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This category includes articles about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), typically including donations to or other support for nonprofit organizations.

Day 4 of the Fathom Cruise: Impact Increases

Today, day 4 of the Fathom impact cruise to the Dominican Republic, brings us to the crescendo of service and the peak of excitement for the trip. Today was the first full day in port, giving everyone on board an opportunity to tackle one service project or another. (See yesterday’s post for a summary of the options.)

Gail, my wife, and I volunteered to teach English to school children. We loaded buses at 8:00 AM for a surprisingly long ride—nearly 90 minutes—up into the mountains to an area called Cupay. There we arrived at a small school called “Centro Educativo Isabel Meyreles” with about 280 students. We visited the fourth grade class.

Centro Educativo Isabel Meyreles

Centro Educativo Isabel Meyreles

To begin, they welcomed us with a song and dance. Of course, we felt honored by that.

Then, we were issued English training books that we’d been trained to use on Monday and began mentoring.

In a quick and random match up, I was paired with Nathalie, a delightful little girl who already knew some English and proudly told me that her father spoke five languages, including English.
We had fun reviewing basic phrases like “Hello. My name is Nathalie.” She helped me design a simple matching game with flash cards to help her learn a dozen different responses to “How are you?”

As we worked, however, I noticed that was frequently being distracted by the two blonde 10-year-old boys who were part of the mentoring team. They were teaching students about their own age at the same table. For some mysterious reason, Nathalie was more interested in the boys next door.

Over the course of nearly an hour, we did make some real progress. She learned some new words, master pronunciation of others that were already familiar and practiced greetings and polite responses. It was fun for me and seemed to be a break from the routine for her to have a funny-looking, middle-aged American drop into her classroom to provide an hour of mentoring.
As I reflect on the impact of the day and the potential impact of the program across the months and years that it is intended to run, I see tremendous impact.

The students will have regular opportunities to practice language skills at an age when their minds have a natural facility with language and as such will be likely to actually learn English.
In addition, the activity gives ship’s passengers the opportunity to use a skill—their English—in a way that not only serves the community but does so in a way that the community can’t on its own.

The passengers are native English speakers and the teachers are not. Our volunteering doesn’t supplant the role of a teacher, but it does enhance the teacher’s ability to help the students learn English. No losers, only winners!

This model for service off the ship strikes me as a great one for expansion and application to other regions of the world where native English speakers like to cruise.

Day 3 of the Fathom Cruise: Impact Begins

Today we arrived in the Dominican Republic and began our work as volunteers.

Less than 48 hours after sailing from Miami, we arrived in Amber Cove, a recently redeveloped port not used by cruise ships in three decades. The port is simple, intentionally quaint and sufficiently modern.

Before arriving, we had another opportunity for training this morning. We reviewed Dominican history, culture and key traveler tips. The session was fun, with much of the session set up as games. The interactive format ensured that we all earned something. Don’t get me wrong, we won’t get college credit for this training, but we came away with a basic understanding of the country.

Upon docking, we were invited to a welcoming party celebrating the opening of the new port and the arrival of the first ship. Tara Russell, Fathom’s president, and Arnold Donald, Carnival’s President and CEO, welcomed the first passengers and thanked the local community for its support. A number of local dignitaries were present and the mayor of Puerto Plata, the nearby city.

The Adonia docked in Amber Cove

The Adonia docked in Amber Cove

Following the ceremony, we were off to impact activities. There were several to choose from:

  • Reforestation and Nursery
  • Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative
  • Community English Conversation and Learning
  • Student English Conversation and Learning
  • Water Filter Production
  • Concrete Floors in Community Homes
  • Creative Arts, Music and Sports
  • Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship

Each person was invited to sign up for three activities during the four days here in port. I cheated and signed up for four, one each day. The various projects and activities are all supported by two major, local nonprofits. Entrena was founded by a young American and his Dominican wife, John and Sobeya Seibel, after his stint in the Peace Corps in 1982. Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (almost always referred to as IDDI, pronounced like Edie) is a large nonprofit with six social and environmental missions.

Note that the cruise also offers traditional cruise excursions like zip lines and tours, but they are not included in the price of the cruise, whereas the impact activities are.

For today, I had signed up for the Reforestation and Nursery project. While not as deforested as Haiti, which is almost entirely deforested, the Dominican Republic is largely deforested and the country is working to reverse that. There are a variety of differences between Haiti and the Dominican Republic that make reforestation possible here and more difficult on the other side of the island, principally the use of wood and charcoal as cooking fuel in Haiti, which is less common on this side.

Fathom-IDDI Reforestation Project

Fathom-IDDI Reforestation Project

As we were the first regular participants (training and investigative groups have been doing preliminary work for some months) there were no trees ready for us to plant so our task was to plant seeds and seedlings in small bags that would serve as temporary pots for the nursery. In two to five months the trees will be ready to plant in their permanent homes. By cultivating the seedlings in the nursery, the plants are given a 50/50 chance of surviving, they facilitators explained.

As a group of about 60 people, we were allocated four hours for the project. We left the port at 2:00 and returned at 6:04, almost perfectly on schedule.

We did virtually all of our project work in about one hour. In that time, we planted seeds or seedlings for 1,373 trees:

  • 299 Palm trees
  • 274 Flamboyan
  • 425 Saman
  • 277 Sea Grapes
  • 128 Canafistula

Following the one hour of work, we took a break, had some light snacks and water. We followed that with a guided hike through the rainforest to help us gain some perspective on the reforestation work that we were initiating.

The pace of the work and the hike were similar, set to the capability of the weakest and slowest among us. For most, that made the afternoon rather light work and generally enjoyable.

For some of us who are passionate about driving impact, we found ourselves wondering—sometimes out loud—about the impact we’d had.

Ultimately, it is clear that if we’d each given $50 to IDDI, the organization could have hired a team to do more planting than we’d done. That said, the IDDI staff staunchly defended the model, emphasizing the value to them of having us come.

If we simply consider the alternative of cruising to Amber Cove to lay on the beach and compare that to the project we completed, it becomes clear that this does have a social benefit that has the potential to be meaningful. We put two groups of people together from significantly different cultures and worked closely together—not especially hard nor for very long—but we got to know each other in a personal way that would have been unlikely—if not impossible—on the beach. And of course, laying on the beach, no reforestation would have happened at all.

Perhaps the cruise isn’t so much about the help we give or the difference we make in the lives of the Dominicans but about the connections we make and the differences we make in our own lives.

Day 2 of the Fathom Cruise: Training for Good

Today was the second day of the Fathom impact cruise to the Dominican Republic. It was an “at sea” day that on a traditional cruise would be spent entirely at rest. Not on a Fathom cruise. An at sea day is just time to prepare for the service we’ll be doing later in the week.

First, each passenger was provided with a cohort and invited to attend an orientation with the cohort. This isn’t a “how to find your life preserver” sort of training, rather it is a session on developing empathy—not sympathy—for the people we serve, helping us to see them as human beings with the same passions we have.

Following the orientation, we got training in providing instruction in English as a second language. While my wife has a teaching degree with a certificate in teaching English as a second language, the rest of us did not and were quite pleased to get some preparation. We were, among other things, assured that we speak English well enough to be of help to students who speak virtually none. That was encouraging!

In the afternoon, we had optional advanced training based on Ashoka’s training built around the “Humans of New York” blog, again teaching us how to feel empathy for other people. The exercise involved getting us to listen deeply and thoughtfully to strangers—other passengers—so that we could really get to know them quickly.

These trainings were great reminders of things I’ve been taught effectively by the guests on my show over the past three years. We all fall into the trap of seeing a person not so much as a human being but as a caricature of the person they are. We look at outside manifestations of people, their hair color and style, the clothes they wear, their age, and we make decisions and judgments. We stop seeing individuals and drop people neatly into the categories we have in our minds for them: old, young, uneducated, elitist, religious, intellectual, etc. All nonsense.

Today, members of the media on the cruise were invited to a briefing with Fathom President Tara Russell and Carnival CEO and President Arnold Donald (Carnival owns Fathom). They are an impressive pair of leaders. They handled the press well, fielding questions from across the spectrum of interests from seasoned travel writers to impact folks like me.

This evening, we had dinner in the elite sea food specialty restaurant on board. Again, we got to spend time with Tara and Arnold. It is great to see them come together on this project. Tara doesn’t have a long history with cruising; her career has been in the impact space. Arnold, on the other hand, is the CEO of the world’s largest cruise line and he’s handed over a ship to someone in whom he has obvious confidence and with whom he shares a sense of purpose and passion.

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At dinner, one of the other journalists on the trip commented that the day had been “stressful.” I asked why and he reminded me of the workshops we’d attended (separately). His point was that the sessions had taken him outside of his comfort zone. It was great evidence that this cruise is not like any other cruise you or I have ever been on. While no one mistakes this cruise with a day at the office, the mood aboard the ship is one of preparation, not relaxation.

This Isn’t Your Grandparent’s Cruise Line

Fathom, a new cruise line owned by Carnival, got underway this week with its inaugural cruise. This isn’t your ordinary cruise; it is voluntourism writ large. With approximately 750 passengers on board, the MV Adonia will arrive at Amber Cove every other week bringing a small army of volunteers. For the inaugural cruise, Fathom invited a few journalists along, including me.
We set sail Sunday, April 17, 2017 about 4:00 PM from Miami headed to our single destination, Amber Cove, near Puerto Plata, a city founded by Christopher Columbus before 1500.
Passengers will have nearly four days for volunteering and fun, arriving on Tuesday afternoon and leaving for Miami on Friday afternoon. This approach also gives passengers an opportunity to spend time in the city in the evening, a rare feature on cruises (typically, cruise ships sail at night to be in a different port most days of a trip).

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One of the first signs that this cruise would be different was the set of “fair trade” toiletries we found in the bathroom. Fathom is working to ensure that there is integrity in the effort to do good on this trip.
This evening, Fathom’s President Tara Russell hosted a small group of journalists at her table, giving us an opportunity to get to know her better. We also met her family members who are traveling with her.
I first connected with Tara after my wife told me about Fathom nearly a year ago. Tara appeared on the Your Mark on the World show in an episode produced for Forbes here.
Tara is passionately committed to driving real impact, but recognizes the need for the business to be profitable without stealing passengers from other Carnival cruise lines.
One of the strategic ideas for Fathom was that by incorporating service they might attract younger passengers, including more Millennials, who hadn’t cruised before; it seems to be working. No longer in my forties, I am certainly among the older set on this cruise. Tara, who is about 40, appears to be about the median age of the passengers. During the muster drill the crew asked who had not cruised before and nearly every hand went up.

Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy

Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy

Aaron Hurst, the social entrepreneur CEO and Founder of Imperative and author of The Purpose Economy is on board. In fact, a copy of his book was waiting in our stateroom when we boarded.
The ship is full of socially-minded, good people and I’m looking forward to meeting them with hopes of telling their stories.
This week, I will do my best to provide a report on the activities each day. Internet access in the Caribbean is dicey so be patient if you don’t see a report.

Autism Nonprofit Generates Revenue 7 Ways

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Dr. Julian Maha founded KultureCity about three years ago, shortly after his son was diagnosed with autism. The diagnosing physician, Maha says, told him his son would likely have to be institutionalized. Motivated by that challenge, Maha set out to create a nonprofit that would actually drive greater impact in the lives of those affected by autism.

Maha really believes he is completely reinventing the model for nonprofits. Last year, Microsoft MSFT +1.03% launched Windows 10 with the #UpgradeYourWorld campaign I covered here. KultureCity was one of ten nonprofits recognized by Microsoft as part of that campaign, suggesting that Maha has created something different from typical nonprofits.

Maha asserts that the innovations he’s implementing at KultureCity make him “a true social entrepreneur.” He says, “ We are on a mission to fundamentally change the culture of how autism is viewed by society and to show the world that these individuals not only have potential but the means to achieve that potential.”

One of the key innovations that Maha has created is a diversity of revenue sources. He identifies seven different revenue sources:

  1. Angel Donations: large donors who fund overhead and provide an operating budget.
  2. Public Donations: funds raised from ordinary individual donors.
  3. Cause Marketing Products: KultureCity works with companies that create specific products that give back to the organization.
  4. Corporate Partnerships:  Maha explains, “We collaborate with companies that have products used by the special needs community. These partnerships then make us the de facto nonprofit partner of the companies.”
  5. Marketing Placement: KultureCity provides children with autism with “lifeBOKS,” a kit to help prevent wandering and related tragedies, like drowning. Marketing offers are packaged with the kit, providing the sponsoring companies with targeted branding opportunities that tend to garner good social media results, according to Maha.
  6. Business Incubator: The organization is now incubating businesses that help create jobs for people with autism and other special needs individuals. “Donations are used towards taking an idea from concept to market,” Maha says.
  7. Sensory Friendly Initiative: KultureCity helps make tourist attractions, businesses and community organizations sensory friendly. In return, these places hold fundraising events.

While it is clear that you could describe each of these as being a form of donation, there are seven distinct strategies for these donations.

Dr. Julian Maha with his wife Dr. Michele Kong, courtesy of KultureCity

Dr. Julian Maha with his wife Dr. Michele Kong, courtesy of KultureCity

KultureCity generated almost $500,000 of revenue last year, more than double the $183,000 it reported in 2014. The organization raised only $20,000 in 2013, its first year of operations.

There is a lot of work to do, Maha acknowledges. “For instance, work environments are not optimized for their success, and the culture is one that limits them because of their diagnosis. We are trying to change that by inspiring the community to see their potential and also to give the right tools to autistic individuals to help them not only succeed but be accepted fully by society.”

Maha sees the reinvention of the nonprofit model as being key. “The biggest challenge is to help society understand that the traditional nonprofit model is broken and in dire need of revitalization. Nonprofits need to be judged on their impact and also their ability to empower the populations that they serve. In addition, nonprofits also need to utilize their resources in a way that maximize impact and decreases organizational overhead.”

KultureCity’s social media presence suggest the company is playing above its weight, that is it may be having more impact than its revenues suggest it would. As of this writing it has almost 33,000 Twitter followers and 41,000 likes on Facebook, significantly larger numbers than most nonprofits of their scale in my experience covering the space.

Maha never loses sight of the fact that his purpose isn’t to remake nonprofits for its own sake, but rather to change the world for people with autism, giving them a “chance at a brighter future.”

On Thursday, April 7, 2016 at noon Eastern, Maha will join me for a live discussion about his innovations in nonprofit management and the impact that is having on his constituency of people affected by autism. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

 

Unicorn Launches Anti-Cancer Campaign With $1M Gift

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Qualtrics, a 2002 startup that since raised a total of $220 million in venture capital in 2012 and 2014 and considered by many to be a unicorn, recently made a $1 million donation to the Huntsman HUN -3.80% Cancer Institute.

While Qualtrics isn’t a social venture, it is interesting to see such an entrepreneurial company embrace corporate social responsibility so enthusiastically.

CEO and cofounder, Ryan Smith, says, “Everyone has been impacted by cancer in one way or another – whether they have fought it or they have a friend or loved one who is fighting. Our goal is to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth. We are honored to partner with Huntsman Cancer Institute to raise funds for cancer research — research that is changing the way cancer is treated, diagnosed, and fought.”

The company didn’t stop with its $1 million donation; that is just the beginning, Smith explains.

Qualtrics and Huntsman Cancer Institute partnered to launch Five for the Fight, a campaign inviting everyone, everywhere to give $5 to the fight against cancer and then to invite five of their friends to do the same. People write on their hand the name of someone who has fought cancer and pledge their $5 to the fight in honor of that person. They then post a photo or video to social media using the hashtag #fiveforthefight, tagging the five friends they are challenging to join the fight against cancer. They then head to fiveforthefight.com to donate.

Smith added that the donation was presented to Huntsman at the annual Insight Summit in Salt Lake City last week, where Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Mario Capecchi joined Smith on stage to present the check to Peter Huntsman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

Smith is serious, it seems, about curing cancer. “When cancer is eradicated, the world will be a very different place. When we look around and see how many children have lost a parent to cancer, or parents who have lost a child to this dread disease or people who have lost a spouse … the list goes on and on. With so many people fighting cancer and so many more impacted by it, we are eager to help in any way we can to support the amazing research being done to fight cancer and to find a cure for it,” he concludes.

On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, Smith will join me here for a live discussion about Qualtrics’ #fiveforthefight CSR campaign. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Qualtrics:

Twitter: @qualtrics

Qualtrics is a rapidly growing software-as-a-service company and the provider of the world’s leading enterprise survey platform. More than 8,500 enterprises worldwide, including half of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 business schools rely on Qualtrics technology. Our solutions make it fast and easy to capture customer, employee, and market insights in one place. These insights help our clients make informed, data-driven business decisions. Global enterprises, academic institutions, and government agencies use Qualtrics to collect, analyze, and act on voice of the customer, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, 360-degree reviews, brand, market, product concept, and employee feedback. To learn more, and for a free account, please visit qualtrics.com.

Ryan Smith, courtesy of Qualtrics

Ryan Smith, courtesy of Qualtrics

Smith’s bio:

Twitter: @ryanqualtrics

Ryan Smith co-founded Qualtrics in 2002 with the goal of making sophisticated research simple. As CEO, he has grown the company from a basement startup to one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world. Qualtrics has more than 8,500 enterprise customers including half of the Fortune 100, 1,600 colleges and universities worldwide, and 99 of the top 100 business schools. In 2012, Qualtrics received a $70 million investment from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, the largest-ever joint investment by these two firms. Additional funding was secured in 2014 to support the company’s continued product innovation and rapid international expansion. Insight Venture Partners led this $150 million round of new investment, with significant participation from original investors, Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

Ryan was named one of Forbes’ “America’s Most Promising CEOs Under 35” for 2013, is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Inc., The New York Times, TechCrunch and USA Today. He has also appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and FOX Business. Ryan is sought after for his business acumen and as such is a frequent guest lecturer at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

This Guy Is Responsible For Reducing The Impact Of CES

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

CES, that is, nerd heaven, 2016 just wrapped in Vegas. Over 6,000 members of the media attended. More than 170,000 people were at the event that covered over 2 million square feet of exhibition space. It was huge.

Now, I want you to imagine cleaning up that mess. Think about all the waste going to the landfill. My eco-friends are crying as they think about the environmental impact.

This is where Jeff Chase , V.P. of Sustainability for Freeman, the event planning organization that supports CES for the Consumer Technology Association, enters the picture. Chase explains, “Working with CTA, Freeman helped to create and manage a waste/recycling plan to help reduce the footprint of the event. Working with several recycling vendors and partners of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo Center we help find new ways to reduce the amount of items going to the landfill by working on an awareness campaign to exhibitors on how to reuse or repurpose left over materials.”

Chase says they even found ways to benefit local charities with their environmental programs. “Furniture, flooring, fixtures and building materials were all given to several different charities,” he says.

Some of the milestones reported this year include recycling half a million square feet of carpet, up 70 percent from the previous year. The balance over 1.1 million square feet was reused. Almost 28,000 square feet of vinyl banner materials were repurposed into tarps, hockey rink liners and outdoor movie screens.

The effort extended community-wide. “The Consumer Technology Assocation held a wonderful E-Waste program on Sunday at the Las Vegas convention center for the local residences to bring their old electronics to be recycled. This is the first year to offer this service and will continue next year,” Chase says.

On Thursday, January 14, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Chase will join me here for a live discussion about the efforts to reduce the environmental impact of CES. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Freeman:

Twitter: @FreemanCo

Founded in 1927, Freeman is the leading global partner for integrated experiential marketing solutions for live engagements including expositions, conventions, corporate events, and exhibits. Headquartered in Dallas, with over 70 offices in North America and the U.K., Freeman produces more than 4,300 expositions annually, including 135 of the 250 largest U.S. trade shows, and 11,000 other events worldwide. Customer-driven, Freeman offers a total package of solutions, with a scope of products and services unmatched by the competition. An employee-owned company, Freeman places an emphasis on respect for people and providing unparalleled customer service. Freeman has received numerous trade show industry awards for excellence in leadership, creative design, community service, innovation and customer-driven partnerships.

Jeff Chase, center, with representatives of charity partners from Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Teachers Exchange and Opportunity Village, courtesy of Freeman

Jeff Chase, center, with representatives of charity partners from Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Teachers Exchange and Opportunity Village, courtesy of Freeman

Chase’s bio:

Twitter: @GreenChase73

Jeff has been a passionate driving force on many sides of the trade show / event industry for 28 years. He spend his first 5 years as a General Services Contractor working in Nashville/Washington DC, and then got a job in California to take the position of Show Director for one of the largest tradeshows in the industry, and over the next 8 years he helped grow that show in the United States and launched it in Europe and Asia. Then he started his own event production agency which he ran successfully for 10 years and worked with clients such as eBay EBAY -4.00%, PayPal, Visa, Google and many others, then sold it to FreemanXP, the premier Experiential Marketing Agency. His current focus and passion is working as the Vice President of Sustainability. He works closely with many Fortune 100 companies like McDonalds, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and Autodesk to help them meet their goals for green/sustainable events. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC)

Teaming Up Locally to Help Out Globally

This is a guest post from Angie Stocklin’s, COO and Co-Founder of One Click.

It’s nearly 2016 and time to wrap up a season of giving. Family and friends gathered together to count collective blessings and to share food, stories and gifts. We are, as New Year’s approaches, entering the handful of days when we are all focused on making and keeping promises — about how to treat ourselves better and how to treat others like we treat ourselves. So, it’s the perfect moment to reflect on the ways we can and do give back; to think about how we share the fruits of our success with those who need help the most.

Our mission statement calls on One Click, from senior leadership to our entry-level team members, to “enrich lives by helping people find the eyewear meant for them.” For those most desperately in need, “the eyewear meant for them” means the reading glasses and sunglasses we provide at no cost through our partner in giving — Timmy Global Health.

Timmy Global is a local (Indianapolis) 501(c)3 dedicated to providing, improving and expanding healthcare and health-related programs in Latin America. Their goal is to establish long-term, sustainable programs to provide a variety of assistance including clean drinking water and on-site health exams. All of this is built around long-term, individualized profiles. Medical teams who visit every 2-3 months will come equipped with the medical history of their patients in order to provide the most effective, efficient care possible.

The fit for us is a natural one. We’re able to provide Timmy with reading glasses that can be crucial to a family in need when their means of earning a living depends upon being able to see up close, such as weaving or fine beadwork. We’re also able to provide sunglasses that serve both as protection from the brightness of the sun, as well as from diseases of the eye that arise from the accumulation of fine dust and plant particles.

For so many people around the world, being able to see through a reading lens or a UV tint means being able to perform vital work. When, for some, cost and availability of that eyewear is insurmountable, access to relatively low cost eyewear can become a matter of basic survival.

In our partnership with Timmy Global Health, we’re not just giving the eyewear to individuals; we’re giving eyewear to individuals so that they can continue to provide for their families. When their families are strong, it means that they can work together to make stronger villages. When those communities are healthy and vibrant, when they become thriving social and economic centers, they are less likely to need help so that Timmy can concentrate on bringing aid to the next community in need.

Because our partner is local, we’re able to make low-cost deliveries of high volumes of product without having to cut back on the amount of help we’re able to give. Which in return means that our giving can be more efficient, wide-ranging and, ultimately, helpful. And, just as importantly, we’re able to spend time getting to know the Timmy Global Health team. Sometimes, saying “hi” and “how are you doing?” leads to conversations that develop into decisions that lead to increased efficiency, bigger ideas and, most importantly, the ability to simply help as best we can.

So, in this season of promises — of introspection and dedication to bettering ourselves and the world around us — we are proud to renew our commitment to improve the lives of people in need. We are incredibly blessed to be in a position to help the less fortunate and grateful to have a local partnership so perfectly suited to making that help as effective as possible.

AngieStocklinHeadshot

About Angie Stocklin:

Twitter: @easterday77

Angie Stocklin, COO and Co-Founder, along with her husband Randy, of One Click, oversees business operations including customer service, order fulfillment, merchandising and vendor account management for felix + iris, Readers.com and Sunglass Warehouse.

 

New Online Course Teaches You How to Add Profit by Adding Purpose

Yes, this is a shameless plug for my new online course, but don’t stop reading, yet!

 

Over the past 18 months or so, I have produced five courses for online training company Pluralsight. Today, the site published the most recent of those courses, “How to Add Profit to Your Business by Adding Purpose.”

Over the past few decades, a transition has occurred that has changed the way most people think about social causes and corporate responsibility. The old-school notion that we make money at work and do good on our own time is just that, old school.

The cool kids are all integrating their lives such that their careers, investments, and consumer behaviors all align with their core values. Fewer and fewer people today are willing to go to work all day at a job they merely tolerate so that they can put food on the tables. People want to live on purpose!

Because of that demographic shift, companies can–some would argue must–incorporate purpose into their business strategies in order to reach the right employees and the bulk of customers who are willing to make purchasing decisions based on social causes.

The new course makes the case that companies can clearly add profits by strategically adding purpose to their business and goes on to explain exactly how to go about incorporating a cause into the business model to do so.

The course wraps up with a case study on Estee Lauder’s MAC Cosmetics brand, which thrives because of its decades long role in fighting the AIDS epidemic. Over the years, I’ve covered this story a few times for Forbes.

Now, I’ve compiled all of the corporate social responsibility wisdom I’ve gathered from my 25 year business career and five years of writing about social causes and corporate social responsibility into this new course on Pluralsight. You can take the entire course for free using a trial membership or for no additional charge if you’re already a subscriber.

Pluralsight is recognized as a tech “unicorn,” raising $135 million in their last venture round. It is also a notable example of a purpose-oriented business itself, working to enable learning at radically affordable rates.

New Collaboration Brings More CSR Coverage

One of my role models is a young social entrepreneur, Nidhi Singh, in India who has created a platform not unlike the Your Mark on the World Center to cover corporate social responsibility (CSR), social entrepreneurship, impact investing and philanthropy in India.

Nidhi reached out to me about six months ago to explore a collaboration between the Your Mark on the World Center and her platform, CSRlive.in. We are excited to be doing so, cross sharing content to give her audience direct access to our stories and our audience direct access to hers.

India recently passed a law requiring all corporations to do some CSR. Nidhi explains, “The new mandatory CSR law has opened up a world of possibilities for Corporate India to do good and contribute strategically to equitable, sustainable growth in India. So I would not say this is a problem, rather a tremendous opportunity that has materialized for all CSR & Sustainability professionals to work, collaborate and create real, on-ground impact with some real funds (INR 25,000 Cr/ $4.5 Billion annually) that are now available specifically for this purpose. There are many companies that have been voluntarily executing CSR projects but many more new companies (approximately 16,500) have now come under the ambit of the new CSR law. CSRlive aims to facilitate the process of optimum utilization of this CSR spend.”

Nidhi has ambitious plans for CSRlive. She says, “As an online platform dedicated to briging news, updates, policy changes, and expert opinions in the CSR & Sustianability sector; we promote best practises, thereby inspiring and encouraging more of the best to take a foothold, grow and expand. We facilitate connections between relevant stakeholders – for example – a genuine NGO looking to survive/scale up can present it’s case and funding requirements to a Corporate company looking for an authentic project that is aligned with their CSR policy. If there is a noteworthy activity in the CSR & Sustainability domain, CSRlive will be its voice. Going forward, we also aim to acknowledge best practises through CSRlive Change-Makers Awards.”

Nidhi has an inspiring vision for the future. “We believe in the power of a good story that is well told to engage and inspire people towards greater good! Getting transferred to the CSR division is still considered ‘Corporate suicide’ (though unadmittedly)- and CSRlive is committed to turning this around with its reportage and passion to connect and bring the right people to the right jobs and the right funds to the right organizations and individuals. The success of CSRlive will be in facilitating a change in mindset – which in itself is half the battle won,” she says.

On Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 11:00 Eastern, Nidhi will join me here for a live discussion about CSRlive and the promise of the new CSR law in India. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.


You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about CSRlive.in:

Twitter: @CSRlive_In

CSRlive is positioned as India’s credible, livewire news platform dedicated to the social sector and CSR practices presenting content that is delivered using innovative social media engagement, cutting edge technology and a sterling team of subject matter Journalists. We intend to create new benchmarks with frontline reportage on CSR, Sustainability, Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship. We aim to not only inform, but to establish long-term partnerships with different stakeholders, creating a synergy between available resources and needs of communities. Through CSRlive.in, we intend to give voice and strength to every noteworthy activity in this sector, whether undertaken by a small gram Panchayat or a large multinational Company. As a part of our long-term strategy, we will identify, analyze and acknowledge the best practices and the real change-makers in the social sector, through our proprietary Award modules.

Nidhi Singh, courtesy of CSRlive.in

Nidhi Singh, courtesy of CSRlive.in

Nidhi’s bio:

Twitter: @nidstertalk

Nidhi is a prominent Social Entrepreneur and a well known name in the field of Advisory and Communication in the sustainability space. She is a former Television Journalist and has worked with leading National Channels like Star News and TV Today Network in various capacities widely reporting on lifestyle, fashion and trends. As a successful entrepreneur Nidhi is co-founder of thecsrjournal.in, Indigreen – a fair trade, organic clothing label & The Green People of India (TGPI) – a collective of sustainable enterprises across India. Nidhi is very passionate about Yoga and is a long time practitioner of Kriya Yoga Meditation as taught by Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi).

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Devin D. Thorpe

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