adidas, Oreo, Microsoft, Facebook
- Learn more about Conspiracy of Love.
- About: HelpGood is a full-service social impact agency with a digital first approach. Focused on cause marketing, the agency helps brands, nonprofits, and corporations inspire action and drive impact. They help their clients fundraise, generate reach, build awareness, and drive engagement. Specifically, they offer services in strategy, creative, web development, marketing & communications, paid & donated media, and analytics & reporting. They are also a member of Carol Cone ON PURPOSE’s Purpose Collaborative.
- In their words: HelpGood is a purpose-driven marketing and communications agency focused on social good. We amplify and advance the missions of nonprofits, government agencies and socially responsible companies. We help you reach, engage and activate diverse communities around your mission. Our offices are in NYC and Los Angeles. HelpGood’s clients include the Ad Council, Partnership to End Addiction, Animal League, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Love Has No Labels, Keep America Beautiful, United Way, the USDA, EPA, USAID, and Starlight Children’s Foundation among others. The work we've been involved with has won Cannes Lions, Webbys, Tellys, and Shorty Awards and in 2020 we were named Campaign US' Purpose Pioneer Agency. We are a certified LGBTBE and DOBE with a B Corp Certification Pending. We are also certified in California as a SB(Micro) and in Los Angeles as a Social Enterprise.
- Select clients: JED Foundation, Ad Council, New York Public Library
- Learn more about HelpGood.
- About: Matter Unlimited is a creative consultancy that helps build and grow mission-driven organizations. They focus on helping social impact companies create and communicate their impact through partnerships, storytelling & communications, and digital media.
- In their words: “Matter Unlimited is a strategic and creative agency exclusively focused on social impact. We are creative catalysts, change agents, and thought leaders who challenge our clients to reorient their business and communications towards good, turning social responsibility into profitable, sustainable, long-term competitive advantage.”
- Select clients: Merck, Obama Foundation, Nike
- Learn more about Matter Unlimited.
- About: A certified B Corp, DrawHistory is a strategy and design consultancy designing new futures for people who need tomorrow to be better than today. They work closely with organizations in six main areas — research, brand, campaigns, web, experience, and content — to change norms, break stalemates, and help move purpose forward.
- In their own words: DrawHistory helps audacious, mission-driven people solve wicked societal problems. We are a strategy and design consultancy for people who are frustrated with the crises and injustices that surround them, and fiercely determined to fix them. We’re here to add a layer of fearless insight and action to help social change organisations accelerate their progress. To make change happen. Faster.
- Select clients: Google Australia, United Nations, Change.org Foundation, Population Services International
- Learn more about DrawHistory.
We have worked with over 150 organizations on projects and campaigns to combat violent extremism, crowdfund for asylum seekers, advocate for people with disabilities, engage with healthcare donors, build disaster-resilient homes, and more. Our clients include the United Nations, Change.org Foundation, St John of God Foundation, The Collective Foundation, Population Services International, Kin, and Google Australia's YouTube Creators for Change.
- Cosmic is a Social Impact Creative Agency. They empower social impact organizations to catalyze real-world change by helping them nail their impact story, build brand awareness, and inspire action. Founded in Santa Cruz, CA in 2011 by Creative Director, Eric Ressler, Cosmic cut their teeth as an agency working with B2B and B2C brands in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. in 2016, they shifted their focus exclusively to Social Impact, developing deep expertise in nonprofits, social enterprises, foundations, and philanthropists, looking at society's most difficult and intractable problems through the lens of design and communications. You can read more about their perspectives by visiting their manifesto titled "The Revolution is Digital: A Manifesto for Today's Social Impact Leader."
- Learn more about Cosmic.
- About: Cause+Affect is a strategic brand consultancy that helps businesses, social organizations and public institutions improve internal alignment and external engagement. In short, they help those changing our world for the better, do better. Located in Vancouver, Canada, Cause+Affect has made their city a project in itself with almost 100% of their work focused in their own backyard.
- In their own words: Cause+Affect was founded with the intention of creating a catalyst to shape the future. We help established companies do better and new impact organizations succeed. Most of all, we share our deeply held values, beliefs and expectations with our clients, improving the world we live in, together. For close to 20 years, Cause+Affect has fulfilled its intention and more. Our diverse portfolio of projects and clients has positioned us as leading experts in branding, communications and events and built our reputation for top-tier strategic thinking, social and environmental consciousness and a culturally focused mandate to create a better city.
- Select Clients: Vancouver Foundation, Modo, Fairware, Tides Canada, VIFF.
- Learn more about Cause+Affect
Add to this list
This list is consistently evolving. If you’d like your consultancy featured, please reach out to me here, and I’ll review your request.