This post is part of “The Pitch” series, which follows up with socially conscious creatives who submitted to the inaugural Benevolent Media Pitch Night competition in November 2012. At the event, held in Washington, D.C., 13 different projects and organizations presented 3-minute proposals on how to use storytelling and design for social good, for a chance to win funding to make their ideas a reality. (Read about all the winners and finalists here.)
As we gear up to host another Pitch Night during our Media Rise Festival in late-September, we want to know: Where are they now? What’s the status of their project? What lessons have they learned? Do they have any requests for collaboration? Stay tuned!
We followed up with Brian Weinberg, founder of Blended Profit. His project GAMECHANGERS consists of interviews and dialogues with new thought leaders on the status and future of growing good business. You can tune in every second Tuesday of each month at 8:00 p.m. EST via Google+ to hear the show.
Why did you start your project and what have you been doing to date?
I was working with a Berkeley professor out of San Francisco testing a course on microfinance and impact investing. It is a topic that a lot of people are unfamiliar with and many professors aren’t confident enough to teach. We were getting different speakers for the course every week and questions, such as, “Where are we going in this market of social enterprise?”, “How do we grow the economy in dollars and cents?”, and “What are the unmet needs for which we can make it all that we want it to be?” continued to arise. To help answer those questions related to “How do we grow the economy?”, we figured that the best way was to speak to those with 20 to 30 years of experience. We started by interviewing some of the same course speakers and then expanded to include 23 speakers, ranging from Sonal Shah, former deputy assistant to the President and director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation to Matt Mahan, president and CEO of Causes.com.
Currently, we are moving towards a topic-based model, and most of the topics will be related to sustainable products. We are also launching a retail business to help sell these sustainable products and grow the good economy. We’ve learned that if people don’t buy these products, then these companies are going to fail, even if they are doing things the right way and probably making less money per unit compared to their competitors that aren’t treating their employees fairly and making products sustainably. Our goal is to create a more open dialogue for solutions for changing consumer behavior and government regulations to open up more markets for these types of products.
Do you have any requests for collaboration or calls to action?
Anybody can watch the show and tweet their questions in real time. Organizations can have our show on their website. We are also interested in high caliber interviewees. Any feedback from the community would be appreciated. Also, if anyone really wants spearhead our marketing/social media efforts that would be helpful. (Contact Brian here if interested.)
What have you learned from your work thus far?
We have learned to be more sophisticated with our marketing checklist. Also, we’ve decided to change the format to more of a dialogue instead of interviews, and limiting it to once a month for 30 minutes instead of weekly for an hour. This allows more time to promote the each episode and for the topic to be the main focus rather than the interviewee.
How have relationships with syndicated partners affected GAMECHANGERS’ media presence?
Some have been better than others. Two or three have been great at increasing our Twitter traffic. We have learned that we are good at finding interviewees to speak with, but not necessarily an audience to listen in. This is why we are looking for other organizations to help us promote.
About the Author Marie-Noelle Nguyen
Marie-Noelle is a DC area food blogger (www.lunchinginthedmv.com), mother to a chocolate lab-mix and "bgirl for life." She is a Maryland native, and is currently working at the National Institutes of Health.