I’m Olivia Khalili. I built this site to give companies the resources, evidence and inspiration they need to use social mission as a business strategy to grow their business. To inspire and guide your social mission, I interview social entrepreneurs and sustainability executives about what worked for them and what didn’t.
I also work with companies to identify, create, market and evaluate socially rooted business models. My approach stems from cross-sector experience with businesses, non-profits, international development organizations and technology start-ups.
Recently, I’ve done work with Ashoka’s Changemakers, Intent.com, TOMS Shoes, World of Good by eBay and Humanity Calls.
Why cause alone isn’t enough
I spent a year in the Marshall Islands and observed first-hand the successes and shortcomings of international development. Volunteering as a teacher and newspaper editor, I had access to the local government and foreign NGOs. Repeatedly, I saw well-intentioned foreign aid pour into the country and run down the drain. There was insufficient buy-in from the Marshallese (who viewed themselves as charity subjects, rather than co-creators) and the programs didn’t take.
Afterward, I consulted with nonprofits in Los Angeles and observed another kind of inefficiency. Most nonprofits have to spend an uncanny amount of time raising money, which takes away their constituent programs. Nonprofits are heavily regulated, preventing them from developing more creative fundraising approaches, which leads to a donation-dependent model of survival.
Why capitalism alone isn’t enough
I handled international trade advocacy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce before moving to the Marshall Islands. There, I worked with both foreign ambassadors and U.S. small business owners to share their stories around free trade and open markets, created training programs and built coalitions. There are winners and non-winners in free trade–and the definition of capitalism is handily used to reason away mistreatment. But I see capitalism as a tool to generate wealth, jobs and social progress. I saw this as a volunteer in Micronesia, as a nonprofit champion in Los Angeles and as a corporate suit in Washington, D.C.
What cause capitalism can do for your company
- Customer base
- Brand recognition
- Customer loyalty
- Employee productivity, satisfaction and loyalty
- Marketing, recruiting, training and resource savings
- Peer and press recognition
Why this blog?
Cause Capitalism exists to give you, the entrepreneur or small-business owner the evidence, the tools and action steps you need to gain a competitive advantage by building a purpose-driven business. It is my way of harnessing change in business, not by making the moral case for doing good, but by making the business case.
Have a question? Suggestion? Gripe? Or want to work with me? Contact me here.
Subscribe by email to Cause Capitalism for daily interviews, tactics, consumer and business trends and stories of who has come before you.