Work, life, community, wellness and the science behind social impact

Studies show that philanthropic activities and doing good for others have a positive effect on your own health. The science behind social impact wellness is also the basis for making “giving back” part of a well-rounded life. Embolden’s plug-and-play media products make it easy to apply these principles in your family and your work.

Four ways industry is changing fast to engage the digital native generation through the work, life, community, wellness mindset


A new consumer mindset inspired by the digital native generation is profoundly changing the way our society approaches "doing good" as part of a healthy lifestyle. Here's what's going on:

  • Fueled by technology and social media, community impact has become intertwined with the way consumers judge brands, make purchasing decisions, choose an employer, give to charity, invest assets, and make health care decisions.
  • This "work-life-community-wellness" mindset is beginning to define the way we live and work.
  • The digital native generation--people born after 1983--is already a population of 80 million and growing. In an era where Uber, Amazon, and crowdfunding have become the norm, this generation has very different expectations for access, service, and cost from companies with which they do business.

Check out these industry trends to see how things are changing--fast:

1. Trending in the healthcare sector

Technology continues to drive a consumer-centric healthcare mindset, moving away from the hospital and clinic mindset. Here's how::

  • "Inside" technology. In 2013, for example, the top new technology breakthroughs included robotic telepresence in hospitals, Watson in medical practice, social media in hospitals, robot exoskeletons, Google glasses, and genome sequencing for under $1000. In 2017, this list looked a lot different.
  • "Outside" technology. Last year, the top new technologies deployed in health care included artificial intelligence, patient/provider platforms, transplants, remote testing, advanced therapies, 3D drug printing, and personalized dosing. Indeed, technology is causing care to move out of the traditional hospital or clinic setting. 
  • New definition of "health." Market changes continue to indicate that the emerging consumer's definition of “health” is influenced by work-life-community wellness factors, including social impact. As a result, the connections between wellness and a consumer’s physical health, mental health, and social impact behaviors are defining 21st century health care.
  • New data is needed. Consumer perspectives about the broader roles that health and community play in their lives present a key factor to interpreting and applying rich stores of pharmacy, medical, and behavioral data. This, in turn, will better optimize how to interpret consumer data for better patient health outcomes and more cost-effective treatments.

2. Trending in the philanthropy sector

The entry of the socially-conscious digital native generation into the workforce has failed to make a difference in the social sector. Here's how this is playing out:

  • Supply and demand disconnect. The number of charities has more than doubled from 654,186 in 1996 to more than 1.6 million today. According to Giving USA, at end of 1999, dollars flowing from philanthropy to these organizations stood at 2.1% of GDP. And that's exactly where it sits now, at 2.1%. Supply and demand are out of balance.
  • Increasing social consciousness. At the same time, the data points are consistently documented in dozens of studies showing that Americans are committed to philanthropy and want to make a difference.
  • Donor power. There is perhaps no better example of the shifting philanthropic mindset than the rapid rise in popularity of the donor-advised fund. According to a report issued in 2016 by the National Philanthropic Trust, contributions to donor-advised funds hit an all-time high of $22.6 billion in 2015. This represents a record-setting 8.4% of total giving in America. Assets held in donor-advised funds now tops $78 billion, which is more than double the 2011 level of total assets which was just over $38 billion. The total number of donor-advised funds in 2015 was 269,180, up 11% from the year before. By comparison, the 81,802 private foundations in the U.S. grew at only 3% year-over-year. Donor-advised funds are quickly becoming the charitable planning tool of choice, showing us that people enjoy getting involved with their own giving and pursuing philanthropy, by doing it their way

3. Trending in the workplace

With 94% of millennials reporting that they want to use their talents for doing good, employers are starting to pay attention to "doing good" in the workplace.

Here's what you might be seeing:. 

  • Employees want to celebrate "doing good." If you are in charge of a community engagement program at your company, you're no doubt seeing the new mindset at work when you ask your employees about the ways they prefer to do good and you get an overwhelmingly positive response.
  • Employees want employers to pay attention to it. The positive response you get is because you are reinforcing your understanding that freedom in philanthropic pursuits is a driving force in their lives, and you are signaling that your company will honor employee passions for making a difference..

This employee-centric approach is good for business, according to studies:

  • 87% staff turnover reduction in companies with high engagement
  • 88% of new job seekers choose employers with a high employee engagement
  • 20% improvement in financial performance in companies with high employee engagement

4. Trending in the consumer goods sector

Advertising firms are very aware that 90% of consumers want to purchase products and services from companies that support social impact. The evidence is everywhere:

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No matter what your profession or business, it's time to get in touch with the emerging work-life-community-mindset. Don't let your target audience engagement strategies fall behind. Seek out and adopt effective tools to gather, analyze, and use contemporary behavioral and cultural data to drive your business growth.

A gem from the radio show: Wellness on the go


Isn't it great when things that were once difficult, time consuming, and outrageously expensive become efficient, economical, and just plain simple? Ryan Rink and I loved our March 2013 interview with Don Peterson, founder of Infusion Express. Infusion Express is an in-and-out clinic designed to provide safe, reliable IV therapy at times and locations that are convenient for the patient.

You can listen to this gem from the Live with Rink and Laura radio show archives by accessing the recording in this post:

Why doing more "good" in 2018 will make you feel better

Feeling good

At first glance, philanthropy and positive psychology appear to have very little in common. Philanthropy is a term generally associated with giving money to charities, doing good in the community, and creating social value.

Positive psychology usually conjures up images of an academic approach to emotional strengths and virtues that enable people to thrive.

But there is indeed a connection. After all, philanthropy, according to the classic dictionary definition, means a “love of humanity” in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing, and enhancing “what it is to be human” on both the benefactors’ and beneficiaries’ parts. The connection is right there.

Here are three reasons this connection should make you feel better about amping up your community involvement in 2018, both at home and in the workplace.

  1. Social impact activities are good for your health.

The benefits of philanthropy aren’t limited to your mood. After scouring websites, journals, blogs, articles, and more, our team of researchers uncovered dozens of studies linking philanthropic behavior and improved physical health. Research suggests activities such as volunteering and giving can lead to a longer life, lower blood pressure, and better pain management.

If you're skeptical, try this experiment:

Ask your friends to describe their favorite charities and community activities, and then watch their body language closely as they talk. If your friends are like the people in our research study, you will see them visibly relax. You may see them become more upbeat in their words and tone. They may lean in a bit as they share their stories. And they may keep talking longer than you expect. What's happening? Your friends are proud, confident, and emboldened about the role of social impact in their well-rounded, healthy lives. They are happy as they talk about it. They actually feel better.

2. The range of social impact activities is expanding, giving you more choices for "doing good" than ever before.

Giving to charities is not the only philanthropic activity going on in the lives of Americans.

Our team conducted a five-year research study--published last year in our book, Do Good, Feel Better--to discover the components of today’s culture of philanthropy and how it impacts engagement in organizations, companies, and donor groups. Today’s culture of philanthropy embraces the full range of social impact behaviors: Giving to charities, volunteering, serving on nonprofit boards of directors, celebrating at community events, recycling and respecting a sustainable environment, marketing a favorite cause, donating items of food and clothing, purchasing products that support a cause, sharing with family and friends in need, and caring about health and wellness. These activities are called the “10 Ways to Do Good.”

Certainly this expansion of the “doing good” footprint in America has contributed to the continued enthusiasm for dollars flowing into favorite causes, whether those causes are supported through philanthropic institutions, financial institutions, or through workplace giving programs. It's also created a whole new paradigm for a "social impact lifestyle" where all generations thrive on the integration of work, life, community, and wellness.

3. Social impact activities are good for your career and business.

Social impact has become a key component in today's workplace. Today’s market leaders view social impact behavior as a catalyst for connecting human resources with marketing, building emotional loyalty with employees and consumers and, in turn, boosting employer brand and business results.

The contemporary imperative for workplace performance is not only about the head, but also about the heart. Executives need to get inside employees' emotions and mindsets to understand how employees see themselves in their lives, work, and community. This type of culture-building, in turn, gives employers the tools to tweak employee engagement programs so they are embraced by employees and effective to drive results.

Our research for Do Good, Feel Better uncovered the following statistics:

Cheers to your health, wealth, and happiness in 2018, thanks to a work-life-community-wellness mindset!