Disrupting Nonprofits

Well, why not disrupt nonprofits?

Every once in a while, I come across something that makes me sit back on my heels and think. These guys did it through the power of video storytelling. They led me to their Facebook page and then to their website where I was blown away again by the idea behind their business. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

They are fundraising for medical research to prevent/cure/alleviate diseases that cause retinal degeneration.

Make you think of a foundation with presentations by research scientists with audiences of wealthy grey-haired supporters (not that there’s anything wrong with that)?

No, these guys are designing and selling good looking clothing. Retail. 100% of the profits go to fund research. The story of the way the clothing is designed teaches people about blindness.

They guys themselves have Stargart disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration. They not only model their clothing when they wear it, they are role models for other people who are blind or visually impaired who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. They are young, friendly, funny, articulate, master storytellers and excellent marketers. They have attracted celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and Richard Branson.

They are actually more of a media company — using stories to generate followers who want to be part of their brand/tribe — using stories to raise awareness and understanding about blindness. Sharing stories on TV, YouTube, Facebook, live presentations — you name it.

Flipping everything on its head: cause-related marketing, fundraising…

Leading the charge.

I say, “Onward!”

I say to you, “Check ’em out!”