Social networking platforms provide a way for individuals and organizations to share information with their audiences. Some use them to entertain and others to sell. Others, like Purposeful Networks and Inspiring Service in Cincinnati, Ohio, use social networking to bridge the gap between connectivity and sustainability, and encourage volunteerism in local communities around the world.
Purposeful Networks and Inspiring Services are strategic partners sharing a common co-founder and mission—to promote service and volunteerism. Purposeful Networks, a technology company founded in 2010, is focused on securing positive social outcomes around goals like environmental sustainability. Inspiring Service, a nonprofit founded in 2017, leverages platforms from Purposeful Networks to enable and encourage volunteerism in their region.
“We partner to help communities achieve service-oriented goals, whatever they may be. We recognize the power of social sharing and community-building to encourage service, so we married the technology of Purposeful Networks with our newly-formed nonprofit to promote these projects,” said Craig Young, a co-founder of both organizations. “On our networks, you can share your progress, like what steps you took towards achieving a goal. Seeing others take action around a common goal inspires further service.”
Among the several platforms Purposeful Networks has developed is Aim2Flourish, a platform developed for Case Western Reserve University and the world’s first higher-education curriculum for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The platform supports business school professors around the world by providing videos, classroom presentations and materials, as well as space to research and identify an innovation and interview a business leader about the topic. The interactive site gives teachers and students alike a way to learn and share business practices that promote sustainability.
Inspiring Service facilitates Cincinnati Cares, a comprehensive guide of all nonprofits in the region that engage volunteers. Visitors to the site can explore organizations, learn about their missions and the ways they engage volunteers, as well as communication tools to expand their reach, make connections and share knowledge.
“A big thing with all of the technologies we develop and facilitate is making sure their volunteerism is rewarding with the option to share and collaborate,” said Young. “We know the power technology and social media can have in communities and the bigger and bigger role it plays in our lives. We knew we had an opportunity to use those concepts to create places for people to share their experiences and encourage service.”
Inspiring Service and Purposeful Networks both operate out of HCDC, a southwest Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier, and one of Ohio’s largest and oldest incubator programs. There, they have affordable office space, a vibrant and creative environment, and access to other entrepreneurs and ideas.
“Entrepreneurship in Ohio and Cincinnati specifically has been on the upswing for some time now. Even from 2010 when we founded Purposeful Networks to this past year with Inspiring Service, the amount of support available has grown tremendously,” said Young. “It’s an exciting time to be starting a company in Ohio.”