Naomi Hirabayashi is the Director of Marketing at DoSomething.org, a teen-focused cause-oriented online community that runs campaigns almost every week. Founded in 1993, the New York member-based organization fosters the energy and enthusiasm of young people to spark positive social change. SocialBusiness.org interviewed Naomi Hirabayashi about her role at Do Something, a powerful tool for creating a space where youth can contribute to causes that they care about while at the same time getting swag like movie tickets, food, event invites and award money. Not too shabby.
Be sure to keep in touch with Naomi on Twitter!
Four Questions with Naomi Hirabayashi
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
At Do Something, we are 90% corporate funded. Where most not-for-profits are focused on fundraising from their core market, we never, ever fund-raise from our teens. We are focused on giving teens accessible, easy and free ways to take action on causes they care about. We work closely with great corporations who sponsor our cause campaigns (we launch two a month) to fund the programmatic costs of launching campaigns and general overhead.
Our business model is totally scaleable and is spent on growth, reaching more teens nationwide every day through our monthly cause campaigns.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
I started at a social media marketing agency and Do Something was one of my first clients in 2007. Through my work on the Do Something account, I fell in love with the power of leveraging new media technologies to mobilize young people nationwide to take social action. From there, my agency encouraged me to carve out a social-good leg to our agency. We hosted non-profit training nights for local, grass-roots not-for-profits who could not afford a retainer agency, but who greatly benefited from a deep dive into the free, resourceful new media tools to spread their message.
Throughout the course of four years, I stayed in touch with Do Something, actively serving on the marketing committee. I also realized throughout the course of four years, that I was happiest when I was using my skills to enact positive social change. I loved the innovation of the agency, feeling like I was on the forefront of a booming new world, but I was also eager for the fulfillment of the not-for-profit sector.
In Do Something, I have both. An incredibly innovative environment and absolute love and fulfillment in the work that I do. As a twenty-something New Yorker, I feel incredibly blessed to have found what I love at such a young age.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
1. I get my inspiration every day at the office. The Do Something staff is hands down the most passionate, hard-working and creative group of people I've ever been around. Each day, we're pushing ourselves to think outside the box, try something new, and think bigger and better. The collective energy is addicting, and without a doubt, inspiring.
2. Traveling. I love seeing the way other people live their lives, alternative ways cultures have decided to handle infrastructure, joy, indulgence, friendship, work. For me, inspiration comes from listening versus talking, receiving your surroundings and taking things in. So often our lives are busy with endless noise; traveling forces you to be a humble civilian, observing and listening, and in my mind, thinking about what inspires and moves you.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
One word... Zipcar!
A change of scenery, getting outdoors, hopefully increasing my Vitamin D (thanks for nothing New York City skyline blocking 99.8% of the sun), and driving to the radio. A day trek to outside the city is a chance to think more clearly, more creatively, and recenter myself.
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