This is a Q&A interview between myself and the Founder of Adventure Philanthropist, Erin Michelson.
Before we get into the interview, here’s a quick bio:
Erin Michelson, Founder & CEO of Adventure Philanthropist, is a social entrepreneur dedicated to promoting deeper philanthropic engagement. She combines a 10-year career in the sales and marketing of philanthropist financial products for Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and American Express, with experience as an exponential growth consultant for foundations like Kellogg, Ashoka and Tides.
Erin is also author of the book series: Adventure Philanthropist: Great Adventures Volunteering Abroad. She understands first-hand the power of giving and is creating a company that provides the tools needed to fuel positive change at the systemic level.
*****And now for the interview*****
JB: Tell me a little about Adventure Philanthropist. What is it and how did it get started?
EM: Adventure Philanthropist is a social impact company that leverages behavioral science and data analytics to provide corporations insight into employee giving preferences. Our proprietary Adventure Philanthropist giving profile™ and digital platform make philanthropic engagement in the workplace more personalized, and therefore more meaningful, for employees. These online tools help increase and more efficiently distribute a company’s millions of dollars in philanthropic giving, benefiting both those who give and those in need.
I launched Adventure Philanthropist at the end of 2015. I was just coming off an 18-month national book tour, where I was able to speak with a diverse audiences, including companies like Microsoft, universities across the country, and a 20-store REI West Coast tour. What was clear as I talked with people is that they wanted to be involved, but didn’t know how. They needed help taking the first step. So I created the online tools to help individuals embark on their own philanthropic journey.
JB: I love hearing about the problems organizations (for-profit or nonprofit) are trying to solve. What is the core mission of Adventure Philanthropist? In other word, what is the problem you’re looking to solve?
EM: The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) market is a $12-billion industry. Every Fortune 500 company has a CSR or employee engagement program, but many of their employees are not taking advantage of the giving and volunteering opportunities that are offered. We believe it’s because the current programs aren’t resonating with employees on a personal level. Our giving profile™ enables corporations a way to understand who their employees are as philanthropists, allowing companies to offer charitable campaigns that are meaningful to each employee. We believe personalization is the key to deeper employee engagement.
JB: Can you shed more light on the giving profile? Without giving away your secret sauce, how does it work once a person has a profile?
EM: After taking the giving profile™ you’re matched with one of 10 giving personalities. Your personality type reflects both your engagement preferences and how you value social impact. You are then offered a 3-page snapshot of your giving personality, which you can share with your friends. Right now, we’re only offering the giving profile™ to corporations to use with their employee base. After an employee cohort completes the giving profile™, the company receives an in-depth overview and suggestions on how best to engage their employees in charitable giving programs.
JB: Let’s switch gears and talk about Adventure Philanthropist’s beta program. What can beta testers expect?
Our beta program is the only opportunity for individuals to participate in the giving profile™ at this time. The beta will launch the week of June 20 and will take 3-5 minutes to complete online. You’ll then you’ll be matched with your giving personality, including your 3-page snapshot. As a thank you for your participation, Adventure Philanthropist be making a donation to a nonprofit charity – and you get to help choose which one! Sign up for our beta here.
JB: Anything else you’d like to share about Adventure Philanthropist?
We are currently talking with corporations about offering the Adventure Philanthropist giving profile™ to employees. If you think you’re company might be interested in deepening employee engagement, please contact me at [email protected].