Who doesn’t have a fond memory of skipping stones across a clear blue lake? Even if you didn’t do it perfectly, it was easy to see this small action created a ripple effect through the entire body of water. Action, of any size, creates an immediate and longstanding impact.

This holds true when considering a social impact program for your small business. It is tempting to think that only well-established corporations can effect big changes in the world because of their potential ability to donate large sums of money. But as you can see from the stone-skipping example above, even a tiny ripple makes a difference. All you have to do is take the first step.

The United Nations Sustainability Development Goals are a great place to begin the process of aligning your social impact efforts in support of a larger goal. These seventeen goals are focused on the challenges that impact all of us on a global basis. They range from ending poverty to creating sustainable cities. In short, there’s something for everyone who wants to make a difference in their communities and around the world.

At Branded Group, our One-for-One social impact program is rooted in Global Goal #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, which focuses on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. This is in perfect alignment with our business as facility maintenance and management company. Our business is driven by customer calls. These calls are the basis for a restaurant or retail facility special project, an emergency repair, or a customized preventative maintenance program. When a call is marked completed, it transforms into an allotment of volunteer time with our non-profit partner, Habitat for Humanity.

Our team then participates in various Habitat build projects, for either the Orange County, CA or Suffolk County, NY chapters. Additionally, members have volunteered time in Habitat for Humanity’s retail facility, ReStores. Since the program’s inception, we initially volunteered 75 hours, followed by 150 hours in the second year, and this year, we are committed to 250 hours. The cost to participate is minimal – a few hours of our team’s time. Yet, to a family in need of an affordable and sustainable home, the time is priceless.

When considering your first social impact program, it’s always a good idea to keep it simple. As the saying goes, “grow where you are planted.” Look around in your community to evaluate its immediate needs. For example, is there a local food pantry in need of volunteers or supplies? Is there a school that could benefit from planting a vegetable garden?  The choices are endless.

If possible, align your non-profit partner choice with your company’s business model so that you can develop programs that correlate to your daily business operations. This will incentivize your team members as they see their role tying directly to a worthy cause.

Most importantly, always remember that no matter if you’re just starting your business or are a veteran in your industry, you’re never too new or too small to make a lasting impact in the world.