Interviews with purpose-driven leaders who are dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact in the world.
June 15, 2021
Stacey Burns | National Institute for Social Impact
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am Stacey Burns and I am the co-founder and chief impact officer for the National Institute for Social Impact. Our mission is to create more awareness, a common language, and a framework for community building around social impact businesses. To make our mission possible, we offer services such as Certification in Social Impact Strategies, Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluation, and consultation from our combined 40 years working in the social impact sector.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I was going to school to become a therapist, so I started working at a behavioral health organization helping people get jobs. This led to starting multiple social enterprises in education, career development, wellness, and others where I found my love for the business world. Since then, I have found my purpose in helping others find theirs through social entrepreneurship and social return on investment.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I LOVE seeing people light up when they speak about their passion projects. But too many times, society has told us to give up on those or that the world doesn’t work that way – that you have to choose to do good, or to make money so that you and your family can be comfortable. Given that there is a multitude of inequities around the globe, I believe wholeheartedly that the social impact sector – that is still so young and still being created in so many ways – can offer everyone a seat at the table who wants to be there. We can learn from the opportunities and challenges of the sectors that have come before this, existing for hundreds of years. Especially given the pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to rewrite some of the “rules” of business, education, and social interaction for the better.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
I have two reasons I go to work. One is to see a social entrepreneur’s dream come alive both on paper and in reality and to help them walk through that process. The other is to help organizations that have lacked depth in previous evaluations tell their story more fully and in dollars and cents so that everyone can understand their social return on investment.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
Luckily, my co-founder Jonathan Liebert is one of these people. We have a vision for how we can make our community better and stronger by helping others who seek to do the same. I am also inspired by my father, who was a small business owner for decades but was equally engaged in his community and doing good.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
I would love for generations to come to look at business and doing good as the standard, not the exception. I would love to be part of rebuilding trust in business which has so much potential to change communities for the better and to support those who have scraped by as charities so they have more sustainable funding and autonomy through business models. And to make these options viable and transparent for funders, to include the everyday average consumer is the ultimate goal.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
As I am sure is the case with any concept that is being developed as we go, I think our biggest challenge (and greatest opportunity) is being sure to keep enough education in our content without just assuming everyone knows what this is. The U.S. is still very much in the process of creating this sector and we want there to be a place where everyone can find something to which they can relate.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CAUSE AND/OR THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
We have an opportunity to change the way capitalism is done. I believe in the power of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but I believe it is at its best when it takes into account the benefit of the community where it exists. I believe that is the only way capitalism is sustainable.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.” ~Serbian Proverb
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Look for social impact businesses to support and spend your dollars. Ask them about their values and how they implement those values in how they do business. And if you want to know more about starting, growing, marketing, or measuring a social impact business, give us a call. We would love to help!
At Orapin, we believe those who are working for the greater good should be known, supported, and celebrated. We give purpose-driven organizations the resources and support they need to increase awareness so they can grow and expand their impact. If you would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to email@example.com.