Treatise on Social Entrepreneurship
“What!? You are a For Profit!?!”
I want to save the world. I am creating a website that supports and spurs activism. It facilitates both citizen and non-profit collaboration, strengthens causes, provides access to unfiltered information and increases community involvement. And yet, it is registered as a For Profit, Limited Liability Corporation - a fact that often puts a wall between myself and would-be immediate supporters.
Future Job Creation Policy
It tops everyone’s list: “Job Creation”. In the coming years, we will see policy instituted at both local and national levels that drastically change the shape of the economy. Whether or not that policy supports social entrepreneurship, smart growth, and jobs that make our communities healthier and safer is heavily dependent upon proving that working for the common good can be profitable. I believe going the non-profit route with this website will mean encouraging the line of thought that only irresponsible corporations can be profitable, a dangerous way of thinking that will encourage policy that rolls back regulations and threatens us all.
Once and for all, putting “Trickle Down Theory” on the Chopping Block
Demand creates jobs. Our economy is consumer-driven, not driven by the job creators, not driven by the 1%. We the People are overwhelming intelligent, practical, and care about humanity. I have often signed up for “consumer marketing surveys” and been appalled by the litany of multiple choice questions that do not apply to me. Questions such as “which hair care product is your favorite: L’Oreal or Herbal Essences?” We, the conscientious consumer, demand more than brand names, bling and celebrity endorsements. We care about the planet and our health, and our fellow human beings. We are willing to pay more for a product ‘Made In the USA’ or in our local communities; willing to pay more for sustainable and organic. It’s high time that corporations new we existed, and new that we looked into their corporate responsibility ethos, and that we are unwilling to purchase products made in sweatshops or from multi-billion dollar corporations that only pay their employeess minimum wage or inadequate health benefits.
Together, we the conscientious consumers can change the corporate power system, can reshape capitalism to a system that serves US. We vote with our dollars - but is there an adequate system for counting those votes? I believe advertising on this website will drive traffic and to the doors of responsible businesses. I believe the taxonomy of topics on this website combined with its *anticipated* high viewership and high traffic - will serve as a big wake-up call to market research companies and creators of consumer-driven corporations: the people are watching, they are educated, and they will spend money - according to their morals.
Preventing Activist Burnout & Keeping the Creative Class Creating for Common Good
“I used to do what you are doing. I’ve given up. You will, too.” I was walking canvassing, raising money for an enviro non-profit when a tired looking lady in her thirties uttered that sentence. It was the most heart-wrenching thing I’d heard (and hear you a lot of heart-ache when you go door to door for a cause you care about!) I spent a decade as an activist and a musician - and a waitress. Eventually I decided to not live pay check to pay check and get a ‘real job’ at an engineering firm. Time and again I hear people saying they ‘sold their soul to the devil’ because it was suddenly time to pay a mortgage and child care and start saving for the kids’ college - all while still paying off their own student loans. In school, the career resources center paints a bleak picture of working for non-profits or the USGS or Fish & Wildlife service or any of the other meaning ful work I’m interested in. $20 - $40k a year will not pay off these debts and enable me to own a home one day, let alone support any other human being. One by one, I see college students change their majors as their debts mount and their options for making a living narrow. I’ve seen the most idealist commune dwellers shift from the community-focused non-profit to the corporate world.
This should not be. I want my ‘Save the World’ organization to pay all its employees between $60 - $90K a year. And I believe all my friends who work long hours at stressful, emotional social work jobs that require a masters degree - and all the people of the world who have put passion before money and do the hard work of servicing the most unfortunate and distressed humans among us - those people are heroes. They deserve to make a comfortable living while providing salvation for others. The current paradigm forces college grads to decide: “work for a cause I believe in, or pay off my student loans”.
We can change that tide. That age-old rhetoric that says if you are a good moral person, you will work at a non-profit, not make much money, and either forgo the option of having a family, or eventually switch to a ‘real’ job. No more. I want activism and social work to be REAL jobs with real wages and real benefits.