#36 | For-Purpose Chat with Sydney Bergen

For-Purpose Organization: Realities for Children Boulder County

Realities for Children is a game changer

I could not have been more excited to sit down and have a chat with one of my favorite people, Realities for Children – Boulder County’s Executive Director, Sydney Bergen. She is pioneering a mind shift in our community for her For-Purpose organization!

If you have been listening to this podcast for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me mention Realities several times. I just LOVE the work they are doing in our community and I’m so honored that Chill Digital Marketing is one of the pioneer Business Members of this organization.

We need to shift how we look at Non-Profits and start calling them For-Purpose

If you haven’t heard the TedTalk by Dan Pallotta, then you really need to give this talk a listen (or view). Even though it was given a few years ago, it does a great job of explaining why we need to have a shift in how we look at non-profits.

Sydney is changing the outlook at Realities by calling the organization a “For-Purpose” vs. “Non-Profit”. Dan talks about 5 key components that need to have this shift of how we think of For-Purpose organizations:

  1. Compensation – there should be equitable compensation for those that run for-purpose organizations. You can actually do MORE when you have higher paid talent running the show.
  2. Advertising & Marketing – What if MORE could be done for the cause when the messaging gets out? How is that bad? Just like with personal investments “you need to spend money to make money”!
  3. Taking risk – For-Profit businesses take risks all the time and many take the failures as part of doing business. But if a non-profit takes a risk and fails, they may not be able to recover from that. As a society, we need to encourage taking risk, because the For-Purpose could just knock it out of the park.
  4. Time – Having long term visions in non-profits sometimes is frowned upon. We need For-Purpose organizations to be looking at long term strategies. If they fold, then the cause they supported looses out immensely.
  5. Overhead costs – there has been a stigma that when portions of money raised go to overhead and administration costs, then it is a poorly run organization. This needs to change….yesterday.

Realities for Children gets it!

At Realities, they have 2 parts to the organization: A Business Membership side which charges monthly dues. These dues cover the administrative and overhead costs; and The Charitable Side that supports at risk young adults that are aging out of the foster care system.

When Realities has fundraisers, they are able to put all fundraising dollars into the Charitable side. This also allows them to support a higher overhead structure by growing their Business Membership listing. Businesses know their dues are a marketing/advertising expense (not a charitable donation). But For-Purpose organizations should not have their overhead costs looked at as a negative.

Be a Conscious Consumer

Realities also promotes their Business Members in the community as “heart-first” businesses. Conscious consumerism is real, and many people are shifting their spending power to companies that show commitments to philanthropic endeavors.

You should also take the time to check out Realities for Children’s website. You can see all the wonderful businesses that support the organization as well as learn more about all the other great things they are doing!

Make it your business to make a difference!

Until next time….


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