Mission driven brands often aim to improve the world by addressing a specific human problem. They craft a vision, gather people and set up a sustainable system where those involved are paid for their contribution. Over time the original vision may become less important because the focus shifts to growing revenue at its expense.
This results in “Profits against Humanity.”
- World Hunger: If organizations found a solution to world hunger, they would likely put themselves out of business. So instead of solving the problem, charity tends to foster depency. For example: We sponsor children instead of empowering parents. We give aid instead of instilling a culture of entrepreneurship.
- Sex Trafficking: Some countries have effectively eliminated sex trafficking through policy changes. However, do organizations prioritize this proven policy as it can conflict with organizational growth? If we could solve a world problem and simultaneously put ourselves out of a job, would we?
- Pharmaceutical Industry: Remedies for various illnesses may oppose the goal of profit. When you have a group of customers in a subscription model and a product threatens that model. This is when interests conflict.
- Fundraising: Fundraising organizations may prioritize their fundraising system over the actual problem they aim to solve. A fascinating older blog post highlights the lack of correlation between the amount of money raised and the number of deaths.
Imagine you are the CEO of a humanitarian organization and receive a report detailing a solution to your cause. You are faced with two options:
- Implement the solution, but this may result in laying off staff and eventually shuttering the organization.
- Implement a small milestone, show growth, and increase revenue.
It’s a difficult decision as it involves balancing the organization’s mission and financial stability. Organizational systems are built to prioritize growth over problem-solving.
What are we going to do to prioritize the interests of humanity? We create machines to help us better the world but end up being enslaved by the desire for growth and profitability.
A mission-driven brand shouldn’t prioritize longevity over its own mission.
Instead, this is when the mission is accomplished, leverage it in the next brand as a credibility tool to propel it further.
The ALS Association that ran the Ice Bucket Challenge funds went into developing new medications that got approved from the FDA to treat ALS. The fundraising group can leverage success, as credibility to solve next world problems.
Profits against Missions for humanity.