Disclaimer: This is a rough business plan for a non-profit organization. I am giving this away freely to anyone who is crazy enough to attempt it. Although I came up with it – I claim no ownership. Read on…
An idea for social entrepreneurship forms: Many of you don’t know, but I am a serial entrepreneur. I love small business. I love taking ownership of an idea and making it happen. I blog because I also have a non-business side. I love the Church (the body of Christ). I love watching fallible people come together to try to make His Kingdom a reality on earth. His Church, when done right, is an immeasurable source of love, hope, compassion, and light.
When these two facets of my personality overlap, I get excited.
I had a idea this morning and I thought I would share it. It comes from experiences I have had with the working poor. They are an underserved people group and they are largely overlooked because they are working (kind of). Here is what I mean:
For many low wage earners, they make barely enough money to pay rent, buy food and gas, and cobble together enough for some clothes. Taking care of a car and having insurance are luxuries they cannot afford but cannot be without. Many jobs are just not on bus routes and if you work with a staffing agency, many times you do not know where you will be working the next day. This means that you have no time to prepare for a bus route even if it is on a bus line.
Also, many working poor depend on their cell phones to find work, especially if they are working with multiple staffing agencies. But cell phones can be expensive, and if it comes down to it, a person will choose a roof over their head or food in their bellies instead of a phone.
Social Entrepreneurship – Here is my thought:
The working poor need reliable transportation and a phone with which they can be reached. If someone were to provide a way for them to get to work and a way for them to find work, you would be providing a valuable service and a way for people to tangibly help people in need. (And for the conservative among you, it would be a way for the community to help, not the government.)
Here is how it could work:
You, as an individual or a group, would start a non-profit organization. This would allow you to receive contributions. You would need to raise enough funds to purchase a reliable transport vehicle, bring a driver on salary, purchase a cell phone and GPS device, and purchase marketing materials to let workers, staffing agencies, and churches know about your service.
From there you would determine your service area (the area in which you would pick up workers), and your destination area (the area in which you could drop off people). You would reach out to local churches so they could partner with you to canvas your service area for workers in need of help, and find donors to partner with you.
From there it is a matter of logistics. The people working with staffing agencies would need to be picked up and stay on the bus until they get the call that they are needed (the driver’s cell phone could be used as a contact phone for workers without phones). For those that have steady work, there could be a set pick-up, drop off time. To be honest, you may need two services, one for staffing agencies and one for consistent workers.
Here is a quick step by step:
- Draw up a formal business plan.
- Define the demographic that you will be serving.
- Define how you will serve them. (workers with consistent jobs / workers with sporadic jobs)
- Start a non-profit charity by registering with your State.
- Define your service area and destination area.
- Contact a few local churches and pitch the idea.
- Get in contact with donors that could raise the initial capital.
- Purchase all items needed for your office and command center.
- Purchase the bus or van and detail it (including necessary branding.)
- Purchase the cell phone and GPS for driver.
- Bring the driver on.
- Network with local churches to find qualified workers to serve.
- Network with local churches for add-on services such as breakfast foods for the workers, clothes for work, supplemental groceries, etc.
- Start your first route.
Social Entrepreneurship: Is this for you?
OK, now that I have that off my chest, I hope this inspires you to do this or something completely different. We have to find creative ways to share the Love that has been given us. We need to think radically if we are to transform this culture and set it right side up.
Share your thoughts with me. I want to hear from you!