3 Ways to Start or Advance Your Social Impact Career


Contemporary entrepreneurship requires a keen sense of doing right while doing well. At the core of successful social enterprises are individuals focused on discovering desirable, and equitable, solutions for the benefit of the public.

Social impact careers are available in a variety of organizations, from NFPs, to corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments in corporations, to entrepreneurial ventures started by individuals passionate about a cause.

As the field of impact investing also continues to support cause-driven initiatives, so will opportunities for joining–or creating–new social impact ventures.

Whether you are looking to get started in your social impact career, emerge as a leader in an existing organization, or scale a social impact business of your own, here are three ways to position yourself for professional success.


Effective leaders will often turn to design thinking methodologies to answer the complex problems the world is facing. Skills in design thinking, social justice, business design, team management, and leadership are especially important in social impact fields, which have high stakes and the potential to affect people of many different backgrounds.

3 Ways to Start or Advance Your Social Impact Career

Build your skills and understand the best approaches for creating equitable and socially conscious initiatives with an online Business Design for Social Impact certificate, offered by Open Campus at The New School.

With roots in The New School’s commitment to design strategy as well as social justice, this entrepreneurial program offers students real knowledge and hands-on guidance on preparing themselves and their social impact ventures to succeed financially and socially.

Students will emerge from the program with future-forward business skills such as business model creation, organizational leadership, and the ability to pitch socially-relevant ventures to investors.

The program consists of 4 individual online courses, including:

  • Introduction to Design, Social Impact, and Entrepreneurship 
  • Designing Impact: From Idea to Proof of Concept 
  • Business Models and Strategy for Social Impact
  • Launch and Scale Your Social Impact Venture

Highlights of the program include exposure to real-world ventures via virtual class trips. One example is introducing students to the NYC artisan bakery, Sweet Generation, to learn more about its mission.

Founded by Amy Chasan, Sweet Generation has become much more than a bakery as every cupcake and pastry purchase supports their growing internship program for at-risk youth. Each season, Sweet Generation RISE employs and trains a number of interns between the ages of 16 and 24 who have limited access to employment opportunities.

The internship program provides a creative space for teens and young adults, preparing them for job-readiness and encouraging social-emotional development.

Learn more about the Business Design for Social Impact certificate from the program’s creators, Cynthia Lawson and Michele Kahane, or visit Open Campus at The New School to enroll.


Opportunities for work in social impact are abundant if you know just where to look. Idealist.org prides itself on its listings for nonprofit, volunteer, and full-time positions dedicated to job-seekers striving to make a difference. Their blog, Idealist Careers, offers an online collection of inspiring and useful content revolving around social impact.

Similarly, organizations such as the Global Impact Investing Network and the PCDN (Peace and Collaborative Development Network) frequently post social impact-related jobs from their members.

Other sites like 80,000 Hours and Net Impact share job opportunities from around the world. In addition to scrolling through Net Impact’s online job board, you can also subscribe to its jobs newsletter and receive a list of new opportunities in your inbox. 

For freelance work, Wethos offers an array of opportunities for professionals with purpose, committed to finding work for individuals that aligns with their values. 


Keeping abreast of industry trends will help you during interviews at your dream social impact job, in making the case for advancement at your current organization, or in launching your own social impact venture. But how do you stay informed of everything else happening in the social impact and entrepreneurship space?

Read about current events and business affairs by checking out Huffington Post’s Social Justice and This New World pages, or NPR’s Business section. Other news sites specifically dedicated to social impact include the Stanford Social Innovation Review, B the Change, and The Guardian’s Sustainable Business section.

If you prefer to listen to your news stories, hear from current social impact entrepreneurs by subscribing to podcasts such as Disruptors for Good, Business with Purpose, and Change Creator.

You can learn about emerging entrepreneurs’ experiences in launching their social impact companies and working through challenges related to their cause. You might also hear some good advice that they would give entrepreneurs or other social impact professionals looking to get started in the field.

With the start of a new decade upon us, there’s never been a better time to advance both your chosen cause and your social impact career. If you are ready to take the next steps, learn more about the Business Design for Social Impact Certificate and let Open Campus at The New School connect you with the skills and network to make a difference.

Sponsored by The New School. The New School has developed and launched a unique online curriculum, which blends entrepreneurship with design for social impact and sustainability. Learn More.

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