Tech Tasks for the Day
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.
So… who uses this calendar, and how does it benefit them?
The Armchair Activist:
You like learning about issues, via documentaries or science expos or debates. You really like things that are educational, especially if they include beer, music or fire. You might even occasionally volunteer or sign a petition, but have no interest in paying for a membership or receiving an endless stream of non-profit newsletters to your e-mail inbox. You just want to go out and do! Great. Stop researching. One simple & comprehensive source for edutainment that falls outside of the typical movie and music listings is here! You don’t even have to pick a single issue to care about, just select an event type (butt on bike, hands in dirt, mind engaged, meet the director, tour, debate, rally) & go out and get engaged in your community!
The Serial Activist:
Your going to change the world… as soon as you can get off the computer! Stop spending hours wading through websites to find the nearest rally, debate, protest or town hall; they are all listed in one place. What? We are suddenly declaring war on another nation or a natural disaster has pummeled another city? End the frustrating feeling of “how can I help?” and easily find actions in your area. Don’t relegate yourself to one or two causes if you care about them all! Easily stay abreast of a wide variety of issue-related events, without choosing a hundred different news feeds to subscribe to.
Welcome to your new, hyper-effective marketing tool! And it’s free! And if it you use it as recommended, you won’t even half to remember to visit some external website to add your events. With thousands of users who may never have thought to visit your website, traffic to your website and attendance at your events is sure to increase. We expect this to result in increased memberships, but it will certainly help your metrics for your next funding round!
With one comprehensive source for all events filterable by topic, you can easily find (often unexpected) allies and consolidate resources. Simplify selection of which date is clear and free and appropriate for scheduling your next big fundraiser. The option exists to embed the calendar in your personal website either filtered specifically for your organization, or by topic. Embedding the filter by topic option enables you to inform your members (and your staff) of events outside of your organization that are relevant to your issue, without doing any additional research. As we grow, we will integrate social networking components that enable feedback about your events from attendees, and will keep the conversation going long after the seminar ends.
As this resource becomes available in each city, it will facilitate organizing and collaborations on a regional & national level. If YOU want to be part of the Beta test group and embed the calendar on your organization’s website and be a part of the magic that makes this resource a reality, please contact me at [email protected]
With thousands of users anticipated in each city, each of them the type who give a sh*t, your green product or socially responsible service or charity-contributing company will find a uniquely large, yet targeted, audience. We expect our users to return to the website several times a week, ingraining your logo into their minds. Unlike most websites, this site enables users to engage in their community and create new experiences, which means our sponsors are affiliated with the kind of emotional connection that advertisers often seek to fulfill through experiential event marketing.
Did I mention this will be huge? The one resource of it’s type in every city? It will be an immensely popular stand alone site, plus be embedded as an i-frame into thousands of organization websites. It will integrate a social networking component. It’s a tech start-up meets social capital. We’ve mapped out 5 separate potential revenue streams. It has high returns written all over it. [email protected]
Political Analysts & Market Researchers:
We expect to capture a lot of useful data about civic engagement, event organizing, geographic political interests, and analyzing what motivates people to take action.