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U-M Ross Business + Impact
U-M Ross Business + Impact
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What Is Social Impact

What Is Social Impact?

Definition of Social Impact

A significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge.

Creating social impact is the result of a deliberate set of activities with a goal matching this definition.

Unpacking the Definition – pressing social challenge

Healthy debate about what is pressing today is welcome and necessary as societal conditions invariably shift. Local contexts might differ from each other, perhaps mirroring global needs or occasionally running counter to them. But a level of consensus is required, often based on ensuring a foundation of human dignity, which is most pressing for underserved populations and those lacking essential resources or services.

Unpacking the Definition – significant, positive change

The change social impact professionals seek must improve the conditions around the current situation. So the effect of social impact must be a positive change to the challenge.

The use of significant is compelling because for us to retain a potent and persuasive term, we must demand that social impact stands for a significant shift.

We choose to focus on social impact so that we deliberately emphasize the multiple routes towards a desired outcome.

Definition developed by Cat Johnson, Assistant Director 2014 in collaboration with Rishi Moudgil, Founder/Director of Center for Social Impact 2014; additional content adapted from Rishi Moudgil.