Guest

Love Drop: Making Money By Giving It Away

By: Guest | February 7, 2011 | 
29

Nate St Pierre of Love DropNate St. Pierre is the founder of ItStartsWith.Us, a global group of people committed to changing the world in just 15 minutes a week.

I probably read only about 10 blogs regularly (oh, the horror!), and Spin Sucks is one of them. The main reason I come here is for all the straight talk from smart people. Gini Dietrich leads the charge, and the rest of the community joins in with experience, insight, critiques, and always a bit of fun. It’s my kinda place.

So today I’d like to throw out a topic that has turned out to be somewhat polarizing: The launch of my latest project, Love Drop. I’d love to hear your feedback on it.

Here’s the pitch: Love Drop is a micro-giving network of people who unite as a community to help one person or family a month. By subscribing to the team for as little as $1, we make it easy for our members to change lives in a fun and easy way. Each month Love Drop delivers a unique combination of unexpected financial gifts, personal encouragement and the support of local and online communities.

We launched on January 1st, and for our first Drop we brought our community together to help out a single mom whose family lost everything in a fire. For our second one this month, we’re trying to help a family with two autistic boys obtain a service dog that will literally change their lives. You can see how we told the first story in its entirety here. The final video at the bottom shows us actually making the Drop. It was such a cool event, and it meant so much to the family – we were happy to be a part of it.

But here’s where it gets polarizing: Love Drop is not a charity. It is a for-profit social enterprise. Basically, we make money by giving it away. Of course, we just make the bare minimum we need to be sustainable, but it’s still a profitable business. And we take a fair amount of criticism for that. Many people think that if you’re doing something good for someone, you shouldn’t get paid for it.

We’re very clear about the breakdown of where the money goes: Fifty percent to the recipient family each month, 20 percent to taxes (yes, we owe tax), and 30 percent to the operating budget of Love Drop. It takes a lot of money to do something of this magnitude every month, but the difference we can make for one family is enormous.

We’ve proven the micro-giving principle sound over the last two years with the ItStartsWith.Us and Love Bomb projects, both of which I’ve done for free. Now that we’re starting to give back financially, it gets a bit more complicated. We tried to go the non-profit route for months, but ultimately decided we could be more effective this way.

Here are my questions for the group:

1) Does this project “feel” right to you? Why or why not?
2) If you were running this, how would you choose to partner with other organizations?

Let’s chat.

Nate St. Pierre is the founder of ItStartsWith.Us, a global group of people committed to changing the world in just 15 minutes a week. He helps large organizations mobilize their members to make a difference in the lives of those around them using the concept of microgiving.

Spin Sucks in Your Inbox

There are 28 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  
Please enter an e-mail address