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Justwomen 2017: Dale Nirvani Pfeifer Talks Ethics in Business [Q&A]

Posted January 31, 2017 by Kristin Hoppe in Running a Business 101
With new technology comes new opportunities to give back. Hear what this expert has to say about corporate responsibility in the age of social media.

Have you ever run into a post on social media pointing to a good cause, but quickly got distracted from donating moments later?

Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, CEO and co-founder of Goodworld, set out to create a solution for that problem.

“I quickly realized the way people were raising money for charity was somewhat outdated for millennials,” she said. People were finding causes they wanted to donate to on social media, but there was no easy way to make that donation.

That’s when she began to develop the idea and business plan for a fundraising app that works on social media.

Dale describes herself as a “recovering academic.” Before founding Goodworld, she ran a research center at Victoria University, and collaborating with the Kennedy School on a research project about networks and leadership behaviors.

We sat down and spoke to Dale about corporate ethics and responsibility before the upcoming Justwomen event in Washington, D.C. She’ll be on a panel with Ximena Hartsock, founder of Phone2Action, and Shana Glenzer, CMO of MakeOffices.

Co-founder of Goodworld, Dale Nirvani Pfeifer

What inspired you to found Goodworld?

I’ve always been passionate about doing good. I saw a big opportunity to do this at scale by creating a whole new channel of philanthropy. After studying networks and leadership, I knew there was a big opportunity being missed on social media — especially as that is how most millennials find out about the causes they want to donate to. It knew it had to be instant, viral, and fun. So I got very focused on how we could develop the very best social fundraising platform for the new era. Our goal is to then scale into other verticals like commerce so we can create the payments pathways known as the global force for good.

How does the business model for Goodworld work? Is it a nonprofit or for-profit company, and how do you generate revenue?

Goodworld is a for-profit company that services the nonprofit industry. We take a transaction fee for every donation that runs through our platform.

Do you feel like there are certain ethics in business for-profit companies need to follow when they’re working in conjunction with nonprofits?

It was a hard decision and something I thought about for a long time, but we decided the for-profit route.

Our goal is to create a whole new fundraising stream and our commitment is to make sure that a bigger piece of the transaction goes into the hands of nonprofits as possible.

It’s a pretty standard fee and we have a unique technology. As we grow, we’ll be able to have cheaper and cheaper transaction fees to make sure that the charities get the biggest cut that they can.

We are also very grateful to have the acumen of our investors and the team we’ve managed to hire as a result of raising capital. That’s been huge for us.

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The theme for this Justwomen is on social impact and corporate responsibility. What responsibility, if any, do you think businesses have to the communities around them?

Traditionally in the U.S. in particular, the role of business has squarely been focused on creating financial results. That is critically important, but we are also seeing a new wave of companies that have strong business models and also have a big social impact.

That big trend is coming through in women-led businesses and for millennials who want to be employed by socially conscious companies.

Generating a profit is a great and healthy thing. It’s very important and it makes business go around, but it’s important not to lose sight of socially responsible goals.

As a business grows larger, its mission and practices often evolve. How can a company maintain its core dedication to social responsibility while finding new ways to stay profitable and relevant?

I knew I wanted my company to do the most amount of good possible and have a very strong business model.

When I started creating Goodworld, I held those objectives up front and center. I think that really is the way you can make sure that happens — through having [the values] absolutely woven into the heart of the business and the heart of your business model.

The more money we make, the more good we do. That’s the function of our business. Having that bound into the core of the business model can really help with staying dedicated to social responsibility.

How do you envision corporate responsibility changing and evolving over the next ten years?

Many corporations today give away large amounts of money to charity. That’s a powerful attractor for new business if potential customers hear about it. So we developed a new way for brands to leverage their social media to make an impact.

Our #donate technology enables brands to create a fun, interactive, meaningful experience directly that can light up the social media feed of the brand, its customers and employees.

I think there’s a huge opportunity for corporate responsibility when it’s a much more public thing. We can do that by giving away gifts on social media. One business made a $25,000 tweet and did a lot of PR around it, and it was a huge win for that organization.

There’s a real opportunity for corporations to be much more smart in their philanthropy, in PR and through social media.

This year’s Justwomen is taking place in Washington, D.C. on February 16th from 6-8 pm. You can learn more here.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.