Friday, October 23, 2015



Thursday, October 15, 2015
Chicago, Illinois
Disruptive PhilanthropyA Social Media Driver for Young Investors 
Deborah Dugan, the CEO of (RED), a pioneer in the movement of using social media for social change, told a packed house of William Blair guests on October 15 that companies working on their product innovation need to factor in making the world a better place if they want to capture the attention of today’s millennial generation.
At William Blair’s event on “disruptive philanthropy” held in Chicago, Ms. Dugan said nine out of ten millennials will buy a product for social good, change brands for a cause, and take a cut in pay to work at a company that promotes social good.
“This is a different generation. This is the second phase of what philanthropy could be and should be in the world because this is the most giving generation. They not only want to donate and volunteer, they want to be on the board of a company, they want their job to change the world,” said Ms. Dugan, who has managed (RED) since 2010. Previously, Ms. Dugan was president of Disney Publishing Worldwide.
(RED), an enterprise that combines consumerism and altruism, has successfully drawn in thousands of young investors by using social media to raise funds to fight AIDS in Africa. Founded in 2006 by U2 lead singer Bono and Bobby Shriver, a nephew of John F. Kennedy, (RED) has now generated more than $325 million for the cause. In 2011, (RED) became the first cause to reach more than 1 million followers on Facebook and Twitter.
“They have a sense of fairness of justice that some things should just not be. They want to be empowered to make that change,” she added.
Ellen Alberding, president of The Joyce Foundation, moderated the (RED) conversation with Ms. Dugan with more than 200 William Blair guests attending the event at 1871, an entrepreneurial center in Chicago created to promote and finance up-and-coming businesses.
The (RED) formula is simple: engage everyone with an active channel to “make good.” (RED) partners with iconic companies to develop (RED)-branded products and services. Anytime a consumer buys an Apple iPod, coffee from Starbucks, Converse sneakers, or any other (RED)-branded items from almost two dozen company partners, a portion of the profits goes to the United Nations Global Fund to fight AIDs.
“This generation likes to be entertained—something where they can participate and feel good,” said Ms. Dugan, citing the ALS ice bucket challenge that went viral in the summer of 2014 and raised well over $100 million as another example of millennials eager to spend on the right causes and products.
In that social media campaign, more than 17 million people uploaded their challenge videos to Facebook of dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads to raise research funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“If you’re waiting for them to come to you because you’re so righteous of what you’re doing, I don’t think that will work,” Ms. Dugan said of today’s young donors. “I think you have to find ways to fish where the fish are. Then in their everyday activities find a way to capture and engage them in something that’s really important,” she said.
About William Blair’s Event on Philanthropy
William Blair’s event featuring (RED) on October 15 at Chicago’s 1871 entrepreneurship hub was attended by more than 200 guests. Learn more about William Blair

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