One of the primary benefits of a philanthropic business model is the ability to provide ongoing funds for nonprofit organizations. Fundraising is one of the most critical areas for nonprofits to be able to fuel their efforts in generating awareness of their cause, and affecting real change. Removing the need to fundraise so heavily allows organizations to re-allocate resources toward program implementation and volunteering with a steady steam of funds on which they can rely. But like any corporate giving or cause-related marketing campaign, there is no guarantee of ongoing support, and often, initiatives are geared toward several different organizations or causes over time, diluting the overall amount of funds any one nonprofit would receive.
In a unique twist on the concept of for-profit philanthropy, Cr8ing Digital Art, a web design firm in Pennsylvania, is launching an ecommerce site focused exclusively on building a brand new foundation called Be A Good Human that will focus on igniting good will through individuals, communities, and schools globally. The ecommerce end will be 100% focused on funding the Be A Good Human project, facilitating a turnkey — and permanent — flow of dollars to keep their efforts thriving through a percentage of all sales. Each retail division (apparel, books, etc.) will also then contribute a portion of the proceeds from their respective cost centers to established foundations with synergistic ties to the Be A Good Human iniatitives. This helps create partnerships, united around a specific cause, and will broaden reach and maximize the work that can be done in making a tangible difference through multiple, dedicated sources.
Unlike some cause marketing or ad hoc giving programs, their business is solely focused on building a vehicle for sustainable change that, through one singular foundation, can benefit many. You can’t put a price tag on consciousness, but you can on the purchases that trigger it. And the Be A Good Human project proves that you can spend wisely — and responsibly.
1. How do you define for-profit philanthropy?
The art of creating a for-profit partnership that provides a permanent funding source for non-profit philanthropy, dedication and awareness.
2. Please describe your philanthropic business plan and your current charitable activities.
Cr8ing Digital Art, a for-profit graphic design, print and web development company has sponsored a team in the creation and running of a for-profit store and non-profit foundation, Be a Good Human.
This project is two parts: first, a dot.com store beginning with an apparel line creating global awareness and continuing to grow a number of divisions: athletic, children’s wear, book and audio vault, food and conserving energy products. The store will donate a percentage of each purchase directly to the foundation, creating a permanent funding source. Each division will also donate another percentage of each purchase to an established foundation or effort — Children’s Hospitals, Charity:Water, The Red Cross, and their existing effort or goals. Once a set amount is raised, the next foundation on the list will be sponsored by the division, allowing the ecommerce site to support ongoing efforts of the Be A Good Human Foundation while helping to fuel the work of other organizations and causes. The site will also accept business and individual sponsors with 50% donated directly to the foundation.
The second part is the dot.org foundation, which will be separate yet connected. The foundation supports individuals, communities and schools globally. This may be any in crisis, health or natural disaster, supporting education opportunities, scholarships and good will dreams of others. The many division sponsorships to established foundations will also serve to connect those in need with support available.
3. How do you communicate the impact of these efforts to your customers?
This project is currently sponsored on the Cr8ing Digital Art site while development of the respective sites are underway. There is an online scale marking sponsorship and development progress with a garden is growing for a visual progress of the foundation’s work. For every flower, there is a dream behind it. The foundation’s first test dream and flower planting was a big success. The current garden view on the site is the top of the “d” in Be a Good Human; eventually the entire garden will be a digital walk through. Photographed at The Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, the visual garden and flowers will share the journey for sponsors and recipients to document the foundation’s growth.
Cr8ing Digital Art will continue to support the global awareness, print and web development for both the store and foundation. As we are able to meet sponsorship levels, the dream entry form and garden will move to the .org site. There will also be a permanent foundation dedication located on the site with a graphic link to individual or business sponsors’ sites.
4. Why do you think it’s important for companies to adopt philanthropy as part of their revenue model?
I believe it is important to give back, pay it forward, support good will with appreciation for the many that care and dedicate their lives supporting those in need. It is also a wonderful opportunity to support the progress of many, increasing the depth of a for-profit business. We are entering a time of global awareness; how we can help, invent, so many may live a full life, cultivating the realities of conservation, sustainability and awareness for future generations.
5. What would you say is the most critical element in successfully implementing philanthropic endeavors?
Perseverance, determination, passion and dedication to good will, in business and philanthropy. To achieve progress and be a good human, with global resources and to each other. If you are able to combine for-profit to support non-profit success, the journey will not be dependent on fundraising alone. We believe it can be done.
Name: Heather Blankenbiller
Company: Cr8ing Digital Art