Social change work is hard and frustrating and wonderful and terrible; it is also, at times, funny, quirky and just plain fascinating. With this blog we hope to capture all that goes into what we do at Capital Good Fund, and we invite you to join the conversation!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Marketplace of Ideas

There is a marketplace of ideas, one in which the winners shape public policy, make funding decisions and launch programs that affect the lives of millions.  Not only that, but the more time I spend in this marketplace, the more I see that the ideas that spread do so because of the money and power behind them.  The consequences of this dynamic are profound: global warming deniers, deficit hawks and pugilistic lovers of war continue to drive the direction of this country.

In short, if we are to better the world, if we are to overcome injustice, we must ensure that good, just and righteous ideas spread.  But doing so is easier said than done.  If I had a million dollar budget, I could run a robust advertising campaign online, in print, radio, tv.  And If you don't think a large advertising budget matters, remember that the first Gulf War started with an ad campaign, John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid failed, in part, because of the Swiftboat ad campaign, and on and on and on.

Alas, I do not have a million dollar budget...I don't even have a $10,000 budget!  The only path forward for me is one that is grassroots, that leverages the power of the internet and personal connection to excite people about Capital Good Fund. If you have ever read the work of Seth Godin, you'll know that one way of selling your product, service or idea is to first excite the "early adopters."  According to Godin, early adopters are the people that wait in line overnight to buy the new iPhone, the Facebook friends that read every post written by Capital Good Fund.  In order to succeed, you must reach them and engage them; once they are empowered to take action, they will tell their friends who tell their friends until, boom, you've got a groundswell of've got a moment.

Now the only question remaining is how to actually make it happen!  On Monday, we will be launching a radio ad campaign targeted at those likely to want to donate to CGF--venture capitalists, socially-minded and successful people under age 40, whole foods shoppers, etc.  We'll see how it works, but I've no doubt that it won't be enough.  Somehow I have to channel the passion that many people have for what we're doing at CGF--creating and implementing a transformational business model for tackling poverty in America--and turn it into monetary and other support.

The problem is not that we don't have answers, but rather that, of the 100 possible solutions, we've no idea which one to pursue.  We don't have time or money or energy for all of them.  So here's what we need: your ideas, your suggestions.  Together we can win in the marketplace of ideas!  Let's do it together.  Here are some possibilities:

--Give passionate CGF supporters a CGF t-shirt
--Use something like Charity Water's "Donate Your Birthday"model to allow people to deeply engage with our work and raise money for us
--Get a retailer like Whole Foods or CVS Pharmacy to enable clients to make a donation to us at check-out

Please, we need your ideas! Comment here or post to our Facebook or Twitter accounts!

1 comment:

  1. Setting up donation jars at local like minded businesses that recieve high traffic.

    Eastside Marketplace
    Dave's Supermarket