This is a guest post from Katharine Esty.
Can only billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett can change the world’s economic landscape?
Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi professor-turned-banker who has been called the father of microcredit founded Grameen Bank, is proof that the answer is “no.”
A middle-class social entrepreneur living in Bangladesh, Yunus has no car, no house, no second home, no inherited wealth, and no accumulated capital. His stunning success was based on a foundation of six key elements. These elements made it possible for him to launch the microcredit movement that flung open the doors to financial services to the billions at the bottom of the economic ladder. Now over 100 million people worldwide have received microcredit. I identified the six elements while interviewing Yunus and conducting research for my new book, Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream: How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and What It Cost Him.
1. A Vision
Yunus had a single, compelling vision: to end poverty – first in Bangladesh and then throughout the world. He has devoted himself to mission alone, and stuck with it over the long term.
2. A Tool
Yunus believes that the poor have a right to credit and that providing small loans to poor people to start or grow a business is an important tool for addressing poverty. He is not the only one to have thought up the idea of extending credit to the poor, but he saw the concept’s promise as a means toward ending poverty and made it his job to promote it.
Yunus is a master at raising money from international agencies and donors to fund his ideas. Without funds from outside sources at the start-up, he could not have succeeded.
4. A Successful Prototype
By starting small and slowly building the Grameen Bank from a minor pilot project to a large bank lending to over 8 millions borrowers, Yunus was able to accumulate accomplishments, proving that Grameen was sustainable and profitable and showing the world that his idea worked.
5. A Compelling Story
Yunus has taken the story of microcredit and the Grameen Bank to the world at large through speeches, newsletters, videos, conferences and articles. He has told his story over and over until the concept of microcredit became widely recognized and accepted.
Yunus has bounced back time and again from defeats and betrayals. Bangladeshi bankers initially thought that microcredit was not feasible and for years they refused to support him. Yunus’ 2007 bid to launch a new political party was foiled by hostile government officials who made sure a few years later that he was ousted from his position at the Grameen Bank. At that point Yunus shifted his focus to social businesses. Now he is circling the globe promoting social business with the same dazzling energy he used to get the idea of microcredit accepted worldwide.
Yunus has won the Nobel Peace Prize (2006), the US Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009), and the US Congressional Gold Medal (2013) for his success in alleviating poverty. Only seven people in the world, including Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela, have won this Triple Crown. Remember Yunus when things look bleak, and learn from him how to change the world yourself.
Katharine Esty, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and founder of Ibis Consulting Group, a leading international diversity and organizational development firm. A former consultant to the United Nations Development Program and UNICEF, Katharine has spent time in a number of developing nations, including Bangladesh, where she conducted a series of one-on-one interviews with Muhammad Yunus while writing her new book, Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream: How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and What it Cost Him.
The Orange Duffel Bag Foundation works with homeless teens and foster kids who are “aging out” of the system and often find themselves lost.
Echo Garrett, the founder of Orange Duffel Bag, will join me for a live discussion on January 9, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern to talk about the current crowdfunding campaign to raise money for their programs.
Echo Garrett is the co-founder/Board Chair of Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, a nonprofit that does life plan coaching with homeless youth and teens aging out of foster care based on the principles in the multi-award winning book My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change that she co-authored. She frequently speaks on how we can help our nation’s most vulnerable teens become self-sufficient. She has written or contributed to 12 other books, including Why Don’t They Just Get a Job?: One Couple’s Mission to End Poverty in Their Community, and has been published in more than 75 national outlets including Parade, Delta Sky, and Business Week.Married to photographer/writer Kevin Garrett and mom to two sons Caleb and Connor, Echo has been interviewed on Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, NY-1 and served as editor-in-chief of Atlanta Woman magazine.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
When Jason Best and Sherwood Neiss helped lead the charge to launch investment crowdfunding in the U.S. they couldn’t have guessed at its global impact. Now, having completed a months-long report to the World Bank on the likely economic impact of crowdfunding in the developing world, they have much greater insight on the role crowdfunding will play in allowing people to lift themselves out of poverty. (Best and Neiss’s firm Crowdfund Capital Advisors sponsored the publication of my book, Crowdfunding for Social Good, in July of 2013. We have no other business relationship.)
Sherwood Neiss and Jason Best, photo by Devin Thorpe
On January 9, 2014 at noon Eastern, Best and Neiss will join me for a live discussion about the potential for crowdfunding to make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of people around the world.
Tune in and listen while you work.
Best and Neiss, together with Zak Casady-Dorian also wrote the book, Crowdfund Investing for Dummies.
The World Bank Report, published in late 2013, outlines the potential economic impact of all kinds of crowdfunding, not just investment crowdfunding. The report is intended to help international development professionals identify the benefits of crowdfunding and the legal, social and infrastructure required to develop a successful crowdfunding ecosystem in a developing country.
Best, Neiss and Cassady-Dorian were instrumental in the passage of the JOBS Act, which was passed by Congress with bipartisan support and was signed by the President in April 2012. After being present for the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House, the Best and Neiss launched their firm, Crowdfund Capital Advisors to help educate the world about crowdfunding.
This interview is part of a series that will examine what can be accomplished in the fight to solve the world’s biggest challenges within the next thirty years. The solution to every big problem also presents opportunities entrepreneurs will exploit to change the world. From this series of interviews, a book with the working title Thirty Years to Peace will emerge.
Fledge is a conscious company incubator in Seattle, working out of the Impact HUB there.
On Thursday, January 9, 2014, founder Michael “Luni” Libes will join me live for a short interview to tell me more about Fledge.
Tune in and listen while you work.
Michael is a serial entrepreneur and author who advises startups.
From his LinkedIn profile:
Serial entrepreneur, author, and educator.
Founder and Managing Director, Fledge LLC – http://fledge.co
Founder and Managing Director, Kick – http://kick.fledge.co
Founder and Managing Director, Realize Impact – http://realizeimpact.org
Entrepreneur in Residence and Instructor, Bainbridge Graduate Institute – http://bgi.edu
Organizer of #SocEnt Weekend – http://socentweekend.org
Advisor to a dozen early-stage ventures, plus two co-working spaces: Impact HUB Seattle and SURF Incubator, and an impact investment group, B Revolution Capital.
21 years of experience creating and building startups, five of which I founded or co-founded.
Specialties: Taking an idea, and running through the process from research to prototype to funding, team building, production, and sales to turn that idea into a company.
Advice and guidance on entrepreneurship at http://lunarmobiscuit.com
This is a guest post from Brian Foss, Author, Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century.
Governing a nonprofit and/or charitable organization is a responsibility many corporate executives and philanthropists are asked to undertake. While there is an honor associated with being asked to serve and lead boards of directors, there is also, often, a lack of clear direction for how one should strategically undertake this important role.To generate a better understanding of how to serve and govern a nonprofit organization, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., one of the most successful non-profit organizations in North America, has published Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century.
Written with insights from Members of Horatio Alger Association and highlighting best practices for nonprofit governance, this book stimulates new ideas to increase nonprofit success, ensure unified governance among all board members, and provide the tools to effectively lead charitable organizations. The Association undertook the development of this book based on its outstanding record of providing deserving young men and women with the opportunity to continue their education through its need-based scholarship program. Since 1984, the Association has given more than $100 million through its scholarship programs, which are wholly supported through private donations from Members and friends of the Association. As leaders and executives in various fields, Horatio Alger Members bring significant experience to strategic nonprofit governance, and it was this experience that compelled the development of Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century.
The personalized approach outlined in the book encourages organizations to create a clearly defined mission statement that is endorsed by all board members. A ‘one size fits all’ mentality does not – and cannot – apply in governing charities. Rather, creating a compelling mission statement that supports the specific goals of an organization will allow leaders to become more personally and professionally invested, ultimately leading to long-term organizational success.
Board members should be selected based on the organization’s specific needs, and all should be engaged to promote ownership and commitment to the financial success and good governance of the nonprofit. For an organization to enjoy long-term success, board members must strategically plan for the future with a focus on its tactical mission and fiduciary responsibility. The end goal is always to sustain an exemplary organization.
Evaluating all areas of organizational leadership, Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century pinpoints the ways in which boards of directors can significantly influence an organization’s performance. By developing a concise mission statement, establishing a unified board and taking a unique, organization-specific approach to creating a long-term strategy, nonprofit leaders can ensure long-term success. Although these best practices and recommendations may seem elementary, without them an organization may not reach its highest potential. With commentary throughout from the leaders of Horatio Alger Association, Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century offers a full scope of leadership guidance for those who wish to wisely and productively invest their time in a nonprofit organization.
To download a copy of “Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century,” please visit https://www.horatioalger.org/publications.cfm.
About The Author
Bringing more than 35 years of leadership experience to his consulting work, Brian Foss serves as a consultant to CEOs of nonprofit organizations to ensure that their mission, programs and services are effectively delivered. A graduate of American University, Foss has participated in professional development programs with the Center for Creative Leadership and Trustee Leadership Development and is a former recipient of the National Professional Performance Award from the American Society of Association Executives. In 2010 he authored a book on philanthropy, governance and volunteering, titled, Investing in People and Communities, which was published by Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Imagine raising $17 million in one day.
Using the Razoo platform, GiveMN, a statewide crowdfunding campaign for Minnesota nonprofits, did just that on November 14, 2013, when over 52,000 individual donors combined to set a record for the most money raised in a single day through crowdfunding (as far I can tell).
Habitat for Humanity upped its crowdfunding game in 2013, bringing to a total of more than $5 million the money raised at Share.Humanity.org (which is powered by crowdfunding site Fundly).
These are significant signs of the growing movement toward using crowdfunding as a meaningful source of financing for nonprofits.
Last year yielded an estimated $5 billion in global crowdfunding with about 30 percent of that total going to social causes.
But nonprofits aren’t the only ones using crowdfunding. With the SEC issuing late in 2013 new regulations under the JOBS Act, which was signed into law in April 2012, crowdfunding of investments is beginning. The general solicitation rules were in effect for the fourth quarter, allowing entrepreneurs and other issuers to publicly advertise securities offerings.
With new rules in place, crowdfunding platforms targeting social entrepreneurs began offering securities in 2013. Sites like MissionMarkets.com, ReturnonChange.com and GateGlobalImpact.com all launched in 2013 or are preparing to launch soon.
This opens the way for social entrepreneurs to raise capital from a new breed of impact investors—everyone! Crowdfund investing allows everyone to back mission-driven businesses. Imagine knowing that your money can not only do good, but also come back to you with a return so you can do it again!
As big as crowdfunding has already become, its potential dwarfs its past. Crowdfunded investments tend to be an average of 10 to 20 times as large as crowdfunded donations. As investment crowdfunding gains traction, its scale will quickly eclipse the scale of donation-based crowdfunding.
Infographicworld provided the following infographic for this article to help share the story of crowdfunding for social impact.
Courtesy of InfoGraphicWorld.
This is a guest post from Echo Garrett, Co-Founder/Board Chair of the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative.
Advocate for Underserved Youth/Wife/Mom/Speaker/Journalist/Co-Author of “My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change,” winner of the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ 2013 Arlene Eisenberg Writing that Makes a Difference award given every three years to the book that’s made the biggest difference in people’s lives. Check out her blog: aResoundingEcho.com and contribute to Orange Duffel Bag Initiative’s RocketHub campaign http://bit.ly/19udEOb!
Here’s her story:
In 2010, Sam Bracken and I launched the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, a 501c3 nonprofit that does certified life plan coaching with homeless, foster care and high poverty teens. To my knowledge, we are the only ones in the U.S. taking this approach to help our nation’s most vulnerable young people.
When our kids graduate our 12-week program, they get a laptop computer to help them bridge the digital divide. More importantly, they get ongoing advocacy from our family of advocates to help them overcome the many and sometimes seemingly impossible barriers that pop up as they work their plan for educational and career success.
Sam was homeless at age 15, and the name of ODBI comes from the fact that when he earned a football scholarship to Georgia Tech, everything he owned fit in an orange duffel bag. When he came to Tech, officials had no idea that they were getting a homeless teenager. When Sam and I looked at the attitudes and crazy barriers our teens and young adults face today, we were disappointed that so little progress had been made in the 30 years since he graduated Georgia Tech.
Sam knew from personal experience that it’s not too late for a teen – even one who has grown up in horrific circumstances – to dramatically change his or her life for the better. He made the decision at age 13 that he didn’t want to be like the rest of his drug and alcohol addicted family. His help came from lots of caring adults – the teacher who figured out he just need glasses when he was 13 and got him out of special education classes; the family that took him in after his mom abandoned him; the doctor who helped him send out his football films; Coach Bill Curry, who gave him the base for the transformational change in his life; a couple at church who helped direct him spiritually and opened their home to him over the college breaks when he was in danger of being homeless; and the list goes on and on. He created what I call a “family of the heart.”
More than 40% of the homeless in our country are age 18 or under. More than 1 million kids in K-12 are homeless. About 25,000 foster children age out of the foster care system each year. Most of them are 18-year-olds without one caring adult in their lives.
Other numbers are just as disturbing: 65% of children in foster care drop out of high school; 6% go to college; and less than 2% of that number graduate with a four year college degree; and 65% of the nation’s homeless have spent time in foster care while 75% of our prisons are filled with people who were in foster care at one point.
Study after study shows that those who age out of foster care each year are at high risk for homelessness, incarceration, sex slavery, drug and alcohol addiction, and early death. By the time former foster youth reach the age of 24, they have the highest rate of unemployment of any group in the nation with the exception of people with disabilities.
Our teens and young adults are our invisible homeless. We as communities have largely abdicated the responsibility to take care of the poor and most vulnerable among us to the Government. Nelson Mandela said, “"There can be no keener revelation of society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.“
So why am I telling you all of this? Because what Team Orange – our brilliant officers President Mike Daly and Vice President Diana Black, executive and life coaches, advocates, board members, volunteers, community partners, sponsors and donors – have created in just three years works. Our evidence-based program improves critical thinking. That means that our teens learn how to make better choices.
More than 80% of our teens have graduated high school or are on track to do so. Many of our 300 ODBI grads are now in college. What’s the secret? They have connections – people who care about them and cheer for them. They belong. We give them love and help them create their life plans.
How can you help? Join Team Orange and help us create a New Year’s Revolution in 2014.
It’s hard not to be excited by the increasing prominence of social entrepreneurship, social enterprises, and mission-driven businesses. But our excitement at the potential of innovative new ideas and companies shouldn’t lead us to neglect the untapped potential for all businesses to increase their social impact, even if they do not fundamentally change their business model.
What untapped potential is this? Let’s look at a few statistics:
These statistics raise perplexing questions: Given how many people donate to charity every year, and how much they donate, why does so little giving take place through the workplace? $4.8 billion represents about 2% of the $227 billion given by individuals. In so many other areas of our lives, from finances to health care, our careers have a massive influence. Why is it that our professional lives seem to have so little influence on our charitable giving? And why is participation down, especially when total giving is up?
Regardless of what kind of company you are, it is a safe bet that your employees possess a healthy dose of philanthropic energy. But too many companies are not harnessing this philanthropic energy via workplace giving programs and campaigns. For every dollar going to charity as a result of workplace giving programs, two dollars are getting left on the table. We could triple the amount of money raised in the workplace without doing anything more than getting employees to take advantage of opportunities already available to them. That we are failing to do this despite employees’ clear desire to give is cause for concern.
Photograph By Danka Peter
Bright Funds aims to change this. By leveraging the power of cloud technology, Bright Funds is giving employees the tools to become effective philanthropists at work. Built on the model of mutual funds, Bright Funds creates “funds” of charitable organizations working in six issue areas: education, poverty, the environment, water, health, and human rights. Each fund is a collection of some of the best nonprofits working on these issues. Funds are built through a rigorous process of vetting and assessment based on several criteria, including financial health, accountability, transparency, and peer survey ratings.
When employees give through Bright Funds, they do so with confidence that their donations are going to top organizations working on the causes that matter most to them. And they receive real-time updates on the results of their giving through an individualized “impact timeline” that provides direct evidence (in the form of photos, videos, and stories from those on the ground) that their donations are making a difference. Because Bright Funds’ platform is cloud-based, it is scalable and does not require lengthy IT integration. Employees can sign up and start doing good within 24 hours of their company partnering with Bright Funds.
Bright Funds is making high-impact charitable giving programs accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Where a company giving program based on thorough research and assessment of nonprofit effectiveness used to be out of reach for all but the largest, most successful companies, Bright Funds is empowering small businesses and startups with the kind of giving tools and programs we associate with corporate foundations run by Fortune 500 companies.
The case for bringing a flexible, robust, up-to-date workplace giving program to your business is a no-brainer. Not only does a strong workplace giving program mean that your company can increase its social impact, the evidence suggests that employees who participate in their company’s giving program are more likely to be engaged at work. And companies with engaged employees perform as much as 202% better than companies without engaged employees. In short, employee giving programs are a win-win for businesses: a way to combine “doing good” with “doing good business.”
To learn more about how Bright Funds is changing the way businesses “give back” and bringing corporate philanthropy and social responsibility into the virtual age, check out Bright Funds’ workplace giving platform, or follow Bright Funds on Twitter or Facebook.
This is a guest post from Matt McKinney, Co-founder & CEO of IntelRev.tv
Throughout history, all human progress can be linked to knowledge. With the proliferation of knowledge that is on the Internet, we should be in the middle of a vast resurgence in intellectualism that would rival the renaissance, but we are not. The media, which should play a watchdog role in the pursuit of truth, instead has found a way to concentrate intellectualism in the form of blatant advocacy or subtle omission in an effort to appease corporate sponsors. Education through media consumption is currently euthanizing our sense of both curiosity and interconnectedness as well as leaving us feeling helpless to change. We here at ‘IntelRev.tv’ are committed to changing this.
“The mission and commitment of our website is to assist in the evolution of humanity by providing quality information which stimulates critical thinking, personal growth, and direct positive action. We hope this solution-based information will spark a call to consciousness for citizens who share our concern for the future peace and prosperity of the world.”- Ty Loomis & Matt McKinney, Co-Founders of IntellectualRevolution.tv
Self-limiting and self-destructive beliefs have brought us to this critical point in history. The mindset we need is one that fosters a sense of common purpose, collaboration and abundance rather than fear and scarcity. It’s important to stop emotionally worrying about things outside of our control and start taking positive action for the things we can control. To assist with this process IntelRev presents the global issues from a non-corporate, freedom based perspective, which focuses on aggregating solution information from the worlds leading intellectuals on how to achieve personal growth and solve global challenges.
“We must become the change we want to see.” – Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi. One central focus to becoming the change is the inseparable nature of Liberty and personal responsibility. Before we can straighten the world around us, we must do a more difficult task, straighten ourselves. The company’s Flower of Life Heart Logo is the hallmark of this internal-revolution. The company symbol of heart consciousness is the means by which we take positive action in our lives, make ethical decisions and create abundance.
IntelRev currently has a special Indiegogo campaign running where they have curated over 1,200 Solution PDF’s & Info-graphics from the worlds top Intellectuals and Solution organizations. For the campaign they have partnered with Celebrities, Athletes, Intellectuals, Eco-Conscious Companies & Non-Profits, in an effort to raise awareness and capital, to sustain their operational expenses until their new website design is completed. Donating just a Dollar, provides an amazing return, with the vast solutions facilitated by IntelRev. Check out their campaign video and get a clear view of their vision here; www.igg.me/at/bethechange.
“We can’t change the world, but we can guarantee to spark the mind that changes the world.” Ty & Matt – Co-Founders
This is a guest post from Brian Childs, Managing Editor at Social Work License Map.
The internet can be a lonely place for a blogger hoping to change the world. How do you build an audience? Who are your peers? How do you connect with other creators for inspiration and collaboration?
At Social Work License Map we recently developed a dynamic product, Inspired Advocates, to connect websites working to make life better. Inspired Advocates is a new resource dedicated to creating awareness and community for social justice sites from around the world. Inspired Advocates will also help educate sites on how to grow their presence online through SEO, outreach and social media engagement.
How It Works
Any site can be submitted to Inspired Advocates and all sites will be reviewed and ranked by moderators for quality and relevance before inclusion. Then the submitted site is ranked using an algorithm that measures audience engagement, post frequency, domain authority and more. After this, the site is added to the Inspired Advocates list in a spot that reflects its ranking. Rankings are forty percent based on social media engagement, twenty percent on how frequently the blog is updated, twenty percent on domain authority based on the amount of sites linking to the blog, and twenty percent based on subjective factors such as capacity to inform and site presentation.
As far as submissions go, we are looking for sites that fit into a variety of categories. The blogs can either give a social work specific perspective on the category or give insight and news related to the issue that patients would find usable. The categories that we look for are as follows:
Through Inspired Advocates we want to make sure there is a place where social workers, their patients and advocates for change can find dependable resources and education on expanding their web presence.