How For-profit Solves Problems of a Non-profit Social Enterprise

  • As a basic rule for-profits aim to make money. If a non-profit creates an opportunity to save money by using the existing framework of a non-profit’s efforts, it’s just an inefficiency in the nonprofit’s execution. It’s also a lot easier to get funding from sources that do much more than simply “donate”. VCs and angel investors are pretty savvy businesspeople. They have a lot of experience to share . . . this mentorship helps the companies they invest in succeed and grow quickly. From an investor’s perspective, they’re trying to protect and improve their investment in a startup. It’s a win-win for a for-profit social enterprise because growth equates to helping.
  • We build trust by meeting our customers’ needs in an efficient and painless fashion. We can also identify pain points for customers; alleviating the pain creates trust faster than anything “borrowed” from a nonprofit. In contrast, nonprofits go to great lengths to meet metrics of watchdog groups and philanthropists. Stories of non-profits throwing lavish parties make my generation (Millennials) somewhat distrustful of charitable pursuits.
  • Non-profits often create quality information. But suggesting for-profits depend on this information ignores reality. The efficiency of using somebody else’s public information is just an advantage of a for-profit social enterprise. We create data all the time when it doesn’t exist, and it’s often proprietary information that we don’t share. That doesn’t make us evil — many of us have traditional for-profit competitors with profit as the sole motive. We’re simply trying to gain an edge over others in the space. Growing our market share means increasing good.
  1. Taylor is in legal crisis. He knows he needs professional legal advice because the law is complicated and overwhelming. However, Taylor is barely making ends meet and doesn’t consider asking a traditional lawyer to be a accessible option. So he takes off from work to seek free legal aid. He spends a few hours filling out forms, waiting in a line, and eventually is told “You qualify for our help but we don’t have the bandwidth to take on your case.” This is the current state of affairs.
  2. Now imagine my for-profit social enterprise (Text A Lawyer) had effectively marketed to Taylor when he was Googling “cheap legal advice”. He might have spent $21, $32, or $43 having a conversation with a verified lawyer other users have rated positively. However, Taylor didn’t have to take off work and miss a shift. Instead, he was able to use our app to get fast and affordable legal advice while eating a burrito on his lunch break. Taylor didn’t miss $100 of take-home pay and was able to have a much lower-stress experience without feeling like he’s taking a handout.
  • We won’t ever share your data with anyone.
  • Our app won’t GPS track you.
  • You have the right to be forgotten. Our server wipes itself daily.
  • We won’t ever upsell, charge hidden fees, or automatically sign you up for subscriptions (unlike much of our competition).
  • We are imposing a cap on executive salaries AND bonuses. It’s still under discussion, but we will be publicly sharing this policy. As of this point, we’re still not taking a salary of any kind so it’s currently a moot point.
  • You rate your lawyer, not us. We use your ratings to ensure you always get the highest-rated available lawyer. Our competition imposes ratings on lawyers based on a number of factors. Websites like UpWork.com allow their consultants to erase negative reviews. That’s crazy!
  • We never charge the lawyer for a client lead. This results in lawyers who are more willing to charge reasonable rates since they don’t have to pay a significant fee to the e-lawyer service who got them the lead. We don’t find it ethical to charge lawyers a fee for work they do off our platform in their practice because that fee gets passed along to the client. Lawyers are expensive enough!!!

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I start companies that improve people’s lives by saving them time, stress, and/or money. I love justice. Current Project: instantlawloan.com (reduced-APR loans)

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Kevin S. Gillespie

Kevin S. Gillespie

I start companies that improve people’s lives by saving them time, stress, and/or money. I love justice. Current Project: instantlawloan.com (reduced-APR loans)

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