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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

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Television Producer Calls On Nonprofits To Engage Those They Serve


Shelby Hintze, a television producer for NBC-affiliate KSL’s “The Browser” and “Sunday Edition,” called on nonprofits to engage those they serve in leadership, including paid positions.

Hintze is a powerful, successful leader at KSL, but she acknowledges her vulnerabilities as a person with a form of muscular dystrophy. She notes that organizations sometimes miss the obvious because they fail to adequately engage those they serve.

If members of the community were serving on boards or in executive leadership, she says, the organizations would make better decisions for the people they hope to serve.

Shelby Hintze

Shelby Hintze’s bio:

Twitter: @shelbs25

Instagram: @shelbs25

Shelby Hintze is a TV news producer in Salt Lake City. She is an advocate with the goal of elevating the voices of marginalized communities through intersectionality.


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These Two Have Been Working On Their Nonprofit For A Third Of Their Lives (4 Years)


Abby Levin and Lexi Thomas have devoted themselves to their nonprofit, Flowers for Powers, delivering flowers to people who need a lift. Inspired by the loss of both her grandmothers ten years ago, Abby and Lexi decided to spread joy.

Jumping on a trampoline in the backyard, they spotted flowers, crystalizing an idea. With donated flowers and low-cost vases, they deliver sunshine, most often to seniors, people in hospice care and others with grave diseases.

Their flowers bring joy but not because the flowers are so beautiful, it’s because they remind the recipient of the beautiful smiles of two remarkable girls who delivered them.

Interview with Abigayle Levin, Lexi Thomas, the Founders and Partners of Flowers For Powers.

The following is the pre-interview with Abigayle Levin, Lexi Thomas. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

The problem is we usually see people at their worst. Our goal is to put a smile or their face at help them get through this difficult moment.

More about Flowers For Powers:

Twitter: @flowersfpowers

Facebook: @flowersforpowers

Website: flowersforpowers.com

Flowers for Powers is a nonprofit organization that delivers healing powers through the gifting of flowers to those in need.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: Florists donate flowers. Currently Weis markets is donating. We get donations from the community to purchase vases and do walks. Tammy Schneider helped with legal filings, Vince Breuning with our website and Andrew Small with our logo and marketing materials.

Scale: Our moms help us with the deliveries. We cannot drive. Weis markets currently donate flowers. We rely on donations from the community to purchase vases. We have also been fortunate to have donated help with our website, logo and legal filings.

Abigayle Levin & Lexi Thomas

Abigayle Levin, Lexi Thomas’s bio:

Instagram: @flowers.for.powers

I started Flowers for Powers with my friend Lexi when we were in 4th grade. My grandmother, Gail Davis passed away from ALS in 2009 and my grandmother Judy Levin from breast cancer in 2008. Lexi and I discussed what we could do to help people who were suffering like them. At the time we were jumping on her trampoline and noticed the beautiful flowers outside. That’s when Lexi and I started Flowers for Powers. – Abby


Help us share the stories of those who are doing the most good in the world. Get an autographed book from Devin when you pledge just $2 per month. Visit helpdevin.org.

This Entrepreneur Partners With Elephants To Prevent Cancer

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Two years ago, Ryan Smith, founder and CEO of Qualtrics, launched a movement called “5 For The Fight” to end cancer. The effort has led to an unusual partnership with Dr. Joshua Schiffman at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and his research with elephants.

Elephants have about 100 times as many cells as humans. Every cell has some risk of becoming cancerous. Schiffman suggests that we should expect to see elephants die of cancer more often than humans, but we observe that elephants get cancer much less often. Schiffman’s research focuses on why that is.

Mike Maughan leads brand growth and global insights at Qualtrics and serves as the CFO of the 501(c)(3) charity 5 For The Fight that was created by Smith and his team. He says the movement has raised $2.5 million globally since the initiative was launched. Those funds are kept in the countries where they are raised.

For instance, the funds raised in Ireland were donated to the Cork Cancer Institute to establish the Dermot Costello Immunology Fellowship, named for the former head of European operations for Qualtrics, who passed away from cancer last year.

At the end of 2017, 5 For The Fight in the U.S. donated $250,000 to the Huntsman Cancer Institute specifically to fund Dr. Schiffman’s work with elephants. It turns out that they have 40 copies of the p53 gene; humans typically have only two.

Elephants Cindy and Janice back Ryan Smith and his young son, Dr. Joshua Schiffman, Jaron Allred, his son Clark (11), daughters Vienna (12) and Bethany (7), and his wife Joni Allred. CREDIT: DEVIN THORPE

“My view is that nature is always going to be smarter than people. Right. We can work as hard as we want in the laboratory. But the elephants have already figured it out,” Schiffman says.

His research focuses on trying to figure out how to either modify human genes to create more copies of this cancer-fighting DNA or to trigger the same body function another way. He was circumspect about putting a timeline on the research but hinted he’s making progress toward a drug.

The research is particularly salient to people with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, who have only one copy of the p53 gene and have a 90% or higher lifetime risk of developing cancer.

Jaron Allred is a preconstruction manager at Sure Steel, Inc. He and his three children—and several of his other relatives—all have Li Fraumeni. It was discovered when seven years after losing his sister to cancer, his mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor just a week before he was. Today, Allred’s cancer has responded well to treatment.

Allred’s colleagues at Sure Steel have rallied around him, joining the 5 For The Fight movement. Employees are now given the option to give $5 or more every pay period to the nonprofit. For some, it is about supporting a friend. For others, it is about family members who are fighting cancer themselves.

Qualtrics, for its part, has 1900 employees in 11 countries and have the option to participate, too.

Schiffman, who had cancer as a child and still sees patients, sees himself as a triple threat to cancer: cancer survivor, cancer researcher and cancer doctor. He’s grateful to his elephant partners.

The research on elephants requires occasional blood samples, but Schiffman can use blood drawn during routine exams and so imposes no pain or testing on the animals.

For the event, Qualtrics brought in two trained elephants—Cindy and Janice—to represent their kin who have participated in the research. The handler, Joey Frisco, expressed excitement about the role elephants play in the research and assured me that the elephants, soon to be retired from the circus, are healthy and well treated.

Update: Joey Frisco has, in the past, been reported to have mistreated elephants under his care.

Maughan says the 5 for the Fight board is considering a “substantial new grant” for Dr. Schiffman’s elephant research at the next board meeting. Schiffman, who says nearly 50% of people will get cancer in their lifetimes, hopes everyone will pitch in.

Smith echoes his thoughts, noting that the 5 for the Fight movement is about getting $5 each from 10 million people, not just big donations from Qualtrics.


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How To Organize The Perfect Fundraising Gala

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

For social entrepreneurs looking to upend the status quo and solve the world’s big problems, holding a fundraising gala may seem archaic or even offensive. Still, nonprofit organizations have been holding galas for generations—because they work.

Of course, a gala won’t work for every cause or organization. To begin with, your social enterprise must be a nonprofit. While necessary, 501(c)(3) status is not sufficient for a successful fundraising event.

To learn what makes for a successful gala, I gathered insights from five people who together have successfully organized events that have raised millions of dollars.

The experts are Carla Javits, the CEO of REDF; Fred Reggie, CEO of Fred Reggie Associates; Jordan Levy, chief external relations officer for Ubuntu Pathways; Brett Durbin, CEO of Trash Mountain Project, and Derek Rapp, CEO of JDRF.

Panel of experts CREDIT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE RESPECTIVE ORGANIZATIONS

Which Organizations Are Good Candidates?

If every organization is not a good candidate for a gala, which are and which are not?

Organizations must have a “base of supporters who are likely to be energized themselves,” says Carla Javits, whose REDF organization fund nonprofit social enterprises that help people to overcome homelessness and incarceration to return to productive, fulfilling work. The organization’s galas raised millions of dollars over an eight-year span.

She notes that an organization is a good fit when it has a project manager capable of planning and organizing such a big event.

Jordan Levy, whose most recent gala raised “almost $1 million” for the Ubuntu Pathways work in South Africa, explains why it is so important for an organization to have an existing base of support before attempting a gala. “There is overhead involved, and it takes a ton of staff time to plan and execute. A portion of the revenue needs to be predictable. If you don’t have an established network, a gala could be a risky proposition.”

Fred Reggie, whose firm helps to organize galas and other fundraising events for nonprofit organizations, notes that the cause is key. “Organizations that serve children (especially those stricken with devastating illnesses), the arts, hospice and healthcare are those that would tap into an affluent demographic that would feel comfortable in a gala setting.” He adds that galas in support of animals are also successful. Not surprisingly, having a celebrity-driven relief event works well, he says.

Brett Durbin, whose low budget galas have raised up to $300,000 with an average of just $25,000 in expenses, says almost any nonprofit can make it work “if there is a demand for such an event.”

Derek Rapp, whose national organization fighting Type 1 diabetes has chapters around the country that host galas. The key, he says, is to have volunteers who support the staff in planning the events.

Organizing the Organizing

Our experts suggest that planning begin well in advance, perhaps as much as 18 months for a big, first-time event. Levy notes that planning the next event starts with a thorough analysis of the last one.

One key, Javits points out, is to designate one person who is ultimately responsible for the event—someone “with good project management skills.”

At the outset, it is important to organize a planning committee that includes the staff and volunteers—including board members–who will be involved in planning and decision making. Never have a committee meeting without the decision maker; someone needs to be able to approve or reject every spending item, point of messaging or entertainment decision. If the committee meets monthly and a question arises for which no answer can be given, a month of work can be lost.

Before much work can begin, the committee should settle on a theme, financial objectives and contractors. Members of the committee should be chosen mutually—that is the staff should be comfortable with the choice of person and the person should be comfortable with the assignment—to run subcommittees for the key functions:

  • Finance and budget
  • Venue, food and beverage
  • Sponsorships
  • Speakers and entertainment
  • Ticket sales and registration at the event
  • Drawing or raffle
  • Silent auction
  • Live auction
  • Other donations and follow-up

If you choose not to do a drawing, silent auction or live auction, you obviously won’t need those committees formed but you’ll give up the potential revenue that comes from them.

Note that with nine sub-committees, the number of people involved in the planning for the event should quickly rise into the dozens. A few people may be willing to serve on two committees, but you’ll usually want volunteers to be focused on narrow but strategic items so as to keep them engaged but not overwhelmed.

At the first meeting, schedule all of the meetings the full committee will hold until the event. You may want to have less frequent meetings at first and more frequent, perhaps weekly, in the final month of preparation.

The theme chosen by the committee should be aligned closely with the mission and purpose of the organization—you’re planning a fundraiser, not a prom. Once chosen, everything else from the venue, food and beverages to the décor and entertainment should be in harmony with the theme. As Javits says, “Theme is critical. Apply maximum creativity to tying that to your programs: the meals, entertainment, décor, even location should be aligned with that theme which in turn illuminates your program.”

Reggie says, whatever else your theme does, “It has to scream FUN!”

“Don’t overthink it.” Ubuntu’s Levy offers this caution: “Your guests are people with busy lives and this is their evening. Don’t try to put in too much content. Keep the night short. Think about the type of evening you would enjoy. People want to be engaged, entertained and to have a good time. Keep the food simple, make it easy to get a drink and put your best messaging forward.”

Finance and Budget

The cost to do a gala—and the revenue it generates—will be different in Dayton or Little Rock than in Manhattan or San Francisco. Still, some financial metrics will be consistent across most events.

Javits and Reggie both suggest that a gala should generate about a 60% profit margin. Put another way, if the total revenue from all sources, including donations made at the gala, reach $100,000, you would expect to have spent $40,000 or less on all expenses from food and beverage to nametags and decorations.

This highlights one of the arguments against doing galas at all. Does too much of the money go to the venue and caterer? Javits suggests only having a gala if you don’t have another, “less costly” way to activate donors.

Presuming you go ahead, budget your revenue sources carefully. Reggie suggests the following revenue breakdown:

Revenue Breakdown CREDIT: DATA PROVIDED BY FRED REGGIE ASSOCIATES

  • Sponsorships: 10%
  • Ticket sales: 40%
  • Drawing/raffle: 10%
  • Silent Auction: 20%
  • Live Auction: 20%

Using this breakdown, all the costs of the entire event are covered by ticket sales. Others have suggested covering costs between sponsorships and ticket sales. In any case, you want the drawing and the auctions to generate cash for your mission not your chicken.

We’ll discuss the drawing in more detail below, but it is important to note that the revenue you can generate from a raffle or drawing will vary considerably according to what’s legal in your state. If charitable gaming is allowed and is culturally accepted, you could raise much more than 10% of your revenue this way. On the other hand, in states that virtually ban all gaming—even for charity—it may be tough to generate 5% of the night’s revenue while complying with rules that require you to give free entry tickets to anyone who asks. Some states ban raffles altogether.

Early in the preparation phase, the finance and budget committee should prepare a detailed budget for the event, ensuring that no expense is overlooked.

Venue, Food and Drink

The biggest expense and one of the most strategic aspects of a gala is the venue. Typically, the venue will require you to use their kitchen—and perhaps bar. Do not make this decision lightly.

Reggie suggests, “Someone from the organization who is experienced and possesses strong negotiation skills should be involved in finalizing arrangements with the venue. There is always room for negotiation – nothing is ever set in stone. Also, have two or three options whenever possible.”

Durbin notes that the hotel that hosts his event has agreed to do it at cost!

Levy argues for choosing a place that is elegant already. “The less you have to “transform” the space, the lower your overhead will be.”

Javits says the choice of venue should be guided by proximity and convenience to the “highest value attendees.” This includes adequate parking. She adds that it should also be accessible to disabled individuals.

It is also important for the venue to be the right size for the event, including staging for the program and tables for all the participants, along with displays related to the mission, the auction and raffle items. Having the event in too large a space can make a successful event feel like a failure because you didn’t fill the room.

Gala Venue CREDIT: DEPOSITPHOTOS

Rapp suggests using traditional venues. “While we do at times use non-traditional venues, the majority of our events are held in either a hotel or a convention center space.”

Reggie explains why that may be. You need a “seasoned, competent staff, including an on-site manager, to ensure everything the venue promises is delivered without hitches.” He also notes that you’ll want access to the venue in advance for set up.

Finally, it is important to have the right audio-visual equipment. This may require contracting with a venue-approved supplier. Plan—and budget—for a/v up front.

Trash Mountain Project is a Christian ministry. Durbin says they’ve never had adult beverages at one of their events. Most galas, however, include a cocktail reception and wine with dinner. Hotels will typically handle that for you.

Reggie notes that liquor may represent an opportunity to find discounts or sponsorships.

With respect to appetizers and dinner, Javits reminds you to have vegetarian/vegan/gluten free meal options available for those who want them.

Javits also says, “We started serving ‘family style’ dishes that people need to pass around the table instead of plating the meal upfront. People liked that. It added a sense of fun and interactivity.” She also suggests passing appetizers early when people arrive but to not make them too heavy.

Reggie emphasizes creativity.” Of course, food can range from a Texas barbecue to an array of delicacies provided by a cadre of local well-known chefs served buffet style to a multi-course plated dinner.”

“If the tickets are over $100, don’t expect everyone to be thrilled with a warm salad, cold soup, rubber chicken with green beans and potatoes, and a piece of carrot cake already on the table,” Reggie adds.

Levy, who you’ll remember raised almost $1 million at his last gala, cautions, “Keep it simple!” He notes that the food needs to be served quickly, while still hot, to hundreds of people. “Don’t get too fancy.”

Remember, Levy says, “They are not there for the food, but they should enjoy it.”

The JDRF gala includes a unique touch: “the listing of carb counts because carbohydrates are so important in the management of T1D.”

Be sure the food, beverages or venue don’t conflict with your mission. Look for opportunities to tie your food to your theme.

Sponsorships

Finding sponsors is an important step. The more costs that can be funded by sponsors, the fewer costs to be funded by your donors—you want their money to go straight to impact.

Your board should be a great source of contacts for sponsorships, according to Javits.

Reggie breaks his sponsorship planning into four categories. Look for sponsors in all these places:

  1. Past sponsors: if you haven’t had a gala before, look at those who sponsored similar events.
  2. Affinity sponsors: look for companies that have aligned with your mission.
  3. Activation sponsors: there may be organizations willing to pay, in addition to an upfront fee, an additional fee after the event for leads or conversions generated from the event.
  4. Prize/auction sponsors: many charities look to have all their auction items and raffle items donated. You can then recognize those who do donate those items appropriately when their item is auctioned or raffled.

He also suggests functional sponsorships, i.e., “title, presenting, decorations, tables, meal, bar service, food, printing and parking.”

Anyone willing to make the pitch can, but it is best to be prepared with “a structured presentation” that makes the benefits to the sponsor clear, Reggie says. Adding, that it is best if the pitch is made by those who are “adept at sales and negotiations.”

Ubuntu’s Levy warns, “It often takes years to build the right relationships and the necessary network. It’s about constantly searching for new relationships, maintaining relationships with your supporters and promoting your brand.”

Brett Durbin, who has successfully leveraged a modest budget approach to gala success, boasts great success with sponsors. “We have always had one or two underwriters that cover the entire cost of the event, which is a very big deal because then anything else that is raised goes to the work of our organization.”

Sponsorships vary dramatically in size, from a company donating a gift basket for a drawing up to organizations that can write six-figure checks to sponsor an event with 1,000 of New York’s power elite. Start where you are and work up from there.

Speakers and Entertainment

Putting on a program that is as fun and memorable as it is inspirational is a key to getting the right people at the event and for getting them to open their wallets once there.

JDRF’s Rapp says, “Our Galas are a great party for an extremely worthy cause. From the start of the evening, we consider the guest experience for all donors. We respect their time, have auctions filled with items that appeal to their tastes, provide a well-timed program and post-event entertainment.”

Speakers should have a connection to your cause, both Rapp and Javits note. In fact, your program beneficiaries make great speakers. You’ll want to choose those who are willing to accept coaching.

Celebrities make great emcees, Javits notes. She suggests getting speakers and entertainment donated.

Dan Clark, keynote speaker CREDIT: COURTESY OF DAN CLARK

“Keynote speakers should be knowledgeable about the organization, its mission and its contribution to the community,” Reggie says.

He also cautions that if humor is considered, it should be delivered only by a “seasoned humorist” who will be sensitive to the audience. “There is nothing worse than having a board member or supporter who thinks he or she is a comedian and wants to give it a try at the event. I cannot count the times I have seen this blowup and ruin an otherwise wonderful evening.”

Levy says the key to a good speaker or entertainer is engagement. “Can they get the audience involved? That is the absolute number one. Galas can be stiff and formal. The crowd needs to be drawn in and pumped up. Stage presence and connection are key.” Of course, the message must still be aligned with the organization’s mission.

Durbin eschews professional speakers and entertainers, instead flying in people from the communities Trash Mountain serves in the developing world to talk about how the organization has impacted their lives.

He also says, “We try to make it engaging, and not too long because the fun is lost if it goes on forever.”

Ticket Sales

Javits explains the strategy for not only filling the room but filling it with the right people. It starts by “carefully targeting invitees.” Use your board and other supporters to help you identify and invite people who are capable of and likely to give. Then tie the gala theme, venue and program to the interests of the participants you most want there.

Reggie agrees. Everything from the food and drink to the décor and the venue must contribute to the branding of the event.

He suggests asking the following questions to help identify the right people:

  • What motivates them?
  • What other events do they support?
  • How does that align with this event?

“Big hitters in any community are well known; zero in and learn what makes them tick. Invite those who socialize together or who have strong professional ties,” Reggie says.

Levy notes that while some organizations can pull off events with an A list entertainer, most cannot.

“In our case and in the case of most organizations, it takes years to build a network capable of filling the room,” Levy says. “A gala is not only thrown in a night. It is built over years; you must engage supporters, prove your impact and convince them that their investment in your gala will provide returns for the beneficiaries—and that you consistently throw a great party.”

Durbin says that Trash Mountain Project starts by inviting people who are already supporting the organization, knowing that many will invite friends and fill tables. He also promotes the event through local churches.

Rapp says it is the responsibility of the JDRF volunteers to fill the room. “Whether they are corporate or social table focused, the volunteers spend time partnering with our staff in the recruitment of sponsors and tables to fill our ballrooms. Once the tables are secured, the conversation shifts to determine who exactly should be filling the seats at these tables.”

Many organizations use table captains to fill the tables. Javits says, it is their job to invite and encourage the right people. Their role also includes making sure the evening is enjoyable for those who attend, to diplomatically educate guests about the organization and encourage giving.

She says, “A good Captain is eager and excited about the job at hand, takes in coaching well, and is not overly apprehensive about playing the role.”

“Table Captains are the ambassadors for the gala. They are the movers and shakers within the community and within their social and business circles,” Reggie says. “Their responsibility should not be limited to filling their table but to promoting ticket sales at every reasonable opportunity.”

“Table hosts play a very important role at our galas,” Rapp says of the JDRF events. “These people are champions of the cause and of the event itself, passing along information to their guests and setting up an expectation for the night. They lead by example with their giving and bring along guests who can make a similar impact.”

Pricing tickets right is also important. As discussed earlier, you want the event costs fully covered by ticket sales and sponsorships, so all the money raised at the event goes directly into funding the mission of the organization.

Reggie says tickets should be priced appropriately for the audience but never below $100. Still, Durbin has had success with his events and charges just $30 per ticket—after having all the costs underwritten.

Rapp notes that JDRF chapters typically look at the prices charged for similar events in their community to provide a reference point.

Javits points out that pricing should consider the sponsors and others who would like to buy a whole table.

However you choose to price your event, be sure to build and stick to your budget so costs don’t exceed your revenues.

Drawing or Raffle:

The drawing or raffle may be one of the most exciting parts of the evening if done well but can ruin the entire event if rules are not followed and someone is upset, or authorities catch wind.

A few states, including Alabama, Hawaii and Utah ban raffles in any form. It may still be legal to hold an incidental opportunity drawing but be careful. There are three elements to gaming: a prize, a chance and price. By eliminating one of the three, you may avoid gaming. For a charity drawing, it may be easiest to eliminate the price for some participants. Just provide easy to follow instructions for acquiring a free ticket—send in a postcard asking for one. Few if any would ask for a free ticket to a fundraising drawing. (Don’t rely on this guidance as legal advice.)

Still, in these states that ban gaming, it is best not to rely on a raffle or drawing for a significant portion of your fundraising.

In states where charitable gaming is allowed or even encouraged, you’ll likely need to start with obtaining a license. Put that high on the list of things to do early as it may take months to obtain. In that process, you’ll learn the rules about promoting the raffle and the disclosures required. In these states, the raffle could be the biggest fundraiser of the evening.

Reggie offers the following strategic advice:

The prize for the drawing should be significant – a car, a piece of custom-made jewelry, a luxury vacation, fine artwork – with a few substantial secondary prizes. Organizations would be well-advised to avoid items like fur coats or any exotic animal skins or pelts, big game hunts (especially in Africa), guns of any kind, and live pets. These items can draw unwanted attention and possible protests from advocacy groups. Always play it safe.

If tickets are made available to the public, regardless of attendance, begin selling them about eight weeks prior to the giveaway. Offer an “Early-Bird” prize for those purchasing tickets by a specific date. Experience has shown that raffle ticket sales are high at the beginning of the selling period and gradually taper off and pick up during the final two weeks with a surge in the final week.

Make it easy to buy tickets. If online ticket sales are allowed, have a link to a secure purchase on the organization website. You cannot mandate that ticket purchasers need to be present to win. There will always be a few members of the organization who will be willing and very capable of selling a good number of tickets to friends and associates.

Silent Auction

A silent auction, unlike the live auction with an auctioneer calling out prices and pointing at bidders who may bid silently, is traditionally managed with a clipboard and a pen. Items available in the auction are displayed or described and a nearby sheet allows bidders to write in their bids throughout the evening.

In the past ten years as smartphones have become ubiquitous, a number of apps and websites have popped up to bring the process into the modern age. This allows the bidding to continue more easily throughout the program. Guests can be reminded to bid without sending folks out of the room.

Some apps are expensive, however. Some tech-savvy guests don’t like to download new apps without vetting them first or may not be willing to use the app over privacy concerns. Less tech-savvy members may still be intimidated by technology—including some of your biggest donors. Consider all these factors when choosing how to run your silent auction.

As noted above, you’ll want to get your auction items donated. You can recognize the donors as sponsors, being careful to recognize the donor of a luxury vacation you can sell for $5,000 more than someone who donates a $100 gift basket.

Reggie cautions you not to let your silent auction become a garage sale for items that have been collecting dust on a retail shelf or in someone’s home. Auction items should match the demographics and lifestyles of the guests.

In addition to creatively displaying the items to be auctioned, be sure to have fully adequate written descriptions so guests know exactly what they are bidding on.

Durbin says his organization doesn’t raise a lot of money with the silent auction, but they use it to advance the mission and message by selling art and photography that represents their work, helping families escape lives based around picking garbage out of trash piles.

Rapp says the JDRF silent auctions are filled with “high-end, quality items. We truly focus on quality over quantity.” One key to success, he highlights, is a thorough evaluation of what sold and what did not, and which items had the most bidding. Unpopular items can be avoided in future years. “We want our guests to have the opportunity to bid and buy items that appeal to them.”

Live Auction

The success of a live auction depends on the auctioneer. “Hire a professional,” says Reggie. Levy agrees, noting that “if you can create an atmosphere with a good auctioneer, it works.”

The auctioneer will organize spotters in the audience to help identify bidders. You’ll want to alert the auctioneer in advance to the faces and names of some of those you hope may be writing big checks.

Reggie notes, too, that the live auction items should also be displayed, and guests should be encouraged to check them out before the auction begins.

Levy and Rapp both emphasize finding truly unique experiences for auction, things people can’t buy anywhere else. Optimally, you’ll tie this into your mission in some way.

Reggie also suggests encouraging you to get peers to compete in the auction; this begins by making sure that friendly rivals are both in attendance. “Many people enjoy showcasing their generosity around friends and business associates.”

“During live auctions, it is not unusual to have friends engaged in a heated bidding war against one another,” Reggie says.

Donations

After all the fun and games that are used to raise money, there is one final opportunity to raise money simply by asking for donations.

“On the night, the key is to make your pitch relatable,” says Ubuntu’s Levy. “People need to connect to your cause on a personal level. You need to create a story about your work that shows them that this relates to their life. For example, if you are helping children, it needs to be clear that children all over the world need the same things. This gets everyone thinking about what they would want for their children if they were in the same situation.”

Javits from REDF says it is important to profile your beneficiaries. Have them prepared to share their stories both one-on-one at tables and when mingling and then from the stage as well.

Durbin agrees. “Story is number one. Using story to share your vision is key.”

Treat the beneficiaries as guests of honor, Reggie says. They represent your mission.

Javits also notes that donors love to know where their money will go. If you can give them a clear message that a $1,000 contribution will be used to accomplish a specific sort of thing, that’s great. Even better if you can give a donor the opportunity to choose one person, one school, one village, one solar panel, one whatever that his or her money can fund. Charity: Water is great at giving donors reports on the individual wells they funded.

Reggie notes that “Everyone needs to feel like their participation is serving the community in a spectacular way. Attendees need to feel that they are the stars in a great movie – your movie.”

Rapp reminds readers that the speeches, videos and other media need to keep reinforcing the mission of the organization so it is never lost.

Another way to use large donations, Javits says, is to leverage them as matches. Announce that the next $5,000 in donations will be matched by this particularly generous donor.

Follow Up

After planning for your big event for a year or more, it is tempting to think of the day after the event as the first day of vacation, but our experts caution that following up after the gala is a critical part of the event.

Start “as soon as possible,” Levy says. “If you’ve thrown a successful event, your guests will be engaged and excited to speak with you. Call and email the next morning.”

After the gala, Rapp says the JDRF ensures that all guests are acknowledged for their support. “We also ensure that they are aware of updates in T1D research and future gala dates using email and social media correspondence.”

Trash Mountain’s Durbin concurs, noting that everyone who buys a ticket or attends their galas provides some contact information; his team follows up with everyone.

Reggie suggests sending letters to everyone who attended, expressing appreciation, reporting on the total raised and crediting them with the evening’s success. He also suggests using this opportunity to get next year’s gala on their calendar.

The follow through really needs to continue throughout the year, updating guests on the use of funds, progress made and plans for the next event.

Reggie also suggests sharing photos of the evening on your website and social media. Tagging guests in their photos can help them feel appreciated in the days following the event. The faster such photos are posted, the better.

Final Thoughts

The senior leaders of the organization need to have a full roster of all those who contributed to planning the gala and the roles played. Some of them will be working entirely out of sight of those senior leaders; they too will want to be recognized.

Make time during the gala to thank the volunteers and staff who organized the gala. You may even want to consider a relaxed social—a pizza and root beer sort of affair—following the gala to recognize the volunteers and their families who supported them.

Durbin, whose budget galas raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for his small organization, offers a word of caution. “Galas are either great for your organization or can be a major drain to your team and volunteers, you must find a balance that is beneficial to the work you do.”

Still, JDRF’s Rapp offers this assurance, “I’ve been to many Galas, and when the night is well thought through and details considered, and nothing left to chance, magical things can happen.”


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How The 2016 Election Changed This Humanitarian Organization

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

“The humanitarian flag that we had been waving was a privilege that we could no longer afford,” Sera Bonds, 44, says as her board and staff at Circle of Health International decided to increase their activism for women’s rights following the 2016 election.

Activism is in her blood. As a teenager in 1992, with her parents, she attended a National Organization for Women march in Washington, DC. “There was one issue in our family that was abortion and both my parents were very pro-choice,” she explains.

But when she launched the nonprofit, one of her early lessons was that she would have to choose between leading a humanitarian organization or human rights organization.

After finishing her master’s degree in public health, Bonds decided to pass up an opportunity to go work in Afghanistan for a large NGO and instead move with her boyfriend—now husband—into her mother’s Airstream trailer to live cheaply and launch her own organization instead.

After defining mission and purpose, her board encouraged her to tackle two initiatives at once—one easy and one hard. The easy one they chose was midwifery in Tibet. After hearing that, I couldn’t wait to hear what the hard one was. Be sure to watch the full interview with Bonds in the video player at the top of the article.

Sera Bonds, Circle of Health International CREDIT: CIRCLE OF HEALTH INTERNATIONAL

The more difficult project, which ultimately turned out to be much easier, was working on the West Bank to help Palestinian women cut off by the construction of border walls identify and develop alternative access to healthcare, especially for delivering and caring for babies.

Both projects were successful and resulted in funding to do more work.

While in Tibet, the local leader of the NGO with whom she had partnered, sat her down and explained that she had a choice to make. She couldn’t be, he said, both a human rights organization and a humanitarian one. In places like Tibet, human rights organizations would not be welcome.

She decided then to build a humanitarian organization.

Circle of Health International, often abbreviated COHI, provides disaster relief, supplies, professional training and sustainable livelihoods for women in crisis situations. The crises may include conflicts, natural disasters, extreme poverty or the challenges of migration facing refugees.

Since its founding in 2004, the organization boasts of having helped three million women domestically and internationally. They have worked in Sri Lanka, Louisiana, Tibet, Tanzania, Israel, the Philippines, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Oklahoma, Nicaragua, Sudan, Haiti and Afghanistan.

Eric Talbert, the western regional director for MedShare, has worked with COHI to provide medical supplies to communities in need so they can access health care. Recently, the partnership has included a response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico; they continue working there to strengthen the health systems for women and children, having sent enough supplies to care for 12,000 people.

“Based on Sera’s vision, leadership, and integrity COHI provides maternal and child health in partnership with the communities they serve, from Sierra Leone to Southern Texas, which is based in healthcare as a human right so that women and children have access to the care they deserve, the kind of care that is grounded in dignity and respect, the kind of care we want our family and friends to receive,” he says.

After the 2016 election, which she views as a threat to women’s rights and to the LGBTQI community, Bonds and her team felt they couldn’t be “shy” anymore. Still, she admits, they are subtle. “Some people don’t even realize it’s happening or that we’re doing it.”

Today, Circle of Health International is working on the U.S.-Mexico border to send clinical volunteers to help with family reunification and asylee support.

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This Pioneer In Social Enterprise Still Leading Innovation After 3 Decades

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Echoing Green has been investing in social entrepreneurs and innovation for nearly three decades. One lesson stands out, says President Cheryl Dorsey: “The leader is the secret sauce of any great social enterprise.”

Throughout its history, Echoing Green has been granting fellowships to innovators who had little more than an idea to change the world. Its accumulated data suggests it’s working.

The nonprofit organization approaches its grantmaking with the mentality of a venture fund, seeking to invest in leaders who will have a big impact. Since 1987, the organization has backed 798 “fellows” who have done work in 85 countries and 39 US states. Those fellows and their organizations have gone on to raise over $5 billion.

Echoing Green reports that 70 percent of the organizations launched by their fellows between 1990 and 2015 are still in operation today. Additionally, 80 percent of the fellows still work in the social sector—and many of the rest work in academia, government and health care.

Among Echoing Green’s alumni are the founders of successful organizations like Teach For America, City Year, One Acre Fund, SKS Microfinance and Public Allies.

Dorsey is an extraordinary example herself. She won an Echoing Green fellowship in 1992—a decade before joining the organization’s staff. A Harvard-trained medical doctor, she applied for the grant to help launch The Family Van, to serve Boston area residents in the African American community, who at the time had the third highest infant mortality rate in the country.

Today, Dorsey’s co-founder, Nancy Oriol continues the work, now having made about 108,000 visits, preventing illness for an estimated 5,648 people.

Dorsey explains what it meant for her to receive the fellowship. First, she points to the “cachet and the imprimatur of receiving the accolade” as “a signal to the world that you were an up and coming leader worth paying attention to.”

She is also grateful for the guidance she received that helped her “fail fast in many ways” while mentors were “providing pearls of wisdom that they had learned before.”

Cheryl Dorsey, Echoing Green CREDIT: ECHOING GREEN

“The entrepreneurial journey is a tremendously lonely and hard one,” she says, highlighting a third aspect of winning the fellowship that proved to be valuable to her. “Feeling a little less alone made a world of difference.”

Others have had existential experiences with their Echoing Green fellowships.

Kathleen Kelly Janus, a lecturer on social entrepreneurship for Stanford and author of Social Startup Success, says, “I interviewed dozens of successful social entrepreneurs for my book, who told me that they literally would not have been able to start their organizations were it not for the early support of Echoing Green.”

Sonal Shah, professor of practice, executive director, Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, sees the influence of Echoing Green in its willingness to consider candidates early on.

“Echoing Green invests in people and their ideas before they are sexy or popular or trendy,” Shah says. “They are many times the only organization that invests in ideas before they are completely formed. They help fellows improve their ideas and refine them. They create a community of support, which is so critical when starting as a social entrepreneur — fellows around the world are taking on issues in their communities that sometimes no one is doing.”

Shah, remarkably applied for a fellowship not once but twice without winning and still became an active supporter, serving as a judge and mentor. She has even hired some Echoing Green fellows at the Beeck Center. Of her application experience, she says, “The lessons we learned from the application gave us great insight. It taught us to be clear about our message. It taught us to write proposals. It taught us for our own application process. We were always grateful for our Echoing Green experience.”

Shah’s experience highlights the competitive nature of the fellowships.

Dorsey took a few minutes during our visit (you can watch the entire 23-minute interview in the video player at the top of the article) to describe what Echoing Green looks for. It goes beyond, “We know it when we see it.”

First, is passion. “You know, if you can look across a table and ask this person why do you do what you do and the answer literally jumps off the page or across the table from you and it’s almost palpable–you can feel the heat in the room as the person is talking about why they cannot not do the work.”

Second, is the potential for transformative change. She notes, “There are lots of different leadership approaches we’re looking for a particular type of social change leader–transformational leader–someone who is disrupting for good, who has a fundamentally new way of thinking about a problem.”

Third, intriguingly, is “stickiness.” She explains, “We have a term that we call ‘resource magnetism’ that is different than charisma or how we typically think about charisma but it’s the ability of the leader to mobilize others, other people, other resources, cash, volunteers, media attention, maybe other evangelists for your cause.”

Another lesson: “After 30 years of supporting leaders around the globe, it’s clear that those closest to the problem are often closest to the solution.”

Dorsey says, “we are fiercely proud of being a fellowship program, meaning that we will always back the leader.” Echoing Green is now gathering applications for 2019 fellows.

After three decades, Echoing Green’s relentless focus on finding the three key ingredients for the secret sauce–passion, transformational leadership and resource magnetism–drives its continued relevance in social innovation.

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This Young Haitian Journalist Is Out To Change The World


Daniella Jacques has recognized from her earliest memories that women face challenges in the world that men don’t face, don’t understand and seem not to care about. Women are often not even in the room when men do talk about their issues.

She says it is time that women were part of the discussion. She launched Women’s Dophen News to be a platform for news relevant to women, not only in Haiti but around the world. She is already publishing in four languages, Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and English.

My take: Daniella Jacques will change the world and her name will become very familiar.

Interview with Daniella Jacques, the CEO-Founder  of Women’s Dofen News .

The following is the pre-interview with Daniella Jacques. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

Traditional media offer no space for women to flourish, be heard and participate. Even the most competent women are not consulted in times of great decisions for the country. Before Dofen News, there was no online media dealing with all issues in any relationship with women. With this platform we have and put women in front of the stage. The problem of marginalizing women is taking a step back. Female figures are prominent in the media. We impose their voices and bring other media to do the same.

Daniella’s Website:  daniellajacques.online

More about Women’s Dofen News :

Twitter: @DofenNews

Facebook: facebook.com/dofennews

Website: dofen.news

Dofen News is the first and unique digital platform media, dedicated to women in Haiti. It’s driving change by empowering women. Through this platform we highlight all women’s achievements, their daily lives, the challenges they face and we are also a force of proposals to move things forward in the direction of full autonomy for women. We have a small full time staff but many contributors around the world. And still looking for more contributors

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Dofen News is essentially advertising for the moment. We also offer an online survey service on all topics but with an emphasis on women and girls. However, we are engaged in social campaigns and projects related to the gender situation in the country and we are counting on the involvement of national and international actors to support us in these processes. For information, we are partners of the forum of women entrepreneurs Haiti.

Scale: We have a small full time team (three employees), some contributors around the world (still looking for more). As a digital media we are selling advertising spaces to stay on the track of existence.

Daniella Jacques
Photo Credit: Ralphden Laurent

Daniella Jacques’s bio:

Twitter: @DanJacPenn

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/daniella-jacques-b3026128/

Instagram: @danejak

Daniella Jacques was born in Haïti on May 12th 1982. She is a serial entrepreneur and change maker of the feminism’s ecosystem. Engaged from a teen age, she has always taken initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of citizens, specially girls and women. Her latest initiative is the creation of the first and only digital media platform dedicated to women “Dofen News”. Two years ago she co-founded the Haiti Women’s Chamber of Commerce, which she also serves as President. She’s a political consultant with more than ten years of experience in the political advisory service at the highest level. Daniella is co-owner of PoliticoTech a political firm specialized in campaign management and digital strategy.

Presentation of Daniella Jacques

Daniella Jacques was born in Haiti, she has a bachelor degree in Political Science and Master in Electoral Policy and Administration. Then several seminars on business administration and development of small and medium enterprises.

Daniella is TEDx motivational speaker

Politics.- Political consultant and member of the International Association of Political Science, She is a trainer in political leadership, political communication and fundraising. Co-founder of the Coalition of the Political Women in Haiti, Daniella is the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Commission of the National Palace reconstruction, also member of the Presidential commission for youth and innovation.

Entrepreneurship.- Daniella is a serial entrepreneur / investor. She co-founded with Roudy Stanley Penn, PoliticoTech, a pioneer company in the political consultation in Haiti specialized in campaign management and digital strategy. She is co-founder and board member of Mapou Investment Group SA. Daniella owns Kouleur Images a strategic communications firm and SERMILO, a logistic firm organizer of public and private events. Recently she created a new startup “Dofen News”, a digital platform media dedicated to women. In September Daniella will launch her trademark brand Dofen the way it is… a clothing line. Mrs Jacques is co-founder and/or investor of several companies in Haiti and abroad.

Social.- Always engaged for the most disadvantaged people, kids and women in particular. After the earthquake in 2010, Daniella was in the States looking for support/help for victims, many people friends and family members pressed her to stay but she had a purpose, she came back and created a special program called *Ti Lekol-Small school* with her community association AGIRAD (Act Today for Tomorrow) where over 400 kids had access to free class. In 2015 she started a campaign to attract attention of the Haitian State on the cause of the Madan Sara (women vendors traveling in subhuman conditions), the conditions of existence of these women who are raped, stolen and murdered (look at the TEDx conference on youtube), the creation of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce is one of the tools created to support women entrepreneurs.

Daniella is behind some major initiatives aimed at the emancipation of women :

* The only community library dedicated to children in her hometown, 2013
* The first and unique Women’s Chamber of Commerce / 2016
* FEFHA – Economic Forum of Haitian Women October 2017
* The largest women’s tech conference in Americas – SIFNUH (International Summit of Tech Women), the 2nd edition brought together fifteen countries from 15 to 17 May 2018
* The unique female digital media platform Dofen News / 2018

Honors :

* Winners of first competition of US Embassy in Haiti December 2004;
* IVLP (International Visitor Leadership Program) a US Department of States Initiative 2006 / 2014 (USA)

Awards :

* JC Magazines, March 2018
* CONATEL (National Council of Communication) April 2018;
* MCFDF (Ministry of women’s conditions and rights) April 2018;

Accomplishments :

* Participation in the movie WOMEN;
* Participation as speaker the Conference des femmes francophones (Bucarest) – Women speaking french conference November 2017;
* Participation as a young leader at the GLOBAL UNITE Youth Forum May 2012 (Bangkok, Thailande);
* Participation at Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) twice 2009 / 2010 (USA)


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

So, An Impact Investor, A Social Entrepreneur And A Sea Turtle Walk Into A Bar…

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Okay, an impact investor, a social entrepreneur and a sea turtle didn’t literally walk into a bar, but the way their lives intersected is no joke.

Three years ago this week, a Texas A&M marine biologist, Christine Figgener, uploaded a video of her team removing a four-inch plastic straw from the nostril of a sea turtle. The evocative video immediately went viral and now has 32.6 million views on YouTube.

The video not only inspired the current activism around plastic straws that has me carrying around paper straws and a law banning plastic straws in Seattle, but it has people thinking about all single-use plastic more critically. That movement has provided a catalyst for impact investors and social entrepreneurs who have solutions to ocean plastic.

Priyanka Bakaya, the CEO and founder of Renewlogy, a company that uses a chemical process to convert even the worst plastics into fuel and Rob Kaplan, the CEO and founder of Circulate Capital, which launched in July with the specific mission to invest in companies that will reduce the flow of plastic into the world’s oceans, joined me for a wide-ranging conversation about ocean plastic. You can watch the 27-minute interview in the video player at the top of this article.

The Ocean Plastic Problem

The problem of plastic in the ocean isn’t limited to an occasional straw up a turtle’s nose. On its website, Clean Water Action reports:

In the ocean, plastic debris injures and kills fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Marine plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. The impacts include fatalities as a result of ingestion, starvation, suffocation, infection, drowning, and entanglement.

In 2010, a California grey whale washed up dead on the shores of the Puget Sound. Autopsies indicated that its stomach contained a pair of pants and a golf ball, more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, duct tape and surgical gloves.

Seabirds that feed on the ocean surface are especially prone to ingesting plastic debris that floats. Adults feed these items to their chicks resulting in detrimental effects on chick growth and survival.8 One study found that approximately 98% of chicks sampled contained plastic and the quantity of plastic being ingested was increasing over time.

The problem is getting worse. Fast. The plastic debris in the Central Pacific Gyre increased five-fold in the ten years ending 2007.

Kaplan notes that this is largely a result of the rapidly growing economies in south and southeast Asia “exponentially” increasing their consumption of plastics without correspondingly increasing their waste and recycling infrastructure.

McKinnley Workman, chief operating officer and co-founder of Lakay Vet, S.A. in Haiti, works to improve waste handling in the Western Hemisphere’s most challenged economy. She says there is a lot of work to do. She explains anecdotally:

Yesterday, I was driving through the city as rain started to fall. It quickly began gushing through the streets and I watched as people made their way into the streets under the rain to dump their buckets or bags of waste. As a poor person, where daily life is a struggle, they gladly watch it wash away with a smile on their face as it’s one less thing they have to worry about. In their minds, they found a free solution to dealing with their waste. Ultimately, all of that water goes straight to the Port-au-Prince bay and eventually makes its way into the worlds global ocean plastic repository.

Workman is cooperating with Bakaya at Renewlogy to deploy the technology there, where all transportation fuel is imported and expensive and single-use plastic that can’t otherwise be recycled for quality reasons is ubiquitous.

Priyanka Bakaya CREDIT: RENEWLOGY

Bakaya points to a study that suggests that at current rates by 2050, there will be “more plastic than fish in our oceans.”

“Ocean plastic presents one of the most urgent and fast-growing ecological and health challenges of our time. Our objective is nothing less than to become the leading force behind solving the capital gaps of companies and infrastructure that prevent ocean plastic,” confirms Kaplan.

The China Ban

Last year, China implemented new restrictions on imported waste plastic for recycling. Previously, 40% of plastic from the United States—and much of the plastic elsewhere—was shipped to China for recycling. The new restrictions constitute an effective ban, Kaplan and Bakaya confirmed. The rules require the plastic to be cleaned at a cost that exceeds the value of the plastic.

“It’s really opening up a lot of local opportunities to find domestic solutions to handle this material,” Bakaya says. One of those solutions is the Renewlogy solution that converts plastic to fuel or the feedstock for virgin plastic.

“There’s no question that China’s ban has is revolutionizing the recycling market globally in many parts of the Western world,” Kaplan says. He notes that any time a company or industry loses 40% of its market, a gaping hole is created.

Demand Side

One of the recycling problems that has developed is a lack of consumer demand for recycled products.

“If there were more consumers interested in using recycled content and choosing those products as part of their shopping experience that would build the market and that would increase the demand,” Kaplan says. “There’s a huge opportunity for consumers to incentivize brands and companies and parts of the supply chain to use more recycled material.”

He adds, “I work with many of the world’s largest brands consumer brands and when we ask them to use more recycled content their initial feedback is, ‘No, our customers aren’t interested in it.’”

“Even if you put all of your plastic in a recycling bin or in a recycling system if there isn’t an end market for it then it will not be reused it will end up either in the environment or in a landfill somewhere,” he says, reiterating his point.

Traditionally, recycled plastics are effectively downcycled. Much of the use of plastic is for food containers. Governments regulate what plastics can come in contact with our food and many recycled products aren’t considered safe. That means that recycled products are typically used in less valuable functions than the source plastics.

Although more expensive and energy intensive than other forms of recycling, by converting plastic into the naphtha to make virgin plastic using the Renewlogy process, consumers don’t have to choose recycled products. Better still, the resulting products aren’t technically recycled and can be used for food and medical purposes, allowing even the worst plastics to be upcycled into the highest value ones.

Kaplan points out that contamination of high-quality plastics is also a problem. After good plastics spend time exposed to the environment on land or in the ocean, they can no longer be recycled into top quality products.

The Renewlogy process, and other similar ones, can convert even contaminated plastics into fuel or plastic feedstock, creating an economic value for low-quality and/or contaminated plastic.

Workman says, “In Haiti, most of the plastic that we see every day in rivers, canals, and streets is this dirty plastic that is difficult to recycle and therefore sticks around to eventually be washed into the oceans.”

“Renewlogy has a great solution that makes sense particularly for Haiti because of the type of plastics found and also because fuel is an extremely expensive and unstable imported resource,” Workman says. She adds that implementation of the Renewlogy technology just in Port-au-Prince could prevent 60,000 metric tons of plastic from flowing into the ocean annually.

One of the reasons the Renewlogy technology holds such appeal for Workman is that it allows for the value-adding process to occur in Haiti, which should reduce imports of fuel and keep more profits in the country.

Technology Is Not the Problem

Both Kaplan and Bakaya point out the technology is not the problem.

Kaplan says:

You know one of the biggest challenges we see is less on the technology side but more on like who’s going to operate this on the ground in Indonesia. Here in the U.S., you’ve got companies that have been operating recycling businesses and waste businesses for decades. We don’t have that in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand and India. There isn’t the local expertise and talent that are ready to put that to work in a way that you know is going to be successful. So that’s a big part of our focus is how can we match our financing and capital with technology like Priyanka’s but also with operators on the ground who can execute it.

Workman is trying to address that problem in Haiti. “we have been working with Renewlogy in conjunction with the Plastic Ocean Project to get a pilot system setup at Lakay Vèt.” By partnering with a local recycling company to source plastic that can’t otherwise be recycled, the technology fills an important gap in keeping plastic out of the ocean. The key is to find a responsible recycling partner.

“I will be the first to say that it’s foolish to rely on just a handful of solutions for such a gigantic and multi-faceted problem like this,” she says. She recognizes the need to implement many different solutions to both clean up the mess “we’ve already made” and to prevent further damage to the environment.

Bakaya, for her part, says, “The technology is actually the easy part, and the real challenge is the logistics of both collecting the plastic and getting the end product to the right place.” She adds that with a ready waste plastic supply, Renewlogy’s technology can produce fuels for $30 per barrel.

Getting investors—like Circulate Capital and The Closed Loop Fund—to invest is another constraint she faces.

Partnerships

Circulate Capital could be described as a spinout of Kaplan’s last company, Closed Loop Partners, which does impact investing in recycling domestically. The Ocean Conservancy is also a partner in the new company, along with backing from 3M, American Chemistry Council, The Coca-Cola Company, Kimberly-Clark, Dow, PepsiCo, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, Procter & Gamble and the World Plastics Council.

Diego Donoso, president of Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics, says, “Circulate Capital is the type of active engagement we need to accelerate the implementation of waste management systems with effective recycling processes that keep plastics waste out of the ocean.”

Ron Gonen, Kaplan’s former partner at the Closed Loop Fund, which the latter previously ran, says, “Circulate Capital is the realization of many months of research and planning on the part of Closed Loop Partners and Ocean Conservancy to design a structure that can dedicate the time and resources necessary to tackle the complexity of the ocean plastic problem at scale.”

Steve Sikra, associate director of corporate R&D and global product stewardship at Procter & Gamble, says, “P&G is proud to be part of the Circulate Capital. Just like the Closed Loop Fund, this will address the root cause and help develop the right infrastructure to drive positive change. Working together, we believe we can halt the flow of plastics into the world’s oceans.”

Ben Jordan, the senior director of global environmental policy at The Coca-Cola Company, says, “We are excited to support Circulate Capital and their aim to prevent the flow of ocean plastic. We aim to be a driver of the circular economy as we continue toward our vision of a world without waste.”

Kaplan says, “Our goal is to remove capital as a barrier.” Bakaya sees capital as a constraint for her business. Perhaps there’s a sea turtle out there that could buy them a drink and help them see how they could solve both their problems.

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This Genius Solution To PayDay Lending Deserves Your Attention

Many people living paycheck to paycheck fall into a financial tailspin for lack of $500 or $1,000. A desperately needed but unanticipated car repair is enough to start a family on a collision course with financial ruin.

PayDay loans are so expensive that customers often end up simply revolving the balance for months, paying weekly or bi-weekly fees to renew the loan and over the course of a year end up paying multiples of the original loan principal–sometimes without ever paying off the loan.

Ennie Lim at HoneyBee developed an alternative. Let people borrow against their accrued paid time off–PTO. This virtually eliminates the risk for the lender and allows the loan to be made for a single 5 percent origination fee.

Interview with Ennie Lim, the President of HoneyBee.

The following is the pre-interview with Ennie Lim. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

7 out of 10 employees live paycheck to paycheck.
56 million Americans have no emergency savings.
75 million Americans have subprime or no credit.
20-25% of employees take 401K loans to help cover for emergency expense

What is the solution?

We allow your employees to borrow with paid time off and vacation days to get an extra week’s pay anytime, with no monthly interest, regardless of credit history, resulting in extra funds for your employees when they need it most.

Since PTO is an existing asset that belongs to your employees, this creates a unique win-win solution for your company and the employees you value.

More about HoneyBee:

Twitter: @MeetHoneyBee

Facebook: facebook.com/meethoneybee/

Website: www.meethoneybee.com

HoneyBee is the provider of the HoneyBee PTO Loan℠. We allow employees with paid and vacation to get an extra week’s pay anytime, with no monthly interest, regardless of credit history.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Certified Benefit Corporation

Revenue model: 5% flat fee (max $50)

Scale: Partnered with over 30 companies since we launched the program in Q4 2017

Ennie Lim
Photo Credit: Photographer: Duy Ho Hair/Makeup: Urban Beauty Loft

Ennie Lim’s bio:

Twitter: @ennielim

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ennielim/

Instagram: @ennielim

Ennie Lim is the President and co-founder of HoneyBee, a San Francisco based Certified Benefit Corporation® with the mission to provide affordable credit alternative and protect millions of working Americans from predatory lenders. Prior to HoneyBee, Ennie was the founder of an environmental impact company that benefited underserved children and a Board Member of an early childhood literacy non-profit based in Silicon Valley. Ennie graduated from McGill University and she’s passionate about building businesses for a better tomorrow and believes all of us has the potential to become powerful change makers.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Accelerating Progress Toward Global Solutions Requires Collaboration, Says Nonprofit Founder


Rick Ulfik, the founder and board chair of We, The World, says the impact of organizations acting independently is limited. He argues for active collaboration among the world’s leading NGOs so they can have greater impact.

He says organizations working alone have “horizontal impact” but when they work together they have “vertical impact.” He observes too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

Coming up in September, We, the World is leading an event it calls 11 Days of Global Unity, part of an ongoing series, focused on bringing organizations together to tackle the world’s big problems collaboratively and strategically.

Interview with Rick Ulfik, the Founder and Board Chairman of We, The World.

The following is the pre-interview with Rick Ulfik. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

We, The World has identified a major gap in global organizing efforts that are attempting to address  the core issues facing humanity: Poverty, Rising Inequality, Militarism, Intolerance, Environmental Pollution, and Climate Disruption.

While there are thousands of groups and millions of people committed to creating a better world, most of them generally don’t work together on a regular organized basis.

We call this Horizontal Impact – meaning that their impact is spread thin. The environmental people are working over here, the human rights people are over there, the economic justice people are in another place, and the peace and spiritual people are often reaching to the choir!

Their impact is reduced and up till now it hasn’t been sufficient to address systemic obstacles, and end the preventable crises that cause millions of people and other forms of life to die prematurely each year.

We believe that humanity will continue to only see incremental progress (at best) until a majority of these groups begin to intentionally work together with what we call Vertical Impact: synchronizing calls to action on a large scale, issuing joint Press Releases, collectively supporting solutions that benefit all members of society, not just those with the most wealth and power.

We, The World has already started to make this happen through our WE Strategy!

We, The World is creating the WE Change Agent Network (WE CAN) that has begun to do two things that are crucial for a sustainable future:

#1) Build the mass public support and political will needed to implement social, political, economic and environmental solutions (like making the transition to Renewable Non-Polluting Energy Systems as the primary energy source in the USA and around the world) benefiting all of society and the whole web of life on Earth.
#2) Consciously make a shift in our culture to value and prioritize the idea of “WE” and the Common Good, so that the basic health and well-being of all comes first – for people and the planet.

It’s All About WE: WE is a Consciousness, a Collaboration and a Campaign.

11 Days of Global Unity:  11DaysOfGlobalUnity.org

More about We, The World:

Twitter: @TheWeCampaign

Facebook: facebook.com/TheWeCampaign

Website: WE.net

We, The World (at WE.net) is a global coalition-building non-profit organization founded by Rick Ulfik. Our mission is to maximize social change globally – until we have a world that works for all. We, The World annually connects and promotes thousands of socially conscious organizations and businesses, representing millions of people, to amplify their efforts and generate public awareness and action.

In 2004 We, The World brought together global partners to launch 11 Days of Global Unity September 11 -21 linking local awareness and action campaigns into an inspiring international movement for the promotion of peace, justice, sustainability and transformation. Annually 11 Days includes as many as 700 associated events in over 60 countries around the world. It culminates on September 21st, the U.N. International Day of Peace.

Participants in 11 Days of Global Unity have included: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra, Daniel Ellsberg, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Eve Ensler, Ralph Nader, Arun Gandhi, Marianne Williamson, Patch Adams, Neale Donald Walsch, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Robert Thurman, Hazel Henderson, and many other visionary leaders from around the world.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: We, The World generates revenue mostly through individual contributions. We also have a “Project Incubator” through which changemakers with inspiring and important programs aligned with our Mission can receive funding as part of We, The World. We, The World has received many foundation grants over the years as well.

Scale: We, The World has touched the lives of more than 6 million people through our Programs, Events, Websites, TV Shows, Newsletters, Video Festivals, Partner Collaborations, Tele-Summits, Broadcasts and Webcasts. We are reaching more than 850,000 people each year and our network of more than 40,000 leaders and members of socially conscious organizations and businesses represents millions of constituents. Our most recent Non-Profit Tax Filing shows our total revenue to be about $170,000.

Rick Ulfik
Photo Credit: Andrew Kaen

Rick Ulfik’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/rick-ulfik-1755aa2a

Rick Ulfik is the Founder and Board Chair of We, The World, Founder and a Principal Coordinator of the WE Campaign, and Co-Founder and Principal Organizer of 11 Days of Global Unity September 11-21, a worldwide platform for the promotion of peace, justice, sustainability and transformation that annually includes as many as 700 associated events in over 60 countries around the world. Rick also co-produces Visual Voices a TV Series Sponsored by We, The World which was featured on the Dish Network and available in 15 million homes.

Rick has been a Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshop facilitator and leader working with the New York Center for Nonviolent Communication, and has participated in many workshops led by internationally acclaimed mediator and creator of NVC Marshall Rosenberg who joined the Advisory Board of We, The World.

Rick Ulfik is also an award-winning composer, musician (keyboards), songwriter and sound design specialist who, over the last 30 years, has written, produced, arranged and performed music for ABC TV, NBC, CBS, the Olympics, feature films, commercials, and records. Rick has performed with major recording artists including Queen Latifah, Phoebe Snow, Carlos Santana, Judy Collins, and Bernadette Peters.

Rick serves each year as a judge for the Emmy Awards in the areas of News, Documentaries, and Music.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

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