The 2017 Seven Small Jewels: Impact Makers

Impact Makers

Impact Makers

Headquarters: Richmond, Va. Additional Offices: New York Service Lines: IT, Strategy Client Industries: Insurance, State Government, Healthcare

Billable Consultants 2014: 69 2015: 100 2016: 125

Revenue (in millions) 2014: $11.6 2015: $17.8 2016: $22.4

Richmond, Va.-based Impact Makers is a unique consulting firm. Impact is a for-profit management and technology firm that has gifted its ownership to the community and contributes 100 percent of its net profits to charities over the life of the company.

In 2006, Michael Pirron founded Impact Makers with a single healthcare client, $50 in the bank and a laptop. The idea originated in an academic paper Pirron wrote while earning his MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Inspired by Newman’s Own, he had the vision for a for-profit consulting firm that donates 100 percent of profits to charities.

It started as an idea to build a company that delivers both client and community value—and gives employees more from careers than simply paychecks. “Ten years later, Impact Makers employs more than 125 professionals, had 2016 revenue of over $22 million, supports seven nonprofit community partners, and has contributed $2 million to the community,” Pirron, CEO of Impact Makers, says.

Perhaps even more impressive, Impact Makers has created a replicable model that is applicable across industries, mission-aligned, scalable, able to raise capital to fund growth, pays market reasonable salaries, creates shareholder value in a way that is mission-aligned, and enables employees to share in the upside (non-equity) of value creation.

“It is not just about doing things differently; it’s about creating a movement that has broad reaching impact on our local, regional, national communities—and the world,” he says. “Impact Makers is committed to being a force for change—from changing the way people view consulting to changing the consulting industry, the way companies structure their businesses, the way values/missions are embedded in cultures, the corporate philanthropic model, the way business and communities work together—and the world. We are democratizing philanthropy.”

Impact Makers began as an effort to create a different model for consulting. Ten years later, Pirron says the firm is focused on maximizing its impact by growing aggressively, but purposefully. “Our plan for 2017 is aligned to a broader five-year roadmap that is crafted to deliver maximum impact to the communities where we work and, therefore, deliver on our mission,” Pirron says. “We will continue to focus on leveraging our shared values while ensuring the exponential growth does not come at the expense of our culture or trust our clients have in us. We’re excited about 2017 as we anticipate continued growth resulting in additional community impact, success for our clients and opportunities for our employees.”

Pirron expects Impact Makers to continue to grow at an accelerated rate and be about $50 million in revenue and more than 300 employees in the next three or four years.

“Our biggest challenge is managing growth to maximize our impact without compromising our purpose and culture,” Pirron says. “For Impact Makers, it’s not just about hitting numbers, it’s about hitting our numbers and not losing sight of our mission and shared values or compromising the strong culture we’ve built.”

Pirron says he does not accept the premise that the kind of growth we are going through inevitably changes the company. “It may change what we do, where we do it and who does it, but we believe it will not change our ‘why’ and ‘how’, he says. “That’s important to us because it is what makes Impact Makers a different consulting experience all together.”