Discovering Impact Sourcing

Like most people, I have my share of busywork. Tasks I prefer to avoid. And I’m happy to find ways to delegate this work so I can dedicate more time learning, networking and growing my company. So when the term Impact Sourcing began cropping up, I became intrigued.

Harvard University uses it. Google uses it. uses it to digitize hundreds of millions of records each year. Impact Sourcing is low cost outsourcing that promises a positive social impact for the communities that are employed. And research shows it may change businesses role in building a better world.

But, skeptic that I am, I wondered if it was being oversold as a panacea that is simple, high quality and cost-effective.

First, I had to figure out what exactly it is. I had an understanding that Impact Sourcing was outsourcing work, but also that it was more than that.

If you want to help the poor, give them dignifying work. A recent worldwide poll indicates that a job is the one thing people want more than anything else. With 1.8 billion people unable to get a formal job and billions more living in poverty, the Internet has become a valuable resource to create value and distribute resources among those in need. Impact Sourcing provides underserved communities an ‘on-ramp to the global economic superhighway.

The good news: plenty of digital work needs to be done: entering data, online research, tagging videos, curating content and so on. Impact Sourcing brings this work to economically depressed areas, and particularly to women, youth and the disabled so they can receive a living wage. Many workers can now pay for college, support family members in need and are becoming role models for the next generation.

At the beginning of 2013, there were few resources to discover what Impact Sourcing is all about. The best option, in my opinion, was to read Sateen Sheth’s series of blog posts on the subject. Sateen travelled to Kenya in 2012 to conduct research on behalf of The William Davidson Institute.

Finally, Impact Hub launched to raise awareness of Impact Sourcing, serve as an information resource and help facilitate deals with Service Providers.