Impact Investing: Return on Investment From Marketing Social Goods

Impact Investing Return on Investment From Marketing Social Goods

Can you do well while doing good? This is the ultimate question for a marketer in the public and social sector. Doing well in the public and social sector means more than just money. Earning money leads to sustainability and scale, two qualities that communities desperately need and funders desperately seek.

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Governing the Commons: Pricing a new marine protected area in Seychelles

putting a price on open space

Pricing and payments are core aspects of marketing a product or service. For public and social sector marketers, pricing isn’t always straightforward. Often the buyer isn’t the user, and the goal isn’t about making more money or beating the competition. Putting a price on open space such as watersheds and parks is hard. It’s tough to determine a cost or value, let alone identify a buyer.

In the island paradise of Seychelles, marketers are collaborating to find a better way to price and pay for both existing national debts and new investments in commons with current funds.

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The Power of Audience: Urbanization and megaregions

According to the United Nations, a majority of the world’s population now resides in urban areas. The trend towards urbanization shows no signs of slowing, either. By 2050, two-thirds of the planet’s population will be urban. Urban areas are organically connecting into megaregions that don’t¬†always respect existing political or natural boundaries. Marketing in urban areas and megaregions demands that social and public sector marketers think in new ways about their markets.

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Basic Income for Children

child-money

The United States has a higher proportion of children living in poverty than Russia–that’s just one interesting statistic from a recent New York Times article on child poverty. The US has this dismal distinction despite giving tax credits and personal tax exemptions for children as ways to combat poverty.

The problem with tax credits is that they benefit people who earn relatively more money and therefore pay relatively more in taxes. Credits don’t do much for children in the poorest of families.The poorest 20 percent of families receive just $120 per year in benefit from the potential $1,000 child tax credit.

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How Government is Different Than Business

trump_taj_mahal_2007

The United States recently elected billionaire businessman Donald Trump as its 45th president. Trump has no prior experience in government, and campaigned in part on his business track record. Voters seemed to like that, apparently thinking that government needs to run more like a business.

While government can certainly learn from business, it’s important to note that government is not a business. President Obama contrasted the two well, as described in a recent Los Angeles Times article. The difference between the two relates to the difference between social goods and private goods.

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Fully Funding Your Nonprofit

food-bank-web

Nonprofits often receive funding for providing a specific service to a community, but not for the organizational infrastructure that supports the service. Running a food bank or crisis hotline is crucial work, but who is going to pay the rent, phone bill, and liability insurance for such organizations?

Donors have historically avoided funding “overhead.” Understandably, they want as much of their money going to serve the community. The problem comes in not acknowledging all the costs that contribute to providing service.

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Government Can Be A Leader In Digital Goods And Services

 

Back in 2002 Peter Fisher, undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury, described the U.S. federal government as “an insurance company with an army.” After all, if you look at the federal budget, benefits and military spending take the vast majority of funds. Since much of the military focuses on supply chain and distribution, you can modified Fisher’s quote to describe the federal government as an insurance company and a logistics company.

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Designing better student loans using system thinking

graduation

Students go into debt to pay for college. In the United States, the amount of student debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion, which puts it on par with auto loans. Americans like to think the student debt is an American phenomenon, but this article from the New York Times shows that students in other countries also borrow, and borrow almost as much.

Borrowing may not be American, but struggling to repay is.

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Social goods, defined

definition of social goods

This blog needs a definition of “social goods.” That’s a bit difficult, though. Even economists don’t have a clear and agreed-upon definition. So by way of definition, let’s discuss the characteristics and problems of social goods, and how those characteristics pose problems for traditional marketing activities such as design, distribution, pricing and promotion.

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Governing the commons: Making markets for water

Floating market
Fresh water may be the ultimate community shared resource or commons. It’s a finite and renewing resource. It’s essential for life as we know it. We spend billions of dollars on space exploration searching for it on other planets. How we make use of this scarce shared resource now and in the coming decades will say a lot about our social nature. Marketing principles about pricing and distribution can help us make better use of water during times of drought.

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