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Do Something.org Launches IPO

September 17, 2008

More proof (as if you needed any) that we live in interesting times....

Dosomething_logo_2Do Something, the New York City-based nonprofit that works to "inspire, empower and celebrate a generation of doers -- teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action," today launched an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that promises to deliver a "significant" Social Return on Investment (SROI) to investors rather than a profit. As my teenage sons might say, "Cool."

How does it work? The organization is offering 80 shares priced at $100,000 per share to "investors." By taking a share, investors -- foundations, for-profit businesses, individual donors, government agencies, others -- pledge to donate $100,000 over a six-month period. In pledging to raise $100,000, the investor becomes a Shareholder and is entitled to attend quarterly Shareholder calls and an annual Shareholder meeting. More importantly, they're helping to build the organization's capacity to engage U.S. teens and create self-sustaining programming.

"We run a business here -- but instead of selling cars or candy to kids, we're selling hope and leadership," said Do Something CEO Nancy Lublin. "Our business model is totally scalable. These funds aren't for a building or a fat endowment. We're spending on growth." (To read a PND Q&A with Lublin, click here.)

What do you think? Is Do Something's IPO a gimmick? Or is it a clever way for the organization to raise long-term general operating support from "investors" who, for the most part, are disinclined to provide that kind of support? We'd love to hear your thoughts....

-- Mitch Nauffts

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