Use your creative genius to show the world how Patient Capital is rewriting the story of charity and capitalism and why .
Today there’s a heated debate over how best to lift people in developing countries out of poverty. Camp A says, “Capitalism is evil! The only thing it’s good for is lining the pockets of fat cats!” Camp B says, “Charity is ineffective! Why don’t we just flush our money down the toilet?” Not exactly constructive.
The truth of the matter is that both sides are as right as they are wrong. The problem is that neither side is listening to the other. And WORST of all, nobody’s listening to the voices of poor people themselves. #FAIL!
At Acumen Fund, we propose a middle way called Patient Capital that combines the best of the markets with the best of charity. This could be the greatest love story of all time and we believe it has the power to change the world! Now we need your help to make it obvious.
Here’s how you can meet this challenge:
SEND US YOUR IDEAS! It’s as simple as that. We are not looking for finished products, designs, or videos – just ideas. Think up and submit fresh, smart, creative campaign and communication ideas that have the potential to push Patient Capital into the mainstream. Ideas that make obvious not just what Patient Capital is, but most importantly, WHY the world needs it.
WHAT YOU WIN? Beyond the do-good & feel-good factor, Acumen Fund will be buying up to 5 ideas at $1,500 each to produce into ads, campaigns, etc. We currently have commitments from leading print and digital publishers who will be generously donating ad space to Acumen Fund. But, we are open to any and all ideas and mediums – traditional or untraditional.
The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, April 26th at 11:59pm MT.
For this challenge, we’re excited to announce that we've partnered with Victors & Spoils who will be helping us review all your ideas and will assist in choosing the most promising ones to produce. All production of winning ideas will be done using pro bono resources. Submitters of the winning ideas are encouraged but not obligated to contribute to the actual production.
ALL IDEAS MUST BE SUBMITTED THROUGH THE VICTORS & SPOILS WEBSITE.
Please visit Victors & Spoils for terms & conditions.
Judging & Recognition
The deadline for submissions is April 26th at 11:59pm MT. Acumen Fund and Victors & Spoils, along with our esteemed panel of judges (TBA) will choose and announce their favorite ideas in mid-May. The winning ideas will immediately go into production and will be executed, launched, implemented, and placed throughout Summer and Fall 2011.
Our previous challenge winners for the Sanitation is Sexy campaign received hundreds of thousands of impressions, and the winning videos have been viewed a total of 1.5 million times! If we can make sanitation sexy, telling the greatest love story of all time should be a cinch.
Congratulations to Ryan Vernon for submitting credit to the Search for the Obvious. Since his entry, picked by SFTO judge Rory Sutherland, was the inspiration for this challenge, we've invited him to participate as an honorary judge!
Resources to help you crush it
Inform your creativity:
It’s true, oftentimes with aid and charity you end up creating dependence and a lack of accountability. And with markets, sometimes you tend to overlook the actual needs of the poor – especially when the going gets tough. At Acumen Fund, we propose a middle way that prioritizes the needs and desires of “the poor” by combining the best of the markets with the best of charity. We call this Patient Capital, and we believe it has the power to change the way the world is addressing poverty. With Patient Capital, we make long-term investments in businesses that are serving low-income communities in the developing world. The goal isn’t maximizing financial returns, but rather creating sustainable businesses that are maximizing social impact. The goal is not profit-maximization, but simply generating necessary or appropriate levels of profit.
Unfortunately, the term and its definition aren’t exactly evocative. That's why we need your help!
To get you started, maybe it’ll be helpful to define Patient Capital by what it’s NOT. Patient Capital is not:
- Sick people in hospitals – we’re not talking about patients. We’re talking about patience! As in the virtue. As in Guns N’ Roses!
- Capital cities – we’re not talking about the names of supposedly important places you memorized in the third grade, which only come in handy when playing Trivial Pursuit. We’re talking about financial capital. As in Benjamins! As in Money!
- Microfinance – sure, for those of you in the know, there are some similarities. But, if you say it’s “like microfinance,” you’d better go on to explain how it’s different, because the differences are plenty and vast!
- Teaching a man to fish – if these words are used in any way, shape, or form, you will be automatically disqualified! Seriously, no fish. Don’t ask. It’s simple. NO. FISH.
OK, now that you know what it’s not, what is it? Aside from the explanation above, here’s a list of resources that’ll bring you up to speed and teach you everything you always wanted to know about Patient Capital, but were afraid to ask::
- What is Patient Capital? – From Acumen Fund's website
- The Patient Capitalist – Article in The Economist on Jacqueline and Acumen Fund
- A Third Way to Think About Aid – Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz’s TED@State Talk
- The Generosity Experiment – Acumen Fund’s Sasha Dichter’s NextGen:Charity Talk
- ‘Patient’ Capital for an Africa That Can’t Wait – Column in The New York Times by Tom Friedman
- The Art of Investing in Business to Change the World – Interview with Jacqueline on Dowser.org
- Patient Capital, Markets That Work, and Ending the Endless Emergency of Poverty – Seth Godin
Wait a second, this challenge isn't about credit or consumerism, so how did the credit card inspire this challenge? As Search for the Obvious judge Rory Sutherland wrote in his review of Ryan Vernon’s submission:
…credit…has had a rather bad rap. Mostly stigmatized, and indeed outlawed by many religions through much of human history, it has nonetheless brought spectacular benefits. True, it is (like all good things) occasionally abused by both the people who offer it and the people who use it. It can, I freely admit, bring with it a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. It can lead to property bubbles, speculation and the collapse of banks. On the other hand, the freedom to pay a bit more in order to gain something earlier is a vital component of genuine freedom of choice - for the freedom to enjoy something only at a point in one's life when one is too old to enjoy it is not really a freedom at all. Credit has enabled business to be launched, ideas to be ventured and homes to be furnished. Lending makes possible an essential redistribution of resources from the comfortable to the ambitious, from people with means to people with ideas and ambitions.
Now replace “credit” with “capitalism” and “people” with “businesses,” and the same holds true. Patient Capital, carrying with it all the virtues and good intentions of charity, has the power to change the way the world is addressing poverty, reshaping and rewriting the story of capitalism along the way.
Luckily, we’re not alone and it seems the world is starting to wake up to the realities, inequalities, and opportunities! We’re incredibly inspired by the strong sense of empathy and purpose (and humor!) we're seeing from entrepreneurs, businesses, and even artists. Here are just a few examples to provoke, inspire, spark, and tickle your creativity:
- Gap Between Rich And Poor Named 8th Wonder Of The World – The Onion
- Sir Richard Branson Makes a Call for Enlightened Capitalism – The Economist
- COMMON: Alex Bogusky Aims to Reinvent Capitalism for the Common Good – Change Observer
- Every Morning I Wake Up On the Wrong Side of Capitalism – SEBASTIAN D’SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
- Love is in the Air – Banksy
OK, got an idea yet?