Friday, April 23, 2010

Week 10: Society's cycle: Choice or Natural Selection

After reading Amy's blog it got me on the same track to discuss, are some people naturally selected to live and adapt to harder ways of life or do they choose? It is a necessary question to ask because there are many social entrepreneurs to account for the many communities they assist. Whats the most common answers you hear when this question is asked? "Its no choice because of the societal structure some are bound to fail", or "some people aren't given a chance so they have to" or sometimes you hear "some people are predisposed to failure." So which is it, choice or natural selection? The answer is both, and here is why.

In nature, the strong survive and the weak die. Simple concept and short, but true. That also holds true in our society, the rich are considered the strong and the poor the weak but is this necessarily true, no its not. In the television show "American Gangster" it displays plenty of people who live and prosper under harsh and dangerous conditions, yet live well. Morally and legally the way they live is wrong but there are some that manage well over the median. My point is this, no matter what the living conditions are or your genetic make up is, if you do not have the will to choose to do better for yourself, then naturally you will be left behind while the strong continue to push forward.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Today Earth Day celebrated it's 40th birthday and I as well as Amy and other UNCG students were able to take part in the community activities in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970 by a Wisconsin Senator as a way to bring more awareness to the concerns of the Earth. Everyday people go about their daily lives and rarely give a second thought to the environment around them and how everything they do effects it. From the gas that we use to fuel our cars, to the type of materials that are used to package the food we eat and the things we use. I know I don't typically check out whether the things I buy are Earth friendly, but after today I think I may be a little more conscious and do more than just recycle. Supporting industries that are trying to preserve our planet is important and their efforts aren't just to help one but to help us all. I enjoyed the Earth Day events in our city. There was music, food, vendors, families, businesses who supported, and plenty of young volunteers who saw a cause worth being a part of and I'm glad to be counted in that number. You know an idea is big when the popular television channel Nickelodeon devotes the entire day to the promote of it, Earth Day is undoubtedly one of those big ideas and hopefully will stay just as big and become even bigger in years to come.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 13: Ideas For Guerilla Marketing

Something interesting our group has been turning over in our minds is the idea of doing a guerilla marketing campaign for The Barnabas Network. To review what this, it is a non conventional way of getting someone's name out there usually on a low budget. There were a few different methods of getting this done. We are just starting to sketch out ideas. Our first idea has been a very strange one. Because The Barnabas Network is involved in getting beds to children who are currently sleeping on the floor, we were thinking that some how getting a mattress to an area with heavy traffic and getting Lee to jump on the bed with a poster with brief information about The Barnabas Network. Barnabas is desperate to get their name out there- so while this idea is strange we are sure it would attract attention. Another idea I just thought of, which is much more simple is to get big bright posters.... 4 of them (because we have 4 group members) and to stand in that same heavy traffic area with posters that have different but connected messages. The first poster could say a shocking statistic: "An estimated 250,000 children in need sleep on the floor each night" The second could say: "Want to be a part of the solution?" The third poster would say: "The Barnabas Network will pick up your gently used furniture for FREE" And the final poster could say: "Call (336) 370-4002 for this FREE service!"
I believe this would shock the public and make them aware of a need and give them a way to respond!
When I first learned about guerilla marketing I was skeptical about how students could make an impact. I looked to examples like those in Time Square or on the internet for T-Mobile and it appears to be too big of a job, but I believe that we can do something interesting for The Barnabas Network!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Week 12: Practicum Hours with The Barnabas Network

This part of the semester, as we are not having class and everything is beginning to come to an end more quickly than most have anticipated, has been spent working with The Barnabas Network. This week, so far, Nickie Young and myself found some free time and spent this time passing out fliers to people in the community. These fliers had basic information about The Barnabas Network and talked about the service they provided to the community, that of picking up gently used furniture to be recycled into their furniture bank. Nickie and myself aimed our flier distribution through some of the most lucrative neighborhoods. As we were walking down one street we came across an older couple. Immediately they asked "OK-so what are you selling?" We were shocked by this, and they were even more shocked to learn we were actually offering a service to them.

It is amazing to think of the impact that many non profits would have if they had the resources to get their name out there a little more. As with many non-profits- The Barnabas Network- has had to concentrate on maintaining what they have instead of spending money on marketing or any expansion at all. This is where we come in. We are aiming to put fliers all over Greensboro. This is a large task. We have fliers which are catered toward hanging in a public place with tear off phone numbers, and then there are those for individuals and mailboxes. We are also asking churches to think about letting their congregations know about the non-profit. We asked for money if they had some to give or if they felt led, but also just prayer support, volunteers, and even just to keep them in mind when getting rid of their old furniture!

While our efforts seem small, I am hoping that our work will lead to a greater awareness in the community overall. Hopefully Barnabas will have to be turning away furniture because they have no where left to store it all!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Week 11: Earth Day and NC GreenPower

Hearing about earth day this week has reminded me of certain things we have discussed as a class during this semester. To go back to the beginning of the semester, we discussed going green as a smart economic choice. It viewed this transition as a smart choice, one that was aimed toward looking at the future for sustainability, as well as creating jobs for those many who are unemployed.
Next we talked about the environment in the context of having a triple bottom line, and how having this creates TRUE sustainability. It is hard to claim you are sustainable if you do nothing to reduce your carbon footprint. While it may be more economically beneficial in the short run to ignore these factors, in the long run it will come back to haunt you.
One such organization in North Carolina that works year round, but which is making a big statement on Earth Day (April 22) is NC Greenpower. They work to encourage the use and development of renewable resources and are involved in carbon emission offsetting. This group recognizes year round that it is important to watch the effect we have on the earth now, so that our children can have a pleasant world to live in. This is the mission that drives this social entrepreneur.

Tom's Shoes's Barefoot acroos the Nation

Tom's Shoes made a challenge this past Thrusday. They challenged people all over to go one day without shoes on hoping that suffering for a mere 24 hours the way some children suffer 24/7 would bring some to epiphanies and lead even more to doing something to help those in that situation. Right here in Greensboro, North Carolina at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, we as a campus accepted Tom's Shoes' challenge and on that Thursday students were urged to spend the day without the comfort of their flip flops or Sperry's and go all natural so to speak. While many people I talked to were ready and willing plenty other didn't see the point, and respectfully declined. But regardless of whether or not a student participated, the message Tom's Shoes has been working to spread went out and made people talk about the issues. Soon those who decided to literally walk one day in the life of a total stranger who's less fortunate found that it isn't so easy going place to place with nothing to protect your feet. Some only made it half a day, some only made it half way across campus before digging into their bags and pulling out a pair of shoes to put on. Undoubtedly when those students felt the pain and discomfort a few hours without shoes brought them their minds went to the millions of kids who do it daily and what they could do to help. Buying a pair of Tom's Shoes will help and students were also urged to go to Tom's website and purchase a pair of shoes which in turn would result in a pair of new shoes being given to one of those kids who never had shoes to call their own. I'm proud of my fellow students who showed through their conversation and participation of the event that regardless of whether or not we've ever met you, ever smiled with you, or cried with you; we care because we're all one family and have to take care of each other, even if it's just offering a pair of shoes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Supercool School's attempt to Revolutionize Education

I think it'd be a fair assessment to state that a large percentage of adults look back on their years in school with a cringe and undying distaste at school as a whole or certain subjects in particular. The typical brick and mortar scenario doesn't hold many fond memories in many people's mind whether it be as a result of the mind numbing memorization of those time tables, or the noun, verb, adjective confusion that boggled many a nine year old's mind. The orthodox mode of education has very rarely been challenged as the very best mode of educating students, until now. Supercool School's literally takes tradition educational techniques and turns them on their heads. Their goal is to "decentralize and democratize education the whole industry, by empowering everyone to create an online school with the simple click of a button." Simply spoken Supercool School challenges those who can and will to go to their website and as advertised, start a school of your own in 60 seconds. That's all it takes according to them to begin to revolutionize education not just for the United States but the world. According to Supercool School, you can have free classes or charge students who join your school but regardless you will become an powerful source of information and education that will be not just a cool, more interesting way to amass information but a new way of getting intelligence to people which it turn will have real life applications. Sounds easy huh? Maybe even too easy, but I think they've got a good idea. Sharing knowledge is essential and learning needs to go beyond the school bells initial start and stop. Learning never ceases and by revolutionizing Education that undoubtedly revolutionize many's ways of thinking and viewing the importance of education in their lives.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Week 10: Financial Documents and Social Entrepreneurs

Financial documents, such as Balance Sheets, Income statements, and cash flow are things that most business students are tired of hearing about. They are obvious subject matters when in a finance or accounting class, but they are also important for social entrepreneurs, whether for profit or non-profit.
This is because investors are necessary to help the business continue to function, especially for non-profits who do not get their money in traditional ways. An example of this is actually our non-profit project, The Barnabas Network. Investors need financial information because they relate to accountability, transparency, and they use these to make comparisons to other like organizations, etc. (James, 2010)
Social Entrepreneurs use these traditional financial documents, but refer to them in different ways. The Balance Sheet is known as the Statement of Financial Position. It assesses what the entrepreneurs' assets and liabilities are. It is a snap shot in time. The Income Statement is also known as Statement of Activities. It is called this because it reveals what each program is doing...what they are producing. The Statement of Cash Flows is king for entrepreneurs. It is the flow of money between the group and outside world. And finally, the 990 forms are the non-profit's tax forms. (James, 2010)
We have learned all of these things in class, and I am beginning to wonder what we will be able to derive from The Barnabas Network's statements. I have looked at their 990 form and they are very vague. Also, I am not sure how willing they will be to share their financial documents. It will be interesting to see what we will be able to get from them and just see from watching them operate.

Works Cited
James, C. (2010, March 29). Accounting and Financial Issues for Social Entrepreneurs. Greensboro, NC.