Every year, thousands of starry-eyed college students graduate into the real world wanting to make a dent in the universe. Many of these young kids look around and see huge problems with the world — racial inequality, gender-based inequity, poverty, hunger, unnecessary wars — you name it, the world is a complex, troubled place with more problems than one could possibly count. And young people want to fix these problems.
The difficulty with wanting to fix these issues is that many millennials are realizing that the old philanthropy model is not as effective as it once was. According to some millennials, most philanthropists claim that they want to do good, but when push comes to shove, most charitable organizations only allocate a small percentage of their annual profits to philanthropic efforts.
This is why some forward-thinking “idea people” are calling for a revision of the philanthropic mode of doing business. These innovative individuals have called themselves philanthropreneurs.
Making Philanthropy a Part of The Business Model
Remember when TOMS Shoes made waves a decade ago for donating a pair of shoes for every shoe sold? This, according to philanthropreneurs, is how philanthropic organizations can make a difference in the future.
Instead of making a bland promise about donating 4% of profits or claiming that you’ll collaborate with a charitable organization, why not truly make social change central to the mission of your business and help lead the crusade when it comes to fixing the part of the world you want fixed? Philanthropreneurs focus on the change, instead of the profit in their business model.
Brands that are building their business directly around philanthropy include companies like Roma Boots, Smile Squared, and Out of Print Clothing. Like TOMS, Roma Boots donates a pair of children’s boots for every pair of boots they sell. Smile Squared sends kids with terminal illnesses on dream vacations, and Out of Print Clothing is working to create literacy programs for children who are struggling to learn how to read.
The goal of a philanthropreneur is to design their business in a way that the impact a business can have on a society is truly exponential. Expert entrepreneur Marc Angelo asks aspiring philanthropreneurs to design their companies so that the effect they can have on the world is completely sustainable, even if the company itself breaks apart.
After all, isn’t philanthropy bigger than just you? Isn’t it about recognizing the world’s problems, and then doing whatever you can to solve them? This is the mission of the philanthropreneur.