Social entrepreneur Mallory Brown represents a new generation of philanthropy. At age 24, she founded World Clothes Line, an online business that donates one article of clothing for every article sold. Mallory and her numerous success stories are a living testimony that we really can “do well by doing good.” As a speaker she takes her philanthropic business philosophy to students, non-profits, and corporate audiences, inspiring them to find inventive ways of giving back.
SPEAKING.COM: How can organizations successfully combine aspects of business and charity?
BROWN: First and foremost, organizations must break down the preconceived barriers between business and charity. It’s not necessary to choose between profit and philanthropy. In fact, one actually fuels the other. If businesses were managed more like charities, and charities were managed more like businesses, both would be more successful. We truly can do well by doing good.
SPEAKING.COM: The rising popularity of social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility is chiefly being driven by Millennials. Why do you think Millennials value these business models more than older generations?
BROWN: Millennials have access to so much information that we truly feel like the world is at our fingertips. We approach poverty in Kenya like it’s in our backyard. We see the capabilities of technology and believe we can use technology to find solutions. Every generation has the same heart, but we have more resources to act.
SPEAKING.COM: How can organizations build meaningful corporate responsibility programs that will engage Millennial consumers?
BROWN: My generation wants to feel emotionally connected to the causes we support. We are a face-paced and experience-based society. We are a stubborn but generous. We definitely want to donate, but want to feel as if it is OUR choice and in OUR control. Organizations should structure their Corporate Social Responsibility programs to put power in the hands of their donors.
SPEAKING.COM: You’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for good causes. What are three things people need to know in order to conduct successful fundraisers?
1. Be bold and specific.
2. Be passionate about your cause. People make decisions based on emotion. Let your passion shine…and that will be contagious.
3. Show overwhelming gratitude to your supporters. Always remember that donors have a choice where they give. Make them feel special for choosing you.
SPEAKING.COM: How can people make their crowdfunding project stand out?
Put yourself in your donors’ shoes. What would make you donate? For me, I would want to see whom I am helping. Therefore, I publish my fundraisers from the ground, fully immersed in the situation I’m trying to help. My donors can see the need first hand and trust their funds will reach those who need it. This method fulfills my own self-proclaimed desire. Every fundraiser is different — but ask yourself questions as if you are a donor, and then answer them!
SPEAKING.COM: Please take us through the chain of events that occurs when someone makes a purchase from your social enterprise, World Clothes Line.
World Clothes Line is a “buy one, give one” apparel company. For every item purchased, we give a new item to someone in need around the world. When a customer orders items from my online retail store, their merchandise is immediately shipped to them. Once we’ve sold enough items for an entire delivery region, the WCL team travels to personally deliver new clothes. We source the clothes we give away locally (i.e. in Indonesia or Peru – to help the local economy even more). We make delivery videos so customers can see the difference they are making.
SPEAKING.COM: How did you get the idea for World Clothes Line?
World Clothes Line was inspired by my personal travels around the globe. Backpacking through developing countries, I witnessed the incredible need for clean, proper clothing. I also discovered how similar people were around the world. Everyone has the same basic needs. I wanted to help the people I had met, share my mindset with the world, and provide a vehicle for everyday people to make a difference.
SPEAKING.COM: How did you take World Clothes Line from vision to reality, and what obstacles did you face along the way?
I founded World Clothes Line with my own small savings when I was 24-years-old. As a young entrepreneur, I faced a large learning curve about running a business. I adapted quickly. I learned how to ask for help, harness the talents of people that surrounded me, and align myself with organizations who believed in me.
SPEAKING.COM: What did you do to attract and secure partnerships and corporate sponsors?
I pursued them! My success has come from setting high goals and working hard to reach them. I contacted potential sponsors and pitched campaigns that were too amazing to turn down. In the end, I found incredible partners that propelled my business forward.
SPEAKING.COM: Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
Always! I run a new campaign every other week of the year. In June, I’ll be in Ethiopia trying to raise $30,000 for my 30th birthday to empower 30 women to start their own businesses. You can follow at: www.crowdrise.com/30for30birthday
To bring Mallory Brown to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com