Being a public benefit corporation (PBC) can mean a variety of different things depending on your company’s mission and business model. A retail company selling sustainably sourced clothing is structured and focused on metrics in a way that differs from CauseLabs. As a service provider CauseLabs achieves its mission to create positive impact through its partnerships and projects. CauseLabs exists to serve great causes, and we strive to do good through our work with technology.
How do we know if a client or project is aligned with our mission?
The truth is, we find alignment through conversation. The core business model of a company may not resemble a great cause, but their mission and how they perform their work could be in alignment with our values and goals as a public benefit corporation. When we uncover why a company, project, or program exists, then we find whether or not we’re a good fit.
As a company whose success (staying in business) relies on revenue, there is a tension between profitability and mission. We can’t achieve our mission if we can’t succeed as a business. However, we do not want to succeed solely through profits and charitable giving. Thus, our model is one that seeks mission-aligned partnerships and projects. Another reason we lean more towards a social enterprise model is our core value of doing meaningful work. Our team wants to be more hands-on with our positive impact by building tools and apps that directly affect or are used by the beneficiaries. We want our work to do good, not just our money.
Is there a conclusive answer?
The easier answer to the question of alignment is to create a rubric for ideal partnerships. Here’s ours: A Copy of CauseLabs Ideal Partner Profiles & Rubric
If you look at the second tab of the spreadsheet, the scoring rubric, you can see where your company lands on our alignment spectrum. You’ll notice that the type of company or project matters, but also it’s important that the company can pay for our services, that the lead decision-maker is empowered and decisive, and that there is a level of tech-savviness to understand the strategy and potential scale of a digital solution. Your rubric can weigh things differently. In our scoring, the bottom 20 are not ideal projects. If we take on too many with a score below 10 or possibly even below 20, we need to question ourselves and revisit our mission. These are the elements that help us balance our mission alignment and profitability needs, and help us identify if our team dynamics are right to forge a successful partnership.