The results are published for our annual member survey, looking at the demographic makeup who we Hubbers are, and what creative, innovative work is being produced by the organizations that make up our wonderful community.

Each year, we survey our members about who they are, what they’re working on, and what value they find in being a Hub member. We work with our partners in the global Impact Hub network and professional research partners at the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Vienna University to ask our members questions that help us better understand what services they need, how well we are supporting them, and where we can improve our impact as an organization.

Hubbers: Focused on the Triple Bottom Line

It came as no surprise this year that the majority of our members identify their environmental and social returns as an essential measure of their company’s success; 65.3% of our 2018 respondents identified as “impact-first” in measuring their success, while an additional 12% said they gave equal weighting to their impact and financial outcomes when measuring the success of their work. We also asked which impacts areas members focused on as they relate to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs); within the Impact Hub network, we continue to more closely align the way we talk about impact with the UN SDGs framework as one globally recognized for defining specific key areas of social impact. If you’re curious to read more about all the goals, you can check out our prior blog post on the topic.

Working Towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In Boston, we found that our members focused most intensely on six SDGs:

  • 35%, the largest segment, are working to ensure quality education for all (SDG #4)
  • A close second, at 27%, are helping to reduce inequalities  (SDG #10)
  • 24% are focused on gender equity  (SDG #5)
  • Good health and well-being are the focus for 19% (SDG #3)
  • A remaining 15% work towards sustainable cities and communities, while 13% work to alleviate poverty  (SDGs #11 and #1)

These emphases of Boston members’ impact foci largely align with the highest emphasis areas of Impact Hub members globally, while showing some distinct areas of stronger focus. Around the world, across all 100+ Impact Hubs, members are most focused on Education and Lifelong Learning (29%), Decent Work and Sustained, Inclusive, and Sustainable Economic Growth (21%) and Equality, Equity, and Social Justice (19%). Good health and well-being was more more emphasized in North America than globally, at 23% compared to 19%.

As our community continues to grow in age and size, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of our members say they are at a mature growth stage. This year, 61% of companies were either running operations fully or scaling their efforts, in contrast with last year, when 57% were at the scaling/running ops stage. Of those, this year, 23% were scaling up vs 17% who were actively growing last year. We are proud to be a place where Impact Hub member organizations can advance and scale their work.

More organizations this year reported measuring their success mainly on the basis of social impact: 65% are impact-first in their success metrics vs 50% last year. Impact Hub member organizations are also becoming more diverse in organizational form. The number of for-profit organizations has remained steady around 55%; however, among those with other forms, we now see a range including 25% nonprofits, 14% self-employed/solopreneurs, and a handful of organizations still exploring their entity incorporation options.

The Impact Hub Ethos: Helping Each Other

Among the most exciting numbers to our team are those representing the growth that members see from being part of Impact Hub. This year, 59% of members said that being part of the Hub helped them discover new opportunities to make a positive impact in their professional careers. Nearly half (47%) reported that they had learned new skills and capabilities thanks to Impact Hub. In terms of peer support, 93% of members look to the Hub in order to feel part of a larger community and network. All told, members have received over 227 hours a month, on average, of peer support through Impact Hub. That’s an average of 3 hours per member spent sharing ideas, expanding networks, and building capacity.

Looking Towards the Future

As Impact Hub Boston celebrates our five-year anniversary (see also: ImpactFest 2018!), we are proud of the community we have built. Our members consistently find value in our space, in collaborating with each other, and in being part of our global network. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share a little bit about their work in the survey this year, and here’s to many more years of growth for all our member organizations.

 

For a closer look at our community and annual survey, you can see our most recent impact report, shared at our community Town Hall in April, here.

2018 Member Survey Cover

Download the 2018 Impact Hub survey results

Katie Shultz