It’s unsurprising to most that by working for a startup you are afforded the opportunity to wear many different hats. In my case, that meant expanding our MagicLinks for Good by figuring out how we were going to meet our 1% for the Planet commitment for 2021 across 6 not-for-profits and 12 MagicLinks “Lightworkers” (more on that later).
If there’s anything that you should take away about MagicLinks, it’s that our team is steadfast in our commitments to both people and planet. In January 2021, we partnered with 1% for the Planet, which means that we donate 1% of our gross revenue to environmentally-focused not-for-profits.
Historically, 1% for the Planet had never worked with influencers, so this was an amazing moment of opportunity and education to push the organization’s goals forward in the fast-moving world of social video.
Realizing that the 1B+ social reach of our influencer community is our greatest asset to make global impact, my team built a framework to introduce 1% for the Planet to the world of influencers.
Things top of mind for us included: How can we incorporate 1% for the Planet into our campaigns? How can we activate our organic network? How can we identify non-monetary opportunities by the way of our influencers to drive awareness and impact for 1% For the Planet’s and our not-for-profits’ specific goals?
Now, how we put those ideas into action is a different story. This is where “Radical Ownership,” comes into play. Radical Ownership is one of MagicLinks’ Shared Values, which we describe simply as “may all our vibes say, ‘I got this.’ “ And in this case, I needed all the vibes on my side.
I previously helped build a 501 © 3 nonprofit, #HalfTheStory, but building an entire corporate philanthropic program was daunting to me. In any case, my team and I felt that I was best suited for the job ahead given my deep passion for non-profit work and I launched into action with a few things in the back of my mind; making peace with failure as a possibility, leading with grace, accepting full responsibility of the task at hand and identifying key priorities in order to remain efficient and effective in building our roadmap.
Joining MagicLinks’ newest team, The Creative Lab, I expected to function as a pseudo copywriter, project manager, market researcher, partnerships manager, salesperson and everything in between. As a Creative Strategist, functioning in a lane of rapid experimentation and walking the very thin line between success and failure on a daily basis, this new initiative brought an unexpected level of patience and elation to my job.
By the way, a Creative Strategist at a tech startup doesn’t compare to that at a typical advertising agency. Beyond creative strategy for our brand partners, our job is to hone in on major growth opportunities for the business and drive potential innovations forward across teams; connecting the needs of the consumer and product life cycles. I spend my days interviewing creators to understand their goals, needs, and challenges, oversee our newest innovation in tech, Text2Shop™, occasionally send care packages to teammates, break bottles of champagne, get carpal tunnel from the speed of my typing, and everything in between…
For some it might sound like a lot to chew but I find excitement in playing a part in the creator economy and most importantly, humanizing their experience. One of our influencers recently shared with me that her career as a creator and our tools allowed her to move from Section 8 Housing to an apartment of her own in downtown Chicago.
Moments like that have changed my view of social commerce and the work of influencers, and opened my eyes to confronting the wealth gap head-on.
But back to our MagicLinks for Good program. Historically, it’s existed as our company’s “Do Good” arm and was birthed before our B-Corp Certification and 1% For The Planet partnership. These two distinctions meant that I was going to give our MagicLinks for Good program a serious face lift and, as a company, we were committed to heavy lifting in the year ahead.
Allowing the task at hand to settle in, I started to revel in the fact that I had the chance to extend our social impact efforts beyond our monetization tools. Building #HalfTheStory from founder Larissa May’s $500 art grant to a fully recognized 501 © 3 nonprofit is one of my life’s proudest accomplishments. We are on a mission to empower the next generation’s relationship with technology, through advocacy, education, and research. #HalfTheStory is bridging the gap between technology and emotional wellbeing by offering a science-backed curriculum for youth that empowers healthy relationships from the start. And of course, we are still welcoming people from all walks of life to share their #halfthestory that may exist outside of their perfectly curated social media feed.
For me, it’s all about having the chance to be a small part in making a big difference. This came with deep discernment and reflection around where I wanted to see MagicLinks make the greatest impact.
I struggled with questions like, can we reverse our role we play in consumerism? Social media is addictive and it plays a major role in declining mental health. How can we get involved in mental health efforts? During 2020, I also began volunteering to connect struggling small businesses in my hometown to talented unemployed individuals. How could we reverse the effects of COVID-19? How can we make 2021 look very different for a lot of people? Who are the next wave of NFPs that were movers, shakers and shifters to connect with?
After some reflection, conversations with leadership and assessing our current long standing NFP relationships, things started to come together. MagicLinks will now support:
OSF is dedicated to helping orphans, victims of abuse, survivors of trafficking, indigenous children and at-risk youth, and refugees break their cycles of abuse and poverty through technology-based education, job training and job placement assistance.
- Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y).
S.P.Y. empowers young people experiencing homelessness to thrive by providing lasting, community-driven solutions that address racial and social inequity. They do this through a continuum of care that includes street outreach, access center services, case management, health and wellness, and education and employment programs.
And with our 1% For the Planet commitment for the year, we will be working with:
Earthfires’ mission is to reawaken our deep connection to wildlife and nature through reconnection ecology – expanding our sense of community to include all living beings and moving us to protect thriving habitats for all life. A short video on the Essence of Earthfire tells it all.
UAII’s mission is to promote and support the physical, behavioral and spiritual well-being of American Indian / Alaska Natives in the urban Los Angeles area. MagicLinks will be working closely with Ramon Enriquez, Director of Youth Services, to provide assistance and awareness for communities in the Los Angeles area.
Black Women’s Blueprint envisions a world where women and girls of African descent are fully empowered and where gender, race and other disparities are erased. The organizations’ focus on racial equality and healing, gender equity, and social, environmental, and spiritual healing align with our own deeply held beliefs.
These amazing organizations need a dedicated team within MagicLinks as a resource to begin building deep relationships. Not only does this allow space for empathy, but if we can understand the real pain points, challenges, and goals of our organizations, we will be able to make the most meaningful impact.
I began building tracking templates for charitable-focused hours and donations per organization. I turned to both Google and Reddit for resources and to be inspired to create new processes to track our volunteer and donation metrics.
While we continue to test, learn, evolve and build our philanthropic arm (soon to be our “For Purpose” arm), our MagicLinks for Good team and work has already seen unbelievable success with our recent Earth Day campaign. More details to come!
In the meantime, our MagicLinks for Good team, internally known as the “Lightworkers” (inspired by Alicia Keys’ term for individuals who bring light and positivity into the world through their unique voices and actions) will continue to pave the path forward in our new, next wave of doing good.
Our latest venture in the technology space is our consumer-facing app ADVO launching in the coming weeks. If you are a business or brand that is B-Corp Certified, BIPOC Owned, Clean Beauty, Fair Trade, Independent, Non-Profit, Sustainable or just all-around passionate about doing good, please reach out to us at https://www.magiclinks.com/brands. We can share a discounted service for you to receive prime real estate in our app and the opportunity to partner with creators and fans that share your values.