On May 25th 85 Broads and Collective-E members gathered together to discuss social ventures: not-for-profit organizations and for-profit companies that “give back” or being more visionary about the type of world we want to live in, “give forward” to improve lives, communities and the plant.
Organized by Beth Schoenfeldt, co-founder of Collective-E and Diana Sonis of 85 Broads, the evening focused on an interactive panel discussion. The panel was made up of 85Broad and Collective-E members – who all had an interesting mix of experiences. Here’s Beth’s overview of the evening:
Social Venture Event Overview: Channeling constructive anger, overcoming cynicism, transparency & an authentic connection
Karen Chien, Founder of Cheeky Living discovered weavers in Peru when travelling and started producing baby alpaca gloves, hats and scarves, helping to support a community of artisans and giving back to local charities too. Her story, an interior designer who rather spontaneously decided to produce product in Peru to give back and support local artisans, showed me that anyone can do anything!
Michele Kotler, founding director of the Community~Word Project, an arts in education organization based in New York City whose mission is to inspire youth in underserved communities to read, interpret and respond to their world started a non-profit. When Michele talks she is a true powerhouse, a force to be reckoned with a vision that is destined to happen, New York area school kids should count their blessings and if you can donate time or money, this is definitely a non-profit that will benefit from all support.
Sharon Gaffney is launching a new online stationary service that offers the ability for consumers to give back to their favorite causes in a meaningful and simple way. I love Sharon’s efforts to build win/wins with a non-profit brands, why not? Using your connection with non-profits to grow your brand and gain an audience, while helping support a non-profit raise much needed cash is a great marketing option…and feels great too.
Susan McPherson moved to New York and wanted to make friends and get involved, she has been member of the board of the Business Council for Peace (Bpeace), for the last three years, is involved in Charity Water and is assisting Fabien Cousteau, third generation explorer, and environmental activist, launch his new nonprofit, Plant A Fish in June 2010. I really love how Susan has used her involvement in non-profits to develop a rewarding social life and put her talents and energy to use. So many people choose the easy way out and don’t get involved not realizing that giving back to others is actually giving back to yourself, you end up with a more fulfilling and connected life.
It is hard to summarize all I learned, but here is a start:
Passion and Personal Connection
One thing was clear from listening to all the panelists that giving back is a primary motivating factor in their lives. For example, how can you give up when kids are depending on you for their art programs, you know that you are helping to provide food and shelter, clean water or education? It was also clear that these four women and everyone in the audience are driven by a pure and authentic passion for what they are doing, it is very personal. For example, Sharon talked about her son having Celiac’s disease and working to give back to Celiac non-profits or Michele who herself grew up in an underserved borough of NYC realizing what she and everyone she grew up with missed by not being exposed to the arts.
Takeaway: Whatever your skills, talents or passion there is someone that needs your help!
Michele brought up a great term and a great point, many charities and non-profits are driven by constructive anger, seeing something in the world that is not right and dedicating your efforts to make a difference. This made me think of the woman who started Mother’s Against Drunk drivers MADD, look at how much good has come out of bad.
Takeaway: Are you angry, frustrated or mad? Don’t just sit there, do something about it!
Just like any brand, non-profits need to focus on branding and PR. Susan, whose background from PR Newswire makes her an expert at branding, marketing and PR, talked about the simplicity and clarity of Charity Water which has really helped it take off and gain immediate success, from the mission to the results check out the Charity Water home page and you will see what total clarity looks like. It is clear that “the story” is really the hook that gets people to understand, donate and volunteer and for the story to talk about the direct impact in real terms, “we raise XXX money and we can build a clean water well in Africa.”
Takeaway: Branding is universal, everyone from profit to no-profit needs it to grow.
A question from the audience brought up a very big issue, are people too cynical about non-profits or skeptical when a brand attaches themselves to one? Yes, maybe some people, but Katie Danziger, Founder of nomie baby, told the story of her daughter Josie being born premature so she now gives 10% of all profits go to help the tiniest babies in the NICU. When she tells the story people just get it and never question her motives because she has a personal connection. Another helpful audience member from the Clinton Foundation, another non-profit that does an excellent job of branding and clarity, talked about full transparency, but not only in financial records, but really speaking in a way about the results in a way that people can understand, you donate a dollar and a child gets a vaccination.
Takeaway: Don’t let cynicism stop you or get you down, people have a right to be skeptical because of all the unfortunate things that HAVE happened in business, non-profits and government. Because of this, people will be even more appreciative of full transparency, dedication and real results.
Whether giving of your time, energy, connections, skills or money, everyone can give back in some way, it all helps. It is also a great way to meet great people and feel more connected to life. It can also help you overcome fear and stay motivated
Takeaway: Just do it..do whatever you can!
KELLY HOEY is the President of 85 Broads, LLC, where she is focused on “conventional” as well as innovative ways to connect and promote the achievements of members of this global network. She could be described as 85 Broads “interactive creative/artistic director, social networking & relationship officer, as well as Twitter curator”. Kelly is also the 2010 leader of the New York Chapter of 85 Broads.
Prior to joining 85 Broads in October 2009, Kelly was Manager of Alumni Programmes at White & Case LLP. In this global role, Kelly was responsible for designing and implementing the firm’s alumni relations outreach and engagement strategy (including the firm’s strategy for use of online networking tools such as Facebook, Linkedin, LegalOnRamp). From 2004 to 2008, Kelly was the Manager of Professional, Americas at White & Case, overseeing and initiating a number of talent development initiatives for the firm, ranging from new/lateral associate integration, upward review and annual performance review process, business and client skills development training, trial advocacy curriculum, Women’s Initiative programming and retreats, and introduction of coaching and coaching-based programming. Before entering law firm management, Kelly was a corporate attorney focusing on structured finance, banking and insolvency law. She is an alum of Sidley, Osler Hoskin and Miller Thomson. Kelly is a graduate of The University of British Columbia Law School, articled in Ontario, Canada and is admitted to the New York State Bar as well as to The Law Society of Upper Canada and Law Society of British Columbia.
Kelly is vice-chair of the Board of inMotion (inmotiononline.org) a New York City based not-for-profit which provides legal assistance to women and children in domestic crisis. She is also a member of the Honorary Advisory Board for Pace Law School’s New Direction Program.
Connect with Kelly via Twitter (@jkhoey) or Facebook (J. Kelly Hoey) or Linkedin ([linkedin.com]).
BETH SCHOENFELDT has been a friend and mentor to women entrepreneurs around the world for over ten years, contributing to the launch of thousands of businesses. Beth is the co-founder of Collective-E, a unique hybrid of an Entrepreneur Agency with a Community Twist focused on bringing the services, PR & marketing platforms, exposure and connections entrepreneurs need to nurture their ideas and build their brands.
Due to her reputation as a forward thinker and expert on women in business, some of the world’s top media outlets rely on Beth for her insights into the latest trends among female entrepreneurs and business. Beth has been featured in outlets including Time Magazine, Elle Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Pink Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, and “The Today Show”.
After graduating from Texas A&M with a Bachelors Degree in Finance and earning her MBA from Columbia University, Beth developed Marketing and Sales programs for major international brands including Clinique, ibeauty.com and American Express. She then went on to establish the highly successful learning solutions company FLOinc, which lead to her co-founding Ladies Who Launch (LWL). Beth grew this lifestyle and business-focused media company to over 53 cities and over 50,000 members. Beth left LWL to found Collective-E in 2008.
Beth resides in New York City with her husband and son.