This story was submitted as part of the #Pledge1Gives GivingTuesday campaign, which celebrates the many ways our member companies are having an impact around the world.

When Doug Lessing, founder of Phin, saw the economic destruction being caused by COVID-19 visually represented in lines of cars snaking for miles at food banks, he recognized it as the “Moment Everything Changed”. He knew that Phin had to play a part in addressing the pressing social challenge that had many people in our country requiring help getting basic needs covered. The Phin Food & Shelter program was born harnessing the time, energy and passion of Phin employees and our wonderful sponsors to raise funds and awareness for food banks and shelters across the country.

Focusing on the areas hit hardest by COVID-19 and/or lockdown economics, Phin’s impact team found 15 amazing food or shelter providers whose impact and innovation made them stand out. The creative team put together several events with music ranging from New Orleans jazz to acoustic guitar to rap and fun segments on oyster shucking and specialty drink mixing. These events helped to raise awareness and give thousands of people the opportunity to learn about the causes and direct the sponsored donations to those that spoke to them the most. The Phin team volunteered on a food distribution day for one of the causes, Island Harvest. In the end, what positive impact did all of this have?

At Phin, we discuss impact a lot, how to define it, how to measure it, how to present it in an engaging and illustrative way. We research facts that help illustrate the positive social change created by a campaign like Phin Food & Shelter. For this project, we have created an infographic to show this impact “by the numbers”.

The true social impact of the Food & Shelter project and other campaigns however go far beyond simple measurement tools. While these do a great job of showing the primary impact in the number of people fed and sheltered, it doesn’t tell the story of the secondary positive effects, the effects these actions have on society beyond those directly impacted. 

When people in need are fed and sheltered for a day, those close to them have that burden lifted a little. The food being shared sometimes comes from local farms which need the income to survive especially while restaurants are not operating near full capacity. Sometimes people preparing the food are getting paid which helps lift the whole community economically. Employees working for the causes can continue their demanding work knowing they are supported and valued. The audience for the live events not only discover music that can uplift their days but also the satisfaction of knowing they helped direct sponsored contributions to important causes. They may be moved to contribute to the causes by volunteering their time, spreading awareness to others or donating themselves.

While it is exciting to come up with reports, graphs and fun infographics to show social impact for Phin campaigns, even more satisfying is knowing the true social value is broader and deeper than anything that could be measured.

We try to capture some of these stories behind the numbers for our curated causes on the Phin Stories “Featured Cause” posts. To learn more about a few of our Food & Shelter causes and see what really goes behind a night of shelter or a prepared meal, check out Cultivating Community:  The Story of Mobile Loaves & Fishes and Reimagining Community: The Genesis of CommonTable.