What fervent belief does Vaishnavi Maganti, an 11th grader and Indian Impact brand ambassador in Hyderabad, share with Jeremiah Owyang, Crowd Companies’ Chief Catalyst and David Batstone, Not For Sale founder?
An ardent belief that leveraging best talents with others, around strong sweet spots of mutual interest, is a powerful way to scale their efforts for the greater good. Yet to do well together requires a mutuality mindset. Their focus is on the “us” in their collaboration, not “simply” giving nor asking for help but working, with partners, on strong sweet spots of shared interest. In practice, that means they choose to collectively, iteratively hone methods and systems for leveraging their capacity to serve better together. Here are some of the methods they use that you can adapt for the cause or business that fuels our passion.
• Young Maganti, as a local brand ambassador for Indian Impact, a non-profit that facilitates the right foods getting to each local Anganwadi Center where the poor are served in India, knows that, “I’m helping 80 malnourished kids and myself in the process. They will have a better future thanks to the funds and awareness I raise, and I get to brush my leadership and marketing skills.”
• The luxury car service, Uber is seeking traction in India. It partnered with Indian Impact to enable its customers to use a special promotional code that automatically contributes a fixed percentage of that ride’s price to Indian Impact. More people may hire Uber, moved by this effortless way to help feed the poor, and wind up admiring the car service when they do.
• A second way Uber uses its best resources — drivers and a handy app — to support the cause is a campaign they co-promote. For three days, anyone in Hyderabad can contact Uber to donate essential items such as much-needed eating plates and floor mats. They simply schedule a pick-up, using the Uber app, for drivers to bring their donations to the central Indian Impact office where the goods can be sorted to go to the center where they are most needed.
Stay Close to Those You Serve By Involving People They Like And Trust
• By recruiting and training local ambassadors, Indian Impact stays close to what each of the 868 centers needs, and inspires ambassadors to recruit their peers. In so doing the non-profit decentralizes marketing while multiplying the number of potential contributors and Center users they can involve.
• Pro athletes can use their visibility and popularity during game high-points to highlight their support of a cause. 35 Major League baseball players, for example, have become the highly publicized Team NFS, supporting the non-profit Not For Sale, in its mission to stop human trafficking globally. They tie personal donations to their on-the-field performance such as home runs, strike outs etc.
• With each donation the pro athletes create a news-making event that raises their reputation and NFS’s visibility. That collective leveraging of best talents for greater fundraising and awareness means NFS can expand, this year, to work with over 50 baseball players, as well as with players in Cricket Australia and the Australian Football League.
• By creating a brand council where peers in large corporations can share insights into how to leverage the growing power of the Collaborative Economy Movement – and seeding the start-up with major, diverse players like Nestle, Hyatt and Adobe — Crowd Companies’ audacious founder, Jeremiah Owyang set the context for all major firms to feel they’d better join or they might be left behind and lose market share. Sagely, he launched at a coveted conference, LeWeb, then hosted a convivial kick-off party in S.F.
• How can you become the ringleader in your profession or industry by piggybacking on a hot trend with an aptly designed group where peers leverage value and visibility for each other by belonging? And what kind of key early adopters would your recruit? Plus what kind of online and face-to-face opportunities would you build into your mutuality-centric organization? See the diverse yet closely interwoven activities and partners that Not For Sale and Indian Impact pulled in, for example.
Innovate Together To Improve What You Provide
• Instead of asking Coca Cola India for money, Indian Impact is co-conducting a mini-pilot in Hyderabad for the distribution of Vitingo. That’s their micro-nutrient fortified beverage powder manufactured for the project on a no-loss, no-profit basis. Together they will track the capacity of this drink to alleviate the iron deficiency anemia of the poorest children, ages five or less, and pregnant mothers.
Create Revenue-Generating Partnerships
Not For Sale supporter and San Francisco Giants pitcher, Jeremy Affeldt participated in a meeting of Silicon Valley leaders who explored ways to craft an exportable job-building business model for at-risk populations. Affeldt thought of involving people in the Amazon in harvesting plants and making a beverage he dubbed REBBL. The name came from its ingredients including “Roots, Extracts, Berries, Bark and Leaves.” This organization not only increases economic opportunities for highly exploited families in the Amazon, but in keeping with Not For Sale’s core mission, REBBI reinvests proceeds into projects that combat human trafficking. NFS created a Marketplace, with 50 partners that create revenue-generating products, thus enabling the non-profit to scale its global campaign.
Leverage Participation, Tracking and Pride Via High Tech Systems and High Touch Service
Indian Impact operates with assembly-line efficiency via an online process that tracks the kinds of food each center needs while monitoring the resultant changes in the health of those they serve so they can discover the “bright spots” of what works best. They also experiment with social media to raise visibility, pull in more participants and praise their helpful actions. Just as importantly, they create “high touch” ways for people to connect in person and see evidence of their work. The foot soldiers, their brand ambassadors, for example are in surrounding colleges and other schools. Donated billboard space shows messages about, not about this charity but our nation building efforts.
In these ways, Indian Impact founder, Ridhima Parvathaneni believes that, “Non-profits can be more successful than their profitable counterparts if they incubate a noble cause with dexterity and efficiency. A non-profit that’s got hustle is the new normal.” As William Butler Yeats wrote, “Because I helped to wind the clock, I come to hear it strike.”
Want to Discover More Smart Ways to Share?
For those of you interested in the inventive ways others are learning to share and collaborate, to make or save money, forge friendships, foster community, serve the greater good or other reason, here are some resources I respect: Shareable, Collaborative Consumption, Quantified Self, What’s Mine is Yours, and Mesh. What resources have you discovered for improving how we can share, co-create or otherwise collaborate?