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!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Frank Discussion About Money

Cut The Euphemisms
I feel that so much of our modern lives are shrouded in euphemisms that rarely do we say what we mean; instead we hide behind safer language, safer feelings.  Beer and shampoo and a host of other consumer product commercials imply that use of the product will result in dates, in sex, in beauty, in success.  To sell sugar water Coca Cola shows us polar bears enjoying the beverage: let's make something lacking any nutritional value seem cute and refreshing!  Exxon doesn't rapaciously exploit natural resources: it "delivers value" to its stakeholders.  The wealthy get preferential treatment (11% taxes on capital gains!) not because they have the clout to lobby for that treatment, but rather because they are job creators.  Financial institutions behind the global recession are spared criminal suits, not because they have the power to intimidate the government and the legal team to fight it, but because they are too big too fail.  Benefits and programs to support the poor and middle class--food stamps, unemployment insurance, job training, infrastructure improvements--are continually whittled down, not because they lack political power...No! It's because government is too big and they are too dependent on government largesse.  And so on.

And in the non-profit realm, the use of euphemisms is no less prevalent.  How many times have you heard about the urgent fundraising deadline, the limited time matching funds offer, the appeal that tugs at your heartstrings, the call to action? (And how many times have you seen us do the same! What if this post is more of the same!)  These are all ways of beating around the bush of the real message: we need money.  We need money to hire talented people; to invest in computers and monitors and data systems; to market our products and services to clients; to do the outreach needed to raise more money; to analyze our social impact; to reach more clients; to conduct audits of our finances; to provide professional development to our staff; to attend conferences and network; to open new offices; to hire consultants in order to improve how we operate.  And so on.

Money Is A Tool, So Use It!
In our Financial Coaching Plus Program, we have a section where we talk to our clients about how to view money as a tool as opposed to a burden, to face it head on, to recognize it as a means to the end of upward mobility, hope and opportunity. Let us do the same.  We need your money and your support because the poverty and inequality problem in America has reached crisis levels; in many ways, we resemble a developing country. We need your money because one organization serving 100,000 families per year is exponentially more efficient, more scalable than 10,000 initiatives that serve 100 people a year.  We need your money because we know how to tackle poverty, how to change lives, how to eventually reach 100,000 families and then 1 million families.  We need your money because we are starved of the capital we need to achieve that growth.  We need your money because the more donors we have, the more supporters we have, the greater the network we can leverage to call for political change, to advocate for the poor, to change the world. And so on.

I don't work 60 hours a week for $45,000 a year for any reason other than my deep and abiding desire for a more just world.  I owe it to you to be honest about what my organization needs.  It's time to stop veiling the real issue, the real problem.  It is not sustainable for us to constantly be raising money just to cover existing costs, leaving us unable to invest in the future.  Nor is it sustainable for organizations such as ours to spend 10 years getting a point where we make a real dent in the problem when, given the funding, we could do the same in half the time.  Every day that goes by makes it that much harder to untagle the strangling web of injustice; every day a child goes hungry lowers the probability that that child will fulfill her true potential.  If we are going to bring about transformational change, we must do so now, today, as soon as possible.  We must go about our work with an urgent patience.

So here's what I need from you: a donation, an investment and support.

1) You can buy a Social Innovation Share as part of our Non Profit IPO for $25 a pop.  Each Share is tax-deductible and gives you a voting stake in our growth--the ability to vote to elect a Board member.  You also get 'perks' like a stock certificate, a t-shirt and jewelry.  But let's be real: you aren't donating to get those things; you are donating because you believe in our cause.
2) You can lend us as little as $500 and earn between 1 and 3% on your investment.  Every dollar you lend us goes to our loan pool so that we can lend to the poor.
3) You can sign up for our newsletter, read our blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIN, and share / retweet / like / and comment on our posts and writings.  Yes, this makes a difference!

In short, let's cut to the chase: we need money, we need support, we need YOU!

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