Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 9: Beat the Streets

In our meeting with Erin, the director of Barnabas Network, she emphasized that having more corporate sponsors is vital for their existence. This is a great idea and can be done. Yes, obtaining a large sponsor in any venture is significant to the survival and sustainability of that business, but it is significant for that business to make sure they have be familiarized by a large part of the community. That's why beating the streets is an important part of what can make a small venture as large as it wants to be.

The problem I have seen is that no one is really as familiar with the company. There is not enough wide spread knowledge about Barnabas throughout the community that helps build a strong reputation for this venture. The first thing a small company would say when approached by a representative of the company is "who?", more less the response of a larger one. What larger companies want when associated themselves with another venture is good press. Offering advertisement for that company is good, but there is not enough advertisement for that company if you have not put enough advertisement into yourself. With this beating the street is essential. The main reason why is education. The more people that are educated on your venture, the more referrals, the more clients, the more good press. But you have to be able to sustain yourself somehow in the mean time, so to do that you have to market within the community. Getting as many people interested in what you do and getting as many smaller companies donating to your cause, makes you more attractive to larger sponsors.

Ready... Set... Go!

Never ones for waiting to the last minute, yesterday Amy and myself set out to begin our work for the Barnabas Network. We brainstormed and began to think of ways we could start to get the word out and hopefully raise interest as well. Our mission for this week was to hang up flyers on and around campus as various student housing apartments. Why student housing? Simple, I can begin to explain how many students are willing and ready to get rid of the furniture they purchased for their apartments when they leave during the summer or if they're just moving to a new location and want new things. Last year alone I remember walking by countless couches etc, that were sitting on the side of the road in near perfect condition outside of many student apartments. They were giving things away; out with the old. But as the old adage says, "one man's trash is another man's treasure". What those students want to get rid of this year will hopefully go to an organization such as the Barnabas Network. We put up as many flyers as we could. Covering sides of mailboxes and student bulletions inside of clubhouses. We stuck our flyer everywhere we could think of even the Bryan building and other building around campus, and even Starbucks locations around Greensboro Our first step was small but holds the potential to make an enormous impact. I'm looking forward to what's next and the possibilities that lie ahead.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Week 9: Meeting with the Barnabas Network

This week "Four-Titude" met with our non-profit organization that we have chosen to work with for our practicum hours. We met one time to find out what the needs were of this organization, and this time we talked more details because it is coming up quickly when we will have to start working hours to complete our final project.
The following were needs that Erin Stratford (the executive director) identified.
1)Connect with corportations (preferably furniture and mattress retailers) to either
a) sponsor barnabas financially
b) become a partner agency
c) support a family ( a referral cost is $25.00 a family)
d) or set up a "scholarship" program- $500.00 dollars provides 25 families with furniture for their homes

2) Set up consistent relationships with medium sized mattress companies to either help deliver used mattresses they are picking up from customers, to donate new mattresses (less likely), or to cut some sort of deal with them to help put children in a bed.
3) They need ideas to help communicate who they are to a wider audience
a) Guerrilla marketing of some kind
b) Talk with sign makers to see if they are willing to donate a truck sign
c) possibly talk to the wood working dept. of UNCG to see if they would make a sign for the Barnabas Network as a project- whether it be now or the immediate future
4) ask people to give (either a one time gift or consistently)$100.00 to give a new mattress to a child.

We have been overwhelmed with all of these possibilities. We hope to be able to get a relationship with a few places, such as Rooms to Go, in order to help this company. They are willing to put any company's name on many of their items, to show that they are fulfilling their CSR, but at the same time they are not willing to be "owned" by any one company.

Our group will strive to help this worthy organization with anything we can in the allotted time given to us. I can't wait to see what will happen!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Top Chef Guerilla Marketing Style

As a part of our second case study, we were asked to create a short marketing video using geuerilla marketing. Finding a way to effectively market a company that is literally on the other side of the country wasn't easy and it wasn't easy to find a way to illicit the attention of college students who were busy enjoying our new spring weather. We had to find a fool proof way of getting them to stop tanning, throwing frisbees, or just enjoying the sun; and come check out our marketing scheme. Lee with his bag of goodies (and all colleges students love free food and candy) approached each and every group of students out on the EUC lawn, donned in his chef's coat and basketball shorts. He told them there was a cooking show about to start and handed them all candy to entice them to come and check out the show. Needless to say, me following him with a camera and our table set up in the middle of the sidewalk with bowls and snacks all over it was enough to scratch at students' curiosity. Once we started our show, Lee went into work mode and shared with the crowd our objective and why were were having the cooking show. He then proceeded to engage people by blending different ingredients in a large bowl. Ingredients that are needed to create success in Rubicon's goals. Ingredients such as doctors, architects, marketing majors and business majors alike. Once all the "ingredients" were mixed there was no chance of failure. The crowd enjoyed the short demonstration and we effectively brought attention to a cause beyond us all. Top Chef has nothin' UNCG's own guerila marketing chef guru!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week8: The Story of Stuff

One of the aspects of being sustainable is looking at the three aspects that feed off of one another. These are social, economic, and environmental factors. The video we viewed in class, and discussed for most of the class period was "The Story of Stuff" This talks about the life cycle of items, or "stuff" from its beginnings, which is from the earth, to its end...which is usually harmfully disposed of-therefore hurting the earth. Some interesting things I did not know about was that certain chemicals are so involved in our world that even mother's breast milk is contaminated. People mindlessly following what marketers tell them about needing new stuff, and throwing out the old, even when there is no real reason or need to. People tie their happiness to something created to keep you dissatisfied. This is a recipe for an unhappy life, and since this type of marketing has driven behavior, the overall happiness of our nation has steadily gone done. (Leonard)
There are different ways to approach these issues in a social entrepreneurial way. One would be to form a business that is interested in truly keeping people healthy, and toxin free (or as much as possible). There has to be a way to keep babies healthy through not introducing them to toxic breast milk. There are toxins in lipstick, deodorant, and many other things. One such venture could help raise awareness, get support and demand that the government pass laws to help this occur. This is how the social aspect would be addressed. They could sell "clean" products that were produced at the most base level in a natural way, this feeds the economic aspect. And it is clear how the environment would benefit from using cleaner items, which would eventually go back to the earth- keeping our earth and our bodies happy and healthy.
This video really made me think of the decisions I usually make without thinking in my day to day life. It is easy to really make a difference for yourself, others, and the planet as a whole if you simply think before you act, and decide to look at the big picture instead of what is simply right in front of you.

Works Cited

Leonard, A. (n.d.). The Story of Stuff. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from The Story of Stuff Project:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 7: Spring Break

No Blogging This Week

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For Profit vs. Non Profit

Social entrepreneurs are typically associated with people who's only goal is to bring about a social change that will make the world a better place. They aren't seen as a group of people who have an economic angle attached to their ideas of a better humanity but that type of social entrepreneur is alive and well and on the rise. The for profit sector of social entrepreneurship has taken off recent and people are finding ways to promote their social causes while creating a profit for themselves. A lot of people are beginning to feel that those not for profit organizations are being left in the dust and forgotten because of the glitz and glamour of their for profit counterparts. For profit social ventures are fast becoming the face of social entrepreneurship. They generate more money and therefore have a larger platform to get their ideas out into the public. Their more known, are moving at fast rates that the not for profit and are able to fix their social issues a lot faster than the not for profit are.
I personally feel that regardless of whether or not the social entrepreneur is for or not for profit their goals are essentially the same. They want to create a sustaiable change in world that will better the lives of everyone on earth.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Week 6: Social Entrprenuers Motive, helping the people or themselves? (an independent thought)

The idea of a social entrepreneur is a thing of beauty. Here is a person who actually wants to help assist with a need of their own community. A person who wants to "clean up" or resurrect a community in ruin if you will. Someone who is will bring hope and help for the people of the community most in need. As a person in need this is beautiful and as a person who cares about the well-being of others this is great, but what about the self-indulged opportunist. This is my independent thought, what about the selfish who only see this as an opportunity to line their own pockets by creating an illusion of helping others.

We're not talking about the irresponsible, those who have good intentions and mishandle money. This is solely as a question about the people who would take a non-profit opportunity and turn it into a for-profit opportunity. How can we prevent it? How do you recognize it when it happens? How do you screen for it? Is this really a question? The answer to the last question is easy, yes! Not sure how to screen for it, recognize it, or prevent it but it does happen and it is a problem. My question and purpose for this blog is to ask, is our only answer adding another type of social entrepreneur to oversee the others to determine their authenticity. There are people in the world that do take the misfortunes of others to make an opportunity to line up themselves financially. There are church organizations that have been found in falsehoods, group home founders, ect, that have shown in our current history that the only people they want to help is themselves and yet there is no clear system in place to keep these people out of the loop.

If you ask yourselves any one question let it be this, what is the most effective way to delete untrue social entrepreneurs?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week 6: Triple Bottom Line

Something interesting this week, while talking about the tripled bottom line, is the question of "why are more companies embracing this while it leads to bigger initial costs?" As discussed in class, this triple bottom line is made up of economic, environmental, and social causes. Unlike the traditional business approach of simply looking at the economic side of things, it strives to find the best balance of all three. One idea that I have heard throughout my time at UNCG is that these businesses are looking at all of these because it looks better for them as a company if they are seen to care about more than their own company. If they at least appear to care, consumers will be drawn to them and in the end it will have served to give them more business and more profits in the long run.
Others say that these people simply strive to have a triple bottom line because they sincerely care. I am sure that there is a wide spectrum of all of these people in the business world. One company that has such goals in their mission statement is Starbucks. They are by no means a social organization, but it can be argued that they are striving to have a triple bottom line.

"The following six guidelines will help us measure the appropriateness of our
(1) Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and
(2) Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.
(3) Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting
and fresh delivery of our coffee.
(4) Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time
(5) Contribute positively to our communities and our environment
(6) Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success" ("Starbucks corporation," 2010)

Within guideline number 5, there is obviously a social component to their goals, number 6 gives the obvious economic motivation, and less obviously in number 3 you can find the environmental motivation as well. Starbucks uses C.A.F.E. practices to help farmers in other countries, and they only partner with farmers who use a certain caliber of farming practices. I learned this because I work at Starbucks and have had this information constantly drilled into my memory. This is how Starbucks justifies charging between 11.05-13.00 dollars per pound of coffee. It takes money to do the right thing. This is an interesting dilemma. This is possibly why many companies have shied away from the triple bottom line int he past. Yet, because consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their spending, they are becoming more willing to spend more to make a difference, and they are even DEMANDING companies to go green, etc.

I believe we will see an increase in this concept and thought process for years to come.

Hopefully it will be the norm in several years...and social entrepreneurs will be the ones to push this through to its completion through passion and innovation.


Starbucks Corporation. (2010). Retrieved from