One question I hear a lot is whether it's possible to work exclusively on social impact clients like non-profits, foundations, or CSR/brand citizenship-related initiatives. The short answer is yes—you just have to know where to look. Agencies that build their business around social good are more rare than those that serve for-profit clients, though demand is increasing thanks to brands' growing interest in connecting with consumers via the causes they care about. Here are five agencies that focus on social impact clients where your work can help make the world a better place. (Note: This is in no way a complete list, and omits agencies with social impact divisions—check the end of the post for some examples.)
Based in: Boulder, CO (with offices in SF and NY)
In its own words: School is a purpose-led brand strategy and creative consultancy. We help bring purpose out of brands and create the content and tools to tell the world about it.
Past clients: Pencils of Promise, Hershey's, Larabar, Uber
In a nutshell: Since 2013 School has not only helped define and share its clients' purposes, but has also found creative ways to give back as an agency—from building schools with Pencils of Promise, to dedicating time after hours to help pro bono local nonprofits via Night School, to being a founding agency partner to the Boulder Ad Block Party.
Based in: Los Angeles, CA
In its own words: We build mission-driven brands and Shared Mission℠ initiatives with fearless creativity.
Past clients: Google, Khan Academy, The Nature Conservancy, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In a nutshell: enso has worked with some of the most recognizable names in both the non and for-profit worlds. Its Shared Mission℠ framework brings together businesses, philanthropists, nonprofits, civic organizations, community leaders, and creative talent to develop new solutions to the most-pressing challenges of our time.
3) Matter Unlimited
Based in: NYC and San Francisco, CA
In its own words: Our mission is simple: to amplify the power of brands and organizations to drive growth and positive change in the world simultaneously.
Past clients: UNICEF, Facebook, Clinton Global Initiative, NBC Universal
In a nutshell: Matter Unlimited's client roster is full of big players in media, government and tech, alongside non-profits. Its film #PUSH for Merck for Mothers recently won a Silver Cannes Lion for Cinematography Film Craft.
Based in: Brooklyn, NY and Los Angeles, CA
In its own words: HelpGood is an agency focused on social good. We work with nonprofits, NGOs, and corporate social responsibility teams to develop digital-first marketing, communication and fundraising strategies that inspire action.
Past clients: Ad Council, The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Animal League, Keep America Beautiful
In a nutshell: HelpGood turns advocacy into action for its clients, especially in social media. Fun fact: CEO Michael Bellavia is the voice of Smokey Bear across all of the wildfire prevention icon's social and digital channels.
5) Fearless Unlimited
Based in: Boulder, CO
In its own words: We believe when people are informed and engaged they have the power to create positive change.
Past clients: Twitter, Annie's, Verizon, The Climate Reality Project
In a nutshell: Founded by Dagny Scott and Leslie Freeman, former CP+B coworkers, Fearless Unlimited consults brands and organizations alike on how to position themselves and their message for maximum social impact.
To be clear, working on for-profit clients doesn't mean your work isn't changing the world for the better. There are so many brands whose products and services improve our lives, and who've used their influence and marketing dollars to advocate a deeper cause (ex. Airbnb's #weaccept, Always' #LikeAGirl,). Some agencies have even launched social impact divisions—like Y+R Inspire Change, MAL\ For Good, Deep Focus' Deep Impact. Wherever you find it, find work that makes you feel great about what you do.
You can change the world,