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Insights / November 24, 2014

People, Planet, Profit: Measuring Project Goodness

By Abby Breyer

Top three questions we get at Software for Good:

“What do you mean by ‘good’?”

“How do you make money if you only work with nonprofits?”

“Unlimited PTO, whaaa?”

That last one aside (no, we’re not joking and yes, it’s amazing), these questions are fair and worthy of further explanation.

So, what do we mean by good? 

Of course “good” is a relative term. But Software for Good is a team of talented, passionate people who share a set of socially-based values — sustainability,  green tech, clean energy, education, the arts, healthcare, and the like — as well as the desire to work with clients whose values align with our own. Some of that work is with nonprofits. However:

We don’t work exclusively with nonprofits.

In fact, that’s only 20% of our business. Limiting ourselves to any one industry or type of client would be a mistake. There’s good being done everywhere — by social entrepreneurs with for-profit businesses working to create social impact and by big corporations with small teams rallied around great ideas.

We love our nonprofit clients. But there are plenty of for-profit corporations doing good, too. Take Biovest, for example. They’re developing personalized cancer vaccines. No denying that’s good. And if our work with a for-profit company like Biovest helps increase profits and ultimately save more lives — well,  that’s a win for everyone.

For us, it all comes down to the Triple Bottom Line:

People. Planet. Profit.

This is the criteria against which we measure every opportunity. Is what we’re working on going to positively impact the people around us (and the broader world)? Will it make them happier, healthier, more productive? What about the planet? Is this work sustainable? Will it lead to a safer, greener future? And finally: will this work be profitable for our company? The financial stability of our company is important, because we want to continue this great work well into the future — 10 or 20 years down the road. And work that pays well allows Software for Good the flexibility to help clients who otherwise may not have the financial resources to tackle their big, world-changing ideas.

Still wondering if you should contact us?

Yes! As long as you don’t spend your days dumping gallons of oil into the ocean or clubbing baby seals, we’d love to talk. Who knows what kind of good we can do together?