This NYC Startup is the Plug in Play Solution for Corporate Social

first_imgThis NYC Startup is the Plug in Play Solution for Corporate Social ResponsibilityJanuary 10, 2019 by AlleyWatch 409SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Interviews, Launching in the Alley, Startups, Wellness Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important not only for a public branding perspective for customers but also for recruitment efforts. Aligned4Good, through its platform, helps startups build flexible CSR programs that rival those of large corporations. Early and mid-stage companies are able to build holistic, social outreach strategies that allows them to launch their own impact initiatives. This platform also collects valuable data on the components that make a successful CSR program, planning to use machine learning to make it easy for any company to understand the most profitable social impact strategies for their business with a data driven approach.AlleyWatch spoke with Rachel Goor about cofounding a company that is giving startups the tools and platform to create the perfect CSR program.Tell us about the product or service that Aligned4Good offers.Aligned4Good delivers turnkey social responsibility solutions to help companies convert customers, attract investment, and recruit + retain top talent. More than 40% of consumers’ perception of a company is based on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, but few early and mid-stage companies capitalize on this fact. Aligned4Good offers a suite of targeted CSR solutions that enables companies to leverage social impact initiatives to drive business outcomes. Our unique lifecycle approach addresses the full spectrum of needs from a founder’s perspective, ensuring entrepreneurs can stay focused on building their business while we build them a game-changing CSR program.How is Aligned4Good different?As cliché as the word has become, corporate social responsibility truly is an arena that is ripe for disruption. Large corporations have been leveraging social impact efforts to enter new markets, test new products, upskill their employees, and otherwise get ahead for years; it’s time those strategies were reimagined for startups. While businesses of any size and stage can always launch impact initiatives of their own accord, Aligned4Good is offering something new in terms of assisting early and mid-stage companies to plan out a holistic strategy that will directly benefit them, then managing the logistics, effectively pioneering plug-and-play CSR.What market does Aligned4Good target and how big is it?Aligned4Good is launching with a focus on startups in NYC, a $71B ecosystem with more than 7K companies. Research has demonstrated that effective corporate social responsibility programs can increase revenue by as much as 20%. With thousands of startups and billions of dollars in play, there’s an immense opportunity for value creation just in New York alone. Aligned4Good’s services will also produce externalities from happier, more productive employees, as well as from uplifting underserved populations whose increased purchasing power and reduced use of municipal services will positively impact the local economy. Obviously, we’re a bit biased, but we feel it’s essentially a no-lose situation for everyone involved.What is the business model?Aligned4Good charges by the deliverable. As consumers and employees increasingly demand more accountability from the companies they give their time and money to, it can be difficult to know which citizenship strategies will actually have bottom-line benefits. We work with each individual client to understand their business needs and goals, and design, implement, and manage a custom social responsibility program for them. Based on the amount of time and effort each component requires, we calculate the price to complete the project.Ultimately, however, we are collecting a great deal of data and aim to use machine learning to usher in a new era of tech-enabled corporate social responsibility that will make it easy for any company to understand the most profitable social impact strategies for their unique business. It will also make it possible for Aligned4Good to scale widely and create mutually beneficial public-private ecosystems in innovation hubs around the world.Ultimately, however, we are collecting a great deal of data and aim to use machine learning to usher in a new era of tech-enabled corporate social responsibility that will make it easy for any company to understand the most profitable social impact strategies for their unique business. It will also make it possible for Aligned4Good to scale widely and create mutually beneficial public-private ecosystems in innovation hubs around the world.What inspired the start of Aligned4Good?Aligned4Good is the result of years of feedback from founders and employees wanting to do more meaningful work through their companies, paired with the shift in consumer sentiment towards rewarding socially responsible brands. I was building a civic tech company I cofounded before leaving to launch Aligned4Good, and during that time I had literally hundreds of conversations with fellow entrepreneurs and startup team members in which my discussion partner said something to the effect of, “I really love what I’m doing, but I feel like I could be doing more to help the world.”As a founder though, I know how precious time is and how difficult it can be to prioritize any new initiatives, especially ones that don’t necessarily scream ‘mission critical’. Accordingly, I wanted to make it really easy for companies to expand their social impact work. It’s ultimately in their best interests to do so; 85% of consumers would switch brands to one associated with a cause and a company that is seen as not responsible stands to lose as much as 39% of its potential customer base. CSR programs give companies a competitive edge, so it really is becoming a ‘need to have’ and not just a ‘nice to have’. Aligned4Good is the answer to this paradigm shift.What data do you have to show that social responsibility programs serve as an effective recruiting strategy?The data is a bit overwhelming on this topic, so I’ll try to pare it down to just the top few sound bytes. Studies show that 79% of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company, and 62% of people are willing to take a pay cut to do so. More than half of employees overall and 64% of Millennials surveyed state that: they won’t work for a company that doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility program.More than 80% of employees express interest in being involved in volunteer and giving programs through their company and, in a crushing blow to the quintessential startup employee engagement tactic, 70% of employees believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours.More than 80% of employees express interest in being involved in volunteer and giving programs through their company and, in a crushing blow to the quintessential startup employee engagement tactic, 70% of employees believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours.Anecdotally, I’ve also spoken with numerous recruiters and Heads of Talent/People Ops who say that candidates often ask them during the interview process about what the company does to give back. Well-designed corporate social responsibility programs have even been shown to reduce employee turnover by as much as 50%. One of the reasons people join startups is to be part of building something bigger than themselves. Company-sponsored social impact programs help deliver on that promise.What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?Within six months we aim to be working with 10-12 clients, as well as to begin building the foundations of our technology for scale. These first companies will get a white glove, concierge service as our first users, and will be the first to get a leg up on their competitors through this new take on corporate social responsibility. Additionally, they’ll be helping expand opportunities for the tech community to give back more broadly, so they get bonus bragging rights on that front.What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?Ask for things. I have a tendency to always want to figure things out on my own and just keep hammering away, but if you have that mentality as an entrepreneur, you’ll miss out on a ton of opportunities and it will ultimately slow your progress. I’ve seen people ask for really audacious things and get them, simply because they put themselves out there. I’m working on getting better at this myself, but in most cases the worst thing that can happen if you ask for too much is nothing.If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?Of course, I’d love to speak with anyone interested in potentially getting involved with Aligned4Good, but I guess if I had to narrow it down, I really respect the work that both Joanne Wilson and Fred Wilson do. They’re obviously both extremely accomplished professionally, but they’re also involved with a number of great philanthropic and civic initiatives, so it would be interesting to get each of their takes on the future of corporate social responsibility.Why did you launch in New York?There’s a community among New Yorkers. When a fellow New Yorker is in need, people step up. I haven’t seen that in other cities I’ve lived in, so between that and the thriving tech industry here, there was no better place to launch.What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?I’m going to have to stay on message here and say P.S. Kitchen. They donate 100% of their profits to charity, employ folks in transitional housing in partnership with local nonprofits, and serve an eco-friendly, plant-based menu; it’s tough to argue with that much good work, plus the food is delicious!PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POSTlast_img

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