From One Employee’s Passion to a Company-wide Initiative
February 17, 2022
The Purpose Project, FINN Partners Singapore
What started as a casual conversation between Senior Specialist Cheryl Chang and Managing Partner Naeema Ismail at FINN Partners Singapore blossomed into The Purpose Project: an employee-led social impact program supporting local social enterprises and nonprofit organizations with PR and marketing consultancy and volunteer work.
“I was about a year into my career at FINN and was thinking about ways to combine my passion for communications and social impact,” Chang explained. “So, I sat down to speak with Naeema and seek her advice, but I wasn’t really expecting anything immediate to come out of it.”
Launched in 2021, the initiative crystallized into one of the agency’s formalized do-good efforts.
“I saw a need to help because many of these organizations don’t have resources dedicated to marketing, public relations or any communications efforts. It’s such a pity because these groups have amazing stories to tell through the meaningful work they do.”
The team surveyed the entire agency to identify which causes FINN Singapore wanted to champion. Three priorities rose to the top: environment and sustainability, equal access to education and mental health.
Chang, alongside other primarily junior-level members of the Singapore office, began formulating what exactly they were seeking to accomplish. Ultimately, they identified three pillars to support social impact organizations:
- Amplify awareness of the organizations, the work they’re doing and the impact they are making.
- Educate key target audiences on the organizations’ mission, core offerings (services or products) and communities they serve.
- Empower the organizations to develop a strategic, streamlined approach to communications that allows them to serve their stakeholders more effectively.
The Purpose Project functions through a combination of consultancy work and volunteering. While the pandemic stifled volunteerism initiatives for the time being, the team consulted with multiple organizations to understand their core needs, goals and objectives and gaps in their communications plans.
The team worked with raiSE – the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprises, an association that provides resources to social enterprises, by hosting a series of webinars that focused on the fundamentals of a communications strategy, including identifying the story organizations are trying to tell and tactics for getting their message out to their audiences.
“The webinars were highly actionable, providing attendees with insights they could apply to help them achieve their business objectives right away. Many of them shared great feedback about the content and tools shared, which was really encouraging.”
After the webinar, the team held one-on-one meetings with individual social enterprises that attended to provide more tactical guidance for their unique communications concerns.
Beyond reinforcing the cultural emphasis on giving back, The Purpose Project gives employees the chance to broaden their skill sets and diversify the type of work they’re able to do. The project provides a sandbox for learning, innovation and leadership experience—whether working on a new business pitch or ideating campaign strategies. The Purpose Project is also a way to bind the Singapore team together and attract like-minded talent by supporting organizations that play important roles in their communities.
One thing we try to do is cultivate a culture of empathy and recognize we have so much to be grateful for. This is one way we can do that.
In December 2021, The Purpose Project team members began coordinating a drive to collect devices, such as laptops, tablets and other tech products, to support unprivileged families in Singapore who may not have the resources necessary to manage remote learning as school systems navigate in-person and offsite classes throughout the pandemic. The devices collected at FINN are handed off to a social impact organization, Tech Do Good, that refurbishes and distributes them to social service agencies in the school system as part of a back-to-school package.
“It’s all really exciting and we’ve only just begun! We’re already receiving organic requests from organizations and contacts who have heard about The Purpose Project, and the response has been incredibly encouraging. We see so many opportunities to grow and scale these efforts to help even more organizations through this initiative — even looking into ways for us to roll this out for clients who are looking to give back,” said Chang.
Inspired by the Singapore team’s initiative, passion and breadth of the impact, FINN Partners will be scaling The Purpose Project model across its offices around the world.