Leveraging Philanthropy to Create Social Impact

Giver: Matthew Manos - verynice

Mission

Our mission is to inspire the leverage of philanthropy as an integral component of small business operations while simultaneously alleviating significant overhead from non-profit organizations around the world in order to unobtrusively support their efforts to create social and environmental impact.

 


I'm passionate about this because every year non-profits spend close to $8 billion on fees billed by service-providers. 

At any given moment, verynice is balancing an equal number of pro-bono and paid projects. This is made possible by verynice’s pioneering “give-half” model which calls for our studio to take on a high volume of projects in order to generate the revenue necessary for us to be able to afford to simultaneously engage in pro-bono work for non-profit organizations. To accomplish this, we work with an extensive distributed team of over 400 volunteers in order to maximize our bandwidth while keeping costs low.


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We have completed nearly 1,000 pro-bono projects for over 400 organizations around the world.

This equals a pro-bono gift of nearly $6,000,000 since inception (90,000+ hours of service). Because we have completed nearly 1,000 projects over the years, it is really challenging to pick some favorites! However, here are three that come to mind:

 

1. Our partnership with Google to help re-brand and re-launch PeaceJam's One Billion Acts of Peace project. It was incredible to be able to work alongside a company like Google while simultaneously inspiring their employees to engage in pro-bono service. Also, it was an honor to be a part of a project that was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! 
2. We have a really exciting partnership with a great incubator program, Catapult, which helps high school entrepreneurs get their businesses off of the ground. Since 2014, we have helped dozens of these students with their businesses by providing logo design and brand strategy. 

3. I also love when we can work with an organization on an ongoing basis. 826 Los Angeles is one of those opportunities, and their Executive Director wrote this lovely note about our work: "I get to meet a lot of generous people through my work at 826LA, but the professional design support Matthew Manos and verynice have provided us is not easy to find. From designing our Time Travel Mart site to participation in our designer roundtables, the great folks from verynice have helped us provide our students and community with beautiful publications and branding that would have cost us a lot funds if we would have paid for them. Instead, they allowed us to put any money we would have spent on design towards the work of our mission, to provide free writing support to under-resourced youth. The good people at verynice understand the great challenges faced by nonprofits and the communities we serve so they provide what they know best to help us. And we’re incredibly grateful to have their support!"


The moment I felt lit up with joy.

There was a very early pro-bono project that we completed for an arts organization that helps children with developmental disabilities participate in theatrical arts in order to express themselves. I still remember launching that website, and getting a phone call from their Founder, overcome with joy and appreciation.


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To be honest, the fact that verynice is a successful business was un-expected.

I originally launched verynice with the intention of it serving more as a side project. I never would have thought that it could actually become the basis of a thriving social enterprise that has contributed to such an amazing movement. 


Scaling has been our biggest challenge. 

For any business owner in the service space (like design or marketing or consulting), the answer to that question is likely “scaling” - that is definitely the case for us. We were originally designed to be optimized for a 1-2 person team. Now that we have a staff of ~15, and a global network of 400+ more people, the challenge has been scaling in a manner that will allow us to still stay true to our roots. Luckily, we have been successful at that thus far.


I'd like to thank my entire team.

There are too many wonderful people to list. But my thanks goes out to my entire team, including our core team in Los Angeles and Austin, our Advisory Council, and our network of nearly 500 collaborators.


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A vision for the future

I just got done writing a new book, Toward a Preemptive Social Enterprise - it is a manifesto, and a collection of essays that aims to inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs to think more systemically when designing their business model. I’m excited to spread that message, and help social enterprise further develop. 


Please connect with us!

    • Book - How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free

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