StartSomeGood

Tips and inspiration for changemakers from the social impact crowdfunding website, StartSomeGood


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10 Awesome Social Enterprise Business Ideas

innovative-startups

How would you define philanthropy? Is it about giving back and lending a helping hand to others? This concept actually has no common definition because everyone understands it in their own special way. If you are a philanthropist looking for more ways to solve social problems, you will like the idea of starting a company in the field of social entrepreneurship.

There are dozens of opportunities waiting for someone to take them on and turn into something that offers value. And today literally anyone can do it. Even if you were doing your school homework using assignment writing service or have been expelled from college, you are still able to help the world.

Have a look at the list of the most inspiring and innovative social enterprise ideas and start making a difference today:

  • Social goods marketplace
    You can sell charity-made products and let people on one side of the world help those on the other side. Buying the items produced by disadvantaged craftsmen, you offer the latter a unique opportunity to get a fair reward for their work; meanwhile, selling these products to the world, you allow end consumers to do good and at the same time get some useful nice items for their homes.

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  • Used textbooks for change
    You can promote an alliance between some students that come from wealthy families and students in need. The state of education, unfortunately, is poor in the developing countries, so getting young people donating their textbooks to those who don’t have the same access to educational resources is a worthy idea. Some textbooks can still be sold and the profits can be used to promote and support education programs in those countries.

 

  • Socially conscious products
    You can develop a new device made of conflict-free materials or which are fair trade. This will ensure a better working environment, such as increased safety and wages, for people who produce it. Besides, such projects involve avoiding dishonest practices and selling the products for a reasonable price. This business idea would also allow other people, the ones who purchase the device, to feel they are doing something great.

Tiffany Tsang

  • Purified water
    You can establish water purification stations in the regions where water sample testing has shown poor results. The stations don’t have to be large – you can buy ready-made devices. This can seem a rather small contribution but you will still help many people get access to water. This social enterprise business plan is good because it requires neither high maintenance nor large staff to be involved. All the expenses can easily be covered by selling water to people in need even at a low cost.
  • Microlending
    You can create a safe and inspirational environment where beginner entrepreneurs can receive small loans for developing their enterprises. Many people around the world have brilliant minds but no possibility to implement their ideas. Why not give them a platform for sharing thoughts with potential investors, filling out project plan templates, arranging conference calls to discuss details, and finally getting funding for their startups?
  • Helping homeless
    You can reduce homelessness by organizing various social activities aimed at helping people living in the streets get access to food and medical aid, find real jobs, and get back on their feet. Swipe and Beyond the Cardboard are excellent examples of successful projects running for the benefit of the community. Think of the possible improvement programs you can engage the homeless in, and you will increase chances of getting them off the streets.
  • Cooking for unemployed
    You can open a diner, restaurant, or café and hire unemployed people, like former drug or alcohol addicts, for the purpose of developing their employment skills. This enterprise may cost you a lot to establish (which crowdfunding can help with), but it will give you an opportunity to positively influence people’s lives and offer brighter future. For example, imagine seeing one of your employees working at a prestigious restaurant after he or she have worked a few years for you.
  • Education books on a social topic
    You can create some educational content containing information that could be useful for the reader and have the potential to improve our world and society. Be it a recipe book promoting a healthy lifestyle or a periodical nature publication uncovering the world of extinct species, it should be easy and interesting to read anyway. The profits from sales can be used to promote awareness about the same topic.

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  • Small contributions
    You can choose a few enterprises, like shops or restaurants, and agree on small donations of either some products or some amounts of money from every transaction to charity programs. For instance, working with a toy store, you can have it donating a toy to a local orphanage for every 10 toys it sells.
  • Volunteering platforms
    You can start a company that would serve as a platform for exchanging services. The key point would be that you don’t pay the volunteers directly. Instead, they ask you to donate some amount of money to the charity project they choose.

To sum up, there are many interesting ideas for setting up a social enterprise. You just have to be organized, stay focused on your good intentions, and you will be able to change lives. However, if you feel you are not ready for your own business yet, you can always choose one of the great social enterprises out there and find a job in this growing sector.

Post by Jeremy Raynolds, a blogger and freelance writer whose favorite quote is Bill Drayton’s “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionised the fishing industry.”


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2017: A Year for Social Entrepreneurs

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Some of you may be entering the year feeling a bit like these guys look.

Despite all the tumult of 2016 I enter 2017 strangely optimistic.

Despite my fears and disappointments, things also have a stark and refreshing clarity to them.

Now is a time for social entrepreneurs.

It’s clear that we can’t rely on our political leaders and processes to create a more equitable and sustainable future. In country after country, politics has snarled to a stop as the ability to compromise seems to evaporate, or been captured entirely by those with little regard for the role of government. Regardless of how you vote and what you believe, now is not the time to sit back and wait for others to make things right.

Instead, you are going to have to help create the future you want to see, if we’re to have any chance of seeing it at all.

The future doesn’t just happen, and by the time it becomes the present everything that matters has already happened. The future is the product of the decisions and actions we take individually and collectively that influence the present we live into. Is it more or less equal, connected, sustainable, just? Do current trends, positive and negative, continue, pause, decline? Which stories do we hear, which voices to we respect, who participates and who is missing?

You have only two choices.

You can either help create the future or you can live in the past, living in the wake of decisions made by others.

If you care about the future, if you have an idea for how to make things better, we need you now. Traditional sources of influence for the common good are weakening, but new forms of collective power are emerging, and the onus is on us to use and master the tools that give rise to these.

Crowdfunding is one of these tools.

At StartSomeGood our mission is to help non-profits, social entrepreneurs and community groups to create the future we need, and in particular to support more innovative projects and emerging social impact organizations and forms – such as social enterprises – commonly ignored by traditional funders.

We are deeply fortunate to work with inspiring changemakers every day, so it’s impossible for us to feel anything other than hopeful. As we go into this new year we re-dedicate ourselves to working in the service of innovation and innovators, to keep increasingly our already industry-leading project success rate, to growing our reaching and community and to create more co-funding opportunities and link you to more investment, so we can move faster and improve more lives.

And so I feel optimistic.

With challenge comes opportunity and today we have a unique opportunity to make a difference. Greater interconnectedness and access to new tools and technologies has made so much possible, and it’s clear more and more emerging leaders are dedicating themselves to creating a positive social impact all the time.

If we can help you launch your social impact project this year, please get in touch! We’d love to help you do crowdfunding right.

 

Tom

Co-founder, StartSomeGood

 

PS. I want to help some of you start 2017 with a bang! I will personally donate $50 to every campaign that launches on StartSomeGood by January 13, and $25 to any that launch by January 31, when you used the Referral Code HAPPYNEWYEAR (in the extra’s tab when you’re creating your campaign). I’ll also share on twitter and do my best to see you succeed.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s do this.

 


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The Social Enterprise Design Challenge is back!

EFF Social Enterprise Design Challenge cover image

TL;DR:

What is this for: new social enterprise concepts from DGR (tax deductible) organisations in Australia

Applications due: January 31, 2017

Crowdfunding: March

Amount: Up to a $15,000 match.

Express interest: here.

 

More:

The Social Enterprise Design Challenge is a unique matched funding opportunity provided by the English Famly Foundation and hosted by StartSomeGood which supports non-profit social enterprises in Australia to test and design new concepts for creating sustainable and transformational social change.

We are looking for ambitious leaders who are finding new and innovative solutions to tackle the most pressing issues within our communities, and who need a little help to achieve this. By asking the community to invest alongside us we ensure that these solutions have the support and attention they need to have the best chance at succeeding.

Last year four non-profit social enterprises tested their ideas through crowdfunding with the help of the English Family Foundation and StartSomeGood. To our delight all four exceeded their fundaising goals. Together they raised over $130,000 from over 650 individual supporters. You can find out more about their campaigns and our criteria here.

 


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Social Entrepreneurship with Simon Sinek: An Except from Rank & File Magazine

An excerpt from Rank & File magazine.

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Award winning author, motivational speaker and leadership guru Simon Sinek, who uses the power of storytelling with a parable-like quality, first planted his concepts of “Start With Why” and “The Golden Circle” into the hearts of our corporate executives back in 2009, spawning one of the most popular TED Talks of all time.

To date, Simon has penned two best sellers — “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” and “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.” Beyond writing, Simon works as an adjunct staff member of the RAND Corporation, one of the most highly regarded think tanks in the world, and he regularly comments for respected local and national media outlets like NPR and The New York Times.

Accolades aside, Simon embodies his teachings. He is approachable, humble and generous with his time. These character traits are exactly what made Rank & File aspire to sit down with Simon to discuss social entrepreneurialism, including the biggest mistakes that social entrepreneurs make, why cultivating inner character is a critical step in the leadership journey, and how leaders should become guiding “Cause Holders” for their companies. During our interview, we spoke in length about the benefits and dangers in the growing social enterprise trend — a topic about which Simon holds some strong opinions.

“I like the idea of social entrepreneurship, but to fully embrace the goodness of social entrepreneurship you have to treat everyone right,” he told Rank & File. “Not just the chosen receivers of your goodness.”

Simon went on to explain that he thinks the term “social enterprise” may be thrown around too loosely. From Simon’s view, the key to developing a successful and impact-driven social enterprise is to first look internally before projecting externally. Practically, this means focusing heavily on your company’s foundational values and character and allowing this core element to act as the lead domino for all of your outward-facing programs.

“You have all these well-intended young entrepreneurs out there [wanting] to do something of social importance, looking externally,” said Simon. “And yet, while building their companies, they may mistreat their own people. It’s like being a child psychologist but abusing your own children. It doesn’t make sense. And so I find it fascinating how people can be so obsessed with an external while ignoring the internal. To be good at anything, in any company, it has to start from within.”

This challenge comes at an opportune time, as thousand of young people approach social entrepreneurialism with a new enlightenment to accomplish social good through their startups. So what are the keys then to fully embrace the calling of our responsibilities as social entrepreneurs? How do we go forth as strong leaders that focus internally when we may be fighting to keep all the wheels on our fragile businesses in the marketplace? Sinek’s teachings challenge us to dig deep.

In the spirit of shifting our perspectives to focus on the internal rather than the external, Simon encourages us to cultivate humility.

We social entrepreneurs have a tendency to view our business models as superior to mainstream programs and organizations. Indeed, we are often guilty of forming cliques and belittling traditional methods of conducting business and outreach.

From Simon’s perspective, abandoning this superiority complex and developing humility will actually allow us to have greater social impact, both personally and professionally.

“[Having] the word ‘social’ in your product or business [mission] doesn’t actually mean that you are a good company,” said Simon. “And not doing those [social good] things doesn’t make you a bad company. You can make any type of widget and treat people right. And the people who work for you will have better marriages, treat their kids better, and treat people that they interact with on a daily basis better, and they will have a great impact on the community.”

Simon didn’t disparage the value of social entrepreneurship or individuals’ desires to achieve social outcomes through their business models. Yet, his advice cuts through the hype often associated with the social good sector, reminding us to get back to the core — the ABC’s, so to speak — of what it means to be a social entrepreneur. Among other things, having a humble attitude entails respecting traditional business models who conduct their affairs with integrity and treat their employees and stakeholders with dignity.

Become a Holder of Your Cause.

In the social enterprise space, we hear a lot about “social innovation,” especially as it relates to sustainable energy and technology. But what do we mean when we use the term? Usually, we’re describing a tangible, specifically applied approach to making change through new models while challenging norms and bureaucracies, achieving new levels of efficiency, and defending the inherent rights and dignity of human beings.

However, Simon pointed out that these models are only social enterprise products. He developed this idea using a classic example: Apple.

“The product, no matter what it is, is just the manifestation of an underlying cause,” he said. “Steve Jobs’ obsession was empowering people to stand up to the status quo. That was their cause. The personal computer was the manifestation of their cause — a product that gave an individual power to compete against a corporation.”

Next came the iPhone. Prior to Apple, cell phone functionality was determined by cell service providers. “Apple showed up and said, ‘No, we are going to tell you what the phone will do,’’ placing all of the power into the hands of cell phone manufacturers and, ultimately, consumers themselves. With the development of the iPhone, Apple challenged the status quo yet again, fulfilling one of Jobs’ core values.

“The key for Apple and all of us is not confusing our innovations or our products as our cause,” said Simon. “They are three separate things. Innovation doesn’t come from our social desire to give and solve world poverty, although it’s a great thing to do. The innovation comes from actually having a disposition, actually having a cause, and actually having a why…”

Remember that your social innovation models and your solutions to problems are not your cause. They are your products and services.

Identify your root cause. What is your underlying motivation for developing these innovative products and services? Dig deep — past the tangible, past your approach, past your mission statement, and past your goals and objectives. Ask yourself “Why?” again and again until you know what underlying motivation or belief is fueling your efforts. Then keep your cause at the forefront of everything that you do…


The full version of this story, including Simon’s 7 Steps for Students of Leadership, is available in Rank & File Magazine. Rank & File is much more than a magazine. They are a community of risk-takers, like you, who believe people are worth serving and business can create change. Download the Rank & File App for Apple and Android today to start reading for free.

Photos in this article courtesy of © Simon Sinek, Inc.


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7 Reasons StartSomeGood Has the Highest Success Rate in Crowdfunding

CAMPAIGNS THAT END FULLY FUNDED (2)

When we started StartSomeGood, it was because we saw a real need for a platform designed specifically for social entrepreneurs. We saw the existing crowdfunding platforms, and knew we could craft something better to get better results.

And that’s exactly what we did. When you start a crowdfunding campaign with StartSomeGood you have the better chance of success than with any other platform*. Here are 7 reasons why:

1. We were created by social entrepreneurs, for social entrepreneurs.

Who knows what a social entrepreneur needs better than another social entrepreneur? Before we put pen to paper, we sat down and discussed what challenges we had faced in securing funding for changemaking projects. We talked about how raising money for social good is different than raising month for other projects. And then we created a product specifically designed to meet those needs.

2. We have a unique tipping point model.

“What in hell is a tipping point?” –question we get a lot.  Sometimes people have no idea, and sometimes people think we’re talking about that Malcolm Gladwell book. But no, the tipping point is our unique approach to structuring a crowdfunding campaign.

With some crowdfunding platforms you don’t get your donations unless you fully meet your goal, which can be challenging to project creators: should they make the goal the full amount needed, or go with a lower number that will still effect change?

With other crowdfunding platforms you get all the donations no matter what, which can be a deterrent for backers: if a project doesn’t get the full amount, what happens to their donation? Can the project use it for whatever they way?

So we found a better way: the tipping point. Projects set two goals: the first “tipping” point is an amount of money necessary to start good. The second “stretch goal” is the amount to fully fund the project.

With two checkpoints, entrepreneurs can be ambitious with their goals, and backers can know exactly where their donation is going.

3. We give you the best advice and support.

Helping project succeed is so important to us, we have a global team dedicated to it. When you start a project with StartSomeGood, you’ll be assigned a designated team member who can help you optimize your pitch and help solve any problems you encounter. This personal touch is a key to our success rate.

4. We back the organizations and entrepreneurs that back themselves.

StartSomeGood helps entrepreneurs in many ways: our beautiful website, sharing tools, linking your campaign to our community, our global support team, etc. All of these tools are important, but the most important factor to success is the commitment of the entrepreneurs and organizations using our site and their ability to inspire a community around them. We simply do our best to help boost their efforts.

5. We have the most dedicated team in the business.

As mentioned, StartSomeGood was created by social entrepreneurs, and we have been staffed by social entrepreneurs ever since. From our web team to our communications team to our support team, our staff and volunteers are passionate about creating lasting social change, which means they are passionate about helping you succeed.

6. We have innovative partnerships to help you double your money.

We partner with businesses, foundations and governments to boost the funds raised by selected social benefit projects on our site, often by providing up to half your funding goal up-front. This is called “Crowdmatch.”

Crowdmatch sees a funding partner support a group of projects either from the start of their crowdfunding campaign, by providing up to half of the funds they are seeking, which then needs to be matched by the community, or at the end, based on meeting specific goals.

The goal of Crowdmatch is to better connect philanthropic giving with community aspirations and impact investing with market input.

The combination gives social entrepreneurs and nonprofits the best chance to raise the funds and rally the community backing they need to do good, while making institutional funding more targeted and impactful.

7. We’re a certified B Corp.

Okay we’re not actually sure this boosts your success rate but it does mean that when you succeed you can feel good about who you are partnered with. B Corp is a global holistic certification for companies that act in the best interests of people and planet. There are now more than 1500 B Corps globally and we’re proud to be one of them! Find out more about B Corps here.

 

Ultimately, what this all comes down to is that we really care about helping you raise the funds you need to change the world. Many crowdfunding platforms, including in the social change sector, are not optimized to do this. Their focus tends to be launching as many projects as possible with as light a touch as possible, even if the vast majority then fall short of their goals. But we’re not into that. We work with few projects at a time but we actually work with you to help you reach your goals, because it’s only when you reach your fundraising goals that you can launch your project to change the world, and that’s what we’re here for!

So, let’s change the world together!

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If you need to raise funds to change the world, we’d love to help. Just click “Start a Project” on our homepage and tell us what you’re working on!

*Source: Entrepreneur Magazine, January 2016. Platforms reviewed were Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Fundrazr, Crowdfunder and Rockethub.


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Interview Spotlight: Drizzle

An interview with Drizzle, a clothing company founded to provide sustainable funding for youth environmental initiatives.

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Where did you get the original inspiration for this project?

As many non-profits struggle to acquire funding to run their programs, we wanted to develop a sustainable source of income for our youth environmental initiatives by creating a social enterprise clothing company. We have always had a passion for apparel and sustainable fashion, and after doing a bit of research, we dove right into it.

Why did you decide to crowdfund?

Crowdfunding is a great way to raise money AND build a community of support. We want Drizzle Apparel Co. to become not only a great social enterprise, but also a movement for environmental youth empowerment. Crowdfunding is allowing us to accomplish both goals.

One of the shirts available for purchase through Drizzle.

Design for a future Drizzle shirt.

What does ultimate success look like for you and your project?

Ultimate success for us is empowering a generation of youth to protect the planet and take into account the environment into every decision they make. Today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders, and we believe if they are empowered to protect our planet, they will consider the health of our environment in every decision they make as adults.

What are you enjoying most about StartSomeGood?

The StartSomeGood community is fantastic. The team has been extremely supportive and helpful, and those who follow along have been very supportive as well. I know that if we reach our goal, we will have the StartSomeGood community to thank.

To learn more about Drizzle, or to pledge support, visit here.


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Not Just Another Crowdfunding Platform: Our Partnerships Help You Double Your Money

Week 6

TL:DR Version

If you’re an impatient social entrepreneur reading this, here’s the gist: we partner with businesses, foundations and governments to boost the funds raised by selected social benefit projects on our site, often by providing up to half your funding goal up-front. We have three of these opportunities open right now – find them under the “Funding Opportunities” heading on our homepage.

If you want to know how and why we arrived at this model, read on…

How Best to Support Change?

If you’ve been with us for any length of time you know this, but StartSomeGood was founded with a mission to help innovative community benefit projects share their stories and raise the funds they need to launch, whether run by a social enterprise, a not-for-profit or a local community group or changemaker.

Like all the other crowdfunding platforms out there, our focus was (and remains) to build great tools to help for you to rally your community. For many platforms, that’s all they do, leaving projects to sink or swim entirely on their own. But we wanted to go further than that, because it was never about throwing projects out there, it was about helping them to succeed, and this, we rapidly learned, meant also focusing on coaching entrepreneurs on how to use these tools effectively.

We put more emphasis on coaching and supporting people to set up projects which succeed, which is why we have the highest success rate in cause crowdfunding.

But still, we were dissatisfied.

There are great ideas out there that struggle to get the attention of funders – particularly those with the capacity to make bigger investments – and which fail to gain the momentum they need to reach their goals, despite the quality or importance of the idea. While crowdfunding is an amazing tool for making new things possible it’s not a meritocracy with regards to those ideas. Those with more resources, connections, marketing experience and time will naturally tend to do better.

We kept asking ourselves how we could best help the best projects, based on the quality of their ideas, and help connect them with potential funders.

The answer came to us thanks to a conversation with ING DIRECT Australia. They had a somewhat different problem they wanted to solve: they were keen on supporting more grassroots projects, but uncertain about how to differentiate between the volume of ideas they were likely to receive without staffing up a major foundation, which they didn’t want to do. They also wanted to better leverage all their resources, including their communications channels and relationships, to support these projects, not simply provide a grant.

And a new approach to funding innovation was born.

Introducing Crowdmatch

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We now call this model Crowdmatch, and we’re really excited about how well it works for both entrepreneurs, who get a huge boost at the start of their campaigns, and for our funding partners, who see their risk reduced, their funds go further and their community get more involved.

Crowdmatch sees a funding partner support a group of projects either from the start of their crowdfunding campaign, by providing up to half of the funds they are seeking, which then needs to be matched by the community, or at the end, based on meeting specific goals.

The goal of Crowdmatch is to better connect philanthropic giving with community aspirations and impact investing with market input.

The combination  gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits the best chance to raise the funds and rally the community backing they need to do good, while making institutional funding more targeted and impactful.

With ING DIRECT we are now into our third year of Dreamstarter and the sixth cohort of projects supported through the program will launch in two weeks. Through Dreamstarter ING DIRECT have invested about $200,000 in community benefit projects and together we have helped them crowdfund more than $300,000 more, with a 90% participant success rate.

We are working hard to increase the number of these opportunities available. Just in the last week we have launched two new opportunities.

New Crowdmatch Opportunities:

EFF Social Enterprise Design Challenge cover image

The Social Enterprise Design Challenge presented by the English Family Foundation is a rare and exciting opportunity for Australian-based non-profit social enterprises to design and test a “visionary” new project.

It will fund four projects for half their fundraising goal, up to $15,000 each. Find out more about what they’re looking for and how to apply here. Applications due by May 5.

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The Young Changemakers Crowdmatch will support Australian changemakers aged 18-29 to develop and run crowdfunding campaigns, with $5,000 in match funds going to the projects with the most supporters and most funds raised at the end. Participating projects will get help from experts in both organisations and have their campaigns promoted to over 150,000 people.

Find out more and how to apply here. Applications due May 1.

Why just Australian opportunities? Because that’s what these particular partners are looking to fund and who is live right now, but we hear you, we want to create opportunities for everyone reading this and are in discussions with potential Crowdmatch partners in several countries. If you would like to see this model available to great projects in your country we would love your suggestions for potential partners as we are looking for new partners to add new opportunities all around the world! And if you are that potential partner, well….

Interested in Changing the World Together?

You can find out more about partnership opportunities with StartSomeGood here and when you’re ready get in touch with us here. We’d love to talk with you about collaboration!

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