Doing more good…and still paying the bills

Many of us want to do work that is in line with our intrinsic values, and contribute to the world in a positive way. We know that working together with purpose brings us more happiness than money alone ever could. We want to use our skills to do more good, but can we make a living doing it?

We have our feet in two worlds. All around us brilliant ideas are emerging, through creativity, collaboration, and smart technology. The sharing economy is booming, and a kinder, more sustainable way of living feels possible. Yet at the same time, we still have bills to pay.

There are some brilliant groups working on social problems in their free time, including Social Media Surgeries, Net2, Good for Nothing, Mcr Social Entrepreneurs, Geeks for Social Change and various hackathons. It is fantastic that people are willing to give their time for free, and that will always have its place, but to make more of a difference in the long term, we need to make it sustainable.

As traditional government funding is cut, and charities resources are stretched to breaking point, new business models are increasingly important. Social enterprises are flourishing, and social impact investment can get large scale projects off the ground. Crowdsourcing and community shares can pool money from individuals and groups to fund great ideas. Some businesses also fund social impact projects, for compassionate reasons, positive PR, or both. It is an exciting new world, but can also be pretty baffling for those used to doing their work each day and getting paid at the end of the month.

Recently I helped organise an event exploring ‘How can I do more good?’ for Manchester creatives, following similar events in London and Bristol. It was really special to spend time with open, passionate people with similar values, and we all agreed that stronger connections between us would be really helpful .

We would like to develop a community of practice around these themes, and try to remove the blockers we come across. Through more effective ways to connect, share knowledge and resources, and helping each other, we can do more.

As a starting point, I’d like to trial some social events and/or online discussions that bring together people with similar questions, and those that might help answer them. It feels appropriate for the first event to focus on ideas for funding social good work, to try and remove some of the blockers we identified.

If you are interested in being involved, or know others that might, you can add your details below and I will keep you posted. (Suggestions or offers of help also welcome.)