Location, location, social impact?

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“I want to live an active, healthy, well-rounded life, where connection to my community and my own well-being go hand in hand.”

Which of the choices below describes the source of that statement?

  1. Written response to a survey of people who work at nonprofit organizations
  2. Quote from an interview with a candidate running for political office
  3. Summary of the perspectives of target residents in a new housing development
  4. Overheard while volunteering at a children’s hospital

If you answered 3, you are correct.

This statement originated as part of a market research study to determine the social impact lifestyle motivations of homebuyers and tenants. Our team analyzed recurring themes in hundreds of survey responses related to residential preferences and giving back to the community. The goal was to distill the social impact factors with the greatest influence when a socially-conscious person is making a choice about where to live, a key decision that reflects caring for yourself and your family.

Here are a few factors that respondents listed as important:

  • Respecting the natural environment, especially focused on preserving trees and natural plant life
  • Convenient recycling services and facilities
  • Proximity to retailers with a track record of supporting local charities
  • A community feel, including a published calendar of events and notifications about nearby fundraising events such as 5Ks and golf tournaments
  • Periodic farmers’ markets and access to organic vendors
  • Trails and traffic patterns that accommodate running, biking, and walking
  • Builders and subcontractors who can demonstrate a commitment to community organizations
  • Opportunities for children to volunteer in the neighborhood for community service hours, such as raking leaves in the fall or taking care of common area lawns and gardens in the spring (or even just practicing!)

What gives? Why do these things matter? Because they make you feel good. And they show that social impact lifestyle and caring for health and wellness is a very real thing. The importance of a social impact lifestyle as a factor in deciding where to live is spot on with what we found in our five-year research study. The data uncovered in our literature reviews, experiments, surveys, and interviews tells us that philanthropy has found a place in society’s conversation about well-being.

Caring for your mental and physical health is the first step in doing the most good for others. Your choice of where to live can make a big difference in how you feel. If you feel good, you and your family will have more energy to devote to charitable giving, volunteering, serving on boards, and other social impact activities to support the causes you love the most.