Helping Small Businesses and Independent Contractors in Los Angeles Be Very Nice.

submission by Matthew Manos
Helping Small Businesses and Independent Contractors in Los Angeles Be Very Nice.

Organization Name

:

verynice

Website

:

verynice.co

Indicator

Please select the one indicator that is most relevant to your project or organization: Social Connectedness

What is your idea and how will it impact your indicator?

:

When you are making a billion dollars a year, it is easy to donate a million to a good cause. When you are a small business, or an independent contractor, likely bringing in a revenue that is barely pushing 6 figures, it is really hard to give back. We’ve seen lots of success from models over the years such as the One Laptop per Child initiative, and the famous One for One model from TOMS that proceeded it, but what about the service business? What model of business can be created to turn philanthropy into an integral and viable component of service-oriented business? We hear about billionaires like Bill Gates giving away half of their net-worth upon death, but is that kind of impact really limited to the mega-rich? What would a very nice business look like? 5 years ago I founded a company called verynice to begin to answer these questions.

verynice is a full service design and innovation consultancy that is dedicated to disrupting the way the design industry operates. Over 50% of our efforts are given away for free to non-profit organizations around the world. I chose to settle on the “over 50%” philanthropy model because it is my philosophy that anything you spend less than 50% of your time doing is just an extracurricular activity. To have a true impact, I believe we need to make giving back an integral component (at least 50%) of our daily lives. Over the course of 5 years, we have had the pleasure of donating our services to over 200 non-profit organizations, all adding up to a pro-bono dollar amount of close to $750,000. By the beginning of 2014, if all goes according to plan, we will have hit the million dollar mark in donated services. All of this with a staff of 7 people in our downtown LA office, and over 170 people located around the world.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review estimates that the annual marketing and design expenditure amongst non-profit organizations in the United States alone is a whopping 7.6 Billion dollars. Let’s put that into perspective. $7.6 Billion dollars can but up to 100,000 homes in the United States. $7.6 Billion dollars can provide over 1 Million college educations. For about a dollar a day, World Vision estimates that a child in an impoverished community can be granted access to fresh water, nutritious food, healthcare, and even an education. Imagine, then, what could be accomplished with the spare funding that would result from the eradication of marketing and design expenditures amongst non-profit organizations…

So here is the thing. Myself and the people at verynice have been able to donate the equivalent of $750k. That is amazing, and I have seen the impact that saved money has had on these organizations, but at the end of the day, it took us 5 years to accomplish that. Here is the other harsh reality check - $750k is only .01% of the amount of money non-profits are spending each and every year. That is just not enough. We can’t do this alone anymore. If we truly want to create a world in which any and all marketing and design expenditures belonging to non-profit organizations are eliminated, we need to get serious about the replication of our model.

My vision for verynice has never been to build a big successful business. Instead, the vision has always been to build a big and successful model that is capable of replicating itself by inspiring others to leverage it as their own. To do this, I am launching a new project, beverynice, which is a platform for inspiring and holding accountable independent contractors and small business owners for their philanthropy by offering resources and tools to make “extreme philanthropy” a viable endeavor in the small business arena. All of that is getting a bit ahead of myself, but to start this long-term journey, I am creating a “beverynice startup-kit” that will completely open-source the verynice business model for other entrepreneurs in service-oriented business at large (consultants, doctors, designers, lawyers, hairstylists, etc.) to leverage. If all goes according to plan, this startup-kit will pave the way for a successful replication of our model. There is no company in the world that comes close to matching our pro-bono ration while still maintaining profitability. I sincerely hope that this project creates more competition for us.

To get started, I already have assembled a team of 14 entrepreneurs / beverynice “alpha testers” from around the world that have expressed specific interest in leveraging verynice’s business model in their own companies, and I am mentoring them all free of charge to make that happen. I have a lot of long-term plans for this project, but in the interest of beging specific for this application, the project’s scope will include the completion, production, distribution, and dissemination of my toolkit, to make Los Angeles a leader in small business philanthropy.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

:

verynice started in my apartment at UCLA when I was 19 years old. To date, I have grown the organization to be home to over 170 people around the globe. We have successfully completed projects for over 200 non-profit organizations. Our work has been done in, with, and for 40 countries spanning 6 continents. If you have a project that we can collaborate with you on in Antarctica, please let me know.

All of our work equates to roughly 50,000 hours of volunteer service. This is the equivalent of working for 5.7 years straight without any break, and we do all of this without any automated process or crowd-sourced gimmick. Just a group of friends from around the world working hard.

The verynice business model has been featured and published multiple times on renowned publications including Forbes, GOOD Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Guardian. In total, our work has been featured on over 100 print and online venues.

Over the past 3 years, I have personally delivered over 50 talks / panel discussions / workshops at venues across the United States including TEDx, UCLA, Art Center, and the Art Directors Club.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

:

I will employ verynice, and the freelancers in verynice's network (including myself) for the design and development of all components of this project. The money earned by verynice will not only compensate us for our time away from client work, it will go directly back to the community and the causes we serve by supporting out pro-bono efforts.

Printing partner - I am still seeking out a local printing partner for the toolkit, but would like to work with Typecraft as their work is wonderful.

Workshop partner - While it is not finalized, it makes perfect sense for the workshopping and focus groups to take place in our space at the HUB in the downtown LA Arts District.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

:

I will measure the success of this project purely by numbers. How many people received the toolkit? How many people are actively implementing the toolkit? How many small business in Los Angeles witnessed business transformation? What total dollar amount has been donated to organizations by users of this toolkit? I like numbers. I am not at all a fan of qualitative analysis when it comes to philanthropy and “social good.” the success (or failure) of this project will be documented with great intention and hyper-transparency.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles? Please be specific.

My project will benefit Los Angeles in numerous ways. First, the toolkit will serve as a great resource for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles by giving them the tools and confidence necessary to excel in business and in philanthropy (at the same time). Second, the toolkit will plant the seed for potentially thousands of new businesses in LA, all of which will be actively giving back to their respective communities and the world at large. It is a win-win for Los Angeles and the world in which it resides as well as the people and businesses within LA.

If this grant is received, I will personally provide up to 5 hours of free consultation on best practices for integrating our model to the first 100 Angelenos that obtain a copy. That is 500 hours of service that I am willing to give to the people of LA, a value of $100,000.00 which is the exact dollar amount of this grant. It all comes back around :)

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

:

Success in 2050 for this project would mean that all of verynice’s altruism, and our model in general, are just common practice. In 2050, the verynice model would be ubiquitous in the Los Angeles business scene. I really hope that we look a lot less impressive by then.

Discussion
86 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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Power to you Matt and everyone involved! :)

by JohnYLA
over 1 year ago | Reply

so just to be clear, this proposal is to pay $200/hour for 500 hours of agency time to help los angeles? $100k goes directly to the agency? or is it a 50% donation, so that it

by jessicazstill-ro
over 1 year ago | Reply

no not at all. This grant would pay for the printing and distribution of at least 1000 startup toolkits to help small businesses give back to their communities. It will also pay for the development of an interactive web platform + workshops to be held in LA. The 500 hours of agency time is a gift from our studio to those that receive the startup toolkits.

by BoraShin
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matthew you are an inspiration to young and old. Keep up all your good work and thoughts. It gives the world hope in good things and even greater people!

by susan.considine.37
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matthew, your company gives me hope that maybe our whole country can change for the better through adopting new business models based on social responsibility. Maybe even Congress could learn to work together eventually!

Karen Lamberto

by klamberto
over 1 year ago | Reply

Fantastic Matthew. I have seen your presentations several times and know of the effectiveness and scalability of your model. I hope that you can inspire people in every field!

by hollywoodntzmacz
over 1 year ago | Reply

As a design student I have already observed most of my classmates getting "employed" by design firms and not getting paid for several months, even up to years. The employers are very successful firms - probably because of the free labor. In this environment, how can you ask us to donate 50%, when many people I know are donating 100% to for-profit companies just to stay marketable? Why do design services always seem to be the first thing on a budget that is expected to be donated? How do you and your employees/collaborators make a living, and do you believe it's possible for a designer starting out to do the same?

by ehora
over 1 year ago | Reply

why are your friends donating their services to for-profit companies? that is illegal! report it! we pay every intern even.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matt! I am so happy and proud to say that I know you =)

This is incredible and I hope many more people follow your example. I don't think, though, that it will make you any less impressive.

by mnfockler
over 1 year ago | Reply

I am so happy to see Matt Manos and his company VeryNice in this competition. His work and mission to do GOOD for the world is truly genuine. He has already helped so many non-profits and I can't imagine all the GOOD this company will be able to do if they win the competition!!

by travelkirsten
over 1 year ago | Reply

thank you so much for the support, Kirsten!!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes http://www.infogurushop.com votes for Good Maker.

by Infogurushop
over 1 year ago | Reply

thank you!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I am so happy to see Matt Manos and his company VeryNice in this competition. His work and mission to do GOOD for the world is truly genuine. He has already helped so many non-profits and I can

by travelkirsten
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is not only revolutionary, it's necessary. We must expand this vision of what a business must do. We must learn to include this cyclic philosophy or receiving and giving in order to face the upcoming world challenges. Great work, verynice, I'm vouching for you!

by carlosmiceli
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for the kind words, Carlos! The support is very much appreciated :)

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is not only revolutionary, it's necessary. We must expand this vision of what a business must do. We must learn to include this cyclic philosophy or receiving and giving in order to face the upcoming world challenges. Great work, verynice, I'm vouching for you!

by carlosmiceli
over 1 year ago | Reply

verynice.

by deekim85
over 1 year ago | Reply

thank you, Dee!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

The 'verynice' model will not only be ubiquitous in the Los Angeles business scene but Worldwide! It is great to see an innovator like Matt create a model that has purpose prevail over profit, yet thrive financially so it can be sustained long term. When we can channel our passion into action we can do almost anything! verynice.

by blackmesh
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for writing such an encouraging comment! I really appreciate your support. My hope is for ubiquity :) Would love to see more "competitors" in this space pop up.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Bring it on :)

by blackmesh
over 1 year ago | Reply

This company makes the world a better place :)

by linkhuang
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your support, Link!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Looking forward to seeing this pan out - we are already working hard on the project, and just need a push to make it happen! Please support us and reach out with any questions - matt@verynice.co.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

HERE WE GO BABY!

SO EXCITED FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

by DJMiRTH
over 1 year ago | Reply

thank you!!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matt - this is boldly conceived, admirably executed and eloquently described. Thanks and well done.

You seem to be using the language and framing of altruism/philanthropy for beverynice, but there

by futuryst
over 1 year ago | Reply

...is a strong alternative framing around the gift economy which also applies, it seems to me. With that in mind you (and others on this thread) may find a powerful supporting argument in Charles Eisenstein's wonderful book Sacred Economics. http://sacred-economics.com/read-online/

by futuryst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for your comment, Stuart. I am very excited to look into the Sacred Economics. This provides a new light on framing our work! I appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to discussions in the near future.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

The notion of giving back--not as an afterthought, but an intergral part of business is to me a radical and wonderful idea. It

by karenslovin
over 1 year ago | Reply

...can change an individual and a community, indeed the world. To replicate the VeryNice business model is to amplify all that good and creativity. Powerful stuff. This project, with its mentorships and tools to help Los Angeles entrepreneurs thrive in business and in philanthropy, could be transformative for us.

by karenslovin
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your support and verynice words. I really believe in the idea of thriving simultaneously to giving back. Can't wait to see it become the norm

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matt

by njammi
over 1 year ago | Reply

I'm sorry that your comment was cut short, but thank you so much for your support!!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes! This is what Los Angeles needs, to enhance a community

by loriemanos
over 1 year ago | Reply

with a sense of place and value. that will encourage not only locally but globally. I can't think of a better place to begin .............. L.A. . verynice! loriem

by loriemanos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks so much for your support! It is so crucial to start locally in Los Angeles and then move on to take over the world!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

This should be the future of business in America! What better place to start than in Los Angeles! Great concept!

by jeffm
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great point, Jeff. Bringing these types of initiatives to Los Angeles will also bring attention that L.A. is ahead of the game, on the curve, a great place to live etc... This all translates to increased soft power, brand equity and commerce.

by Marlon Fuentes
over 1 year ago | Reply

I agree, Marlon.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks so much for your support and for believing us!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Imagine the impact we can have if every business operated like this! It would be an amazing infrastructure for the support of non-profit organizations by getting them one step closer to independence.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

We are living in a post industrial world, folks. Business cannot continue as usual and more and more we are seeing the need to employ ethical, sustainable, and philanthropic avenues for business. Whether it is altruistic or an outcome of the transparency of immediate communication. Fund this initiative and transform your community, one business at a time.

by Marlon Fuentes
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for your endorsement, Marlon. I really appreciate the support. I agree that we need to change course in business. I hope that beverynice is the way to do that

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I also truly believe that altruism and transparency MUST go hand in hand. It is one thing to say it, and another to do it. In honor of that philosophy, the beverynice toolkit will also arm entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to be open and honest about their contributions in order to keep them accountable.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is the type of project that small businesses need to see flourish. I can

by chathri
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your support! I can't wait to be able to help and watch small businesses in Los Angeles flourish as they help others.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I can't wait to see how you'll change business in Los Angeles, even the world! Such a cool idea. Good luck!

by kateslovin
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you very much for your ongoing support! I can't wait to see the change come about from helping people be more verynice, too :)

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matt Manos truly walks his talk. Here's a SUPER piece from him on startempathy.org: http://startempathy.org/blog/2012/12/it%E2%80%99s-time-design-start-empathy-too. He's so deserving of this grant...good luck, Matt!

by josephkatona
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your support, Joey! It has been great getting to work with you and everyone at Ashoka + StartEmpathy :)

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I should note that with the help of this grant, I will also be able to begin to make this resource available in an interactive form in a matter of months. I'm excited to see this make an impact in Los Angeles, and beyond to hopefully make US2050 a verynice place.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

We have deep appreciation and respect to Matthew Manos and his team at verynice. The small business service industry has long been waiting for a philanthropic model that would allow service providers to maximize impact to the local community they serve. This project wants to be open-source --- and it needs to be open-sourced.

Kudos again Matt, our digital agency here in the Central Valley can

by victorramayrat
over 1 year ago | Reply

... can't wait to implement the model you've created.

by victorramayrat
over 1 year ago | Reply

I'm here for you!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Amazing, Victor – so excited to see where you guys take it, and am proud to be part of that process!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I also want to give a special shout out to Victor for being one of the beverynice "alpha testers." Without the help of Victor and our other participants, I would not have been able to make this guide as useful and meaningful as it is going to be.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

imagine replicating verynice's model all over LA and beyond, Is so verynice! (exciting!)

by BoraShin
over 1 year ago | Reply

That WOULD be verynice, wouldn't it!!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

We already have 3 businesses in Los Angeles that have agreed to replicate our model. Imagine the impact this grant would have on our capability to replicate. My goal is no less then 1000 business in LA by 2050. That will result in hundreds of million in pro-bono equivalent!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Happy to reveal the 9 sections that make up a good section of the toolkit:
A: The Model
B: Getting Started
C: The Incentives
D: Branding / Marketing
E: Client Relations
F: Scaling the Model
G: Policy Making
H: Quality Assurance
I: Risks

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Each of these sections are packed with questions and answers that aim to truly open source the model and make replication of it as understandable as possible.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matt's project comes at a relevant time for a lot of us in this generation looking to break out on our own and still make a meaningful impact on our community. I could have never imagined that someone was doing it already and turning it into a movement! I'm looking forward to seeing this project grow and inspire a fundamental shift in the way we view pro bono.

by njammi
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your support. I really do hope this can create a lasting shift to the way we view philanthropy and pro bono in the small business space.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

"When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous." -Wayne Dyer

Matt

by kaithilliard1
over 1 year ago | Reply

Excellent quote. Thanks for sharing that here, and for all of your support!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

The rest of the comment (that got lost in posting) was even more better! Can't possibly replicate but it was something along the lines of how the future of capitalism will benefit greatly from compassion... Matt's vision provides a road map for anyone in the service business who wants to do more than make money with their talents. Congrats on the first place in the voting as of 4/3 9"13 pm pst. :-)

by kaithilliard1
over 1 year ago | Reply

Well I certainly can't wait to see more small businesses & service professionals to beverynice! ;) I look forward to it and being a part of the discussions. Go Matt!

by sheena.yoon
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks so much, Sheena! I appreciate your ongoing support in the initiative. I'm excited to see where this goes.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I support and admire Matt for leading the challenge of developing a business model that can deliver social change and empower us with the tools to do good and still do good business! Can't wait for the project to grow even further.

by ssandy
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your ongoing support! Excited to see where this project goes, and excited to have you be a part of it.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

very excited about this! Can

by filmanthropos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks, Jasmine!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is amazing! It really is about helping smaller businesses and giving back to the community. Can

by anna.elgato
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks so much for your support! I'm really excited to help small businesses not only give back to the community, but also thrive while doing so.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Update for you all! We now have received over 100 questions that will be answered in this guidebook. Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and beyond are waiting to launch verynice-inspired businesses. Very excited to see how this grant will make that possible.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yet another update - we are now at 6,000 words! This book is really taking off. Can't wait to see how it can be disseminated in amazing ways, shapes, and forms, through the help of LA2050.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Can't wait to see this model replicated all over the world and to get my hands on this book!
:)

by luca
over 1 year ago | Reply

Oh, so that's what you meant by "Can" down there? ;)

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your support!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Can

by luca
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes. You can!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Matt is a true visionary and I support everything he stands for 100%!

by NoTypicalMoments
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much, Andrew! Very excited to see your company incorporate pro-bono work and make a huge impact!

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

I am also very excited to announce that Andrew's company, No Typical Moments, will be launching very soon with a verynice-inspired business model that will help him generate significant impact through his work as a social media manager and expert.

by Matthew Manos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Pink-ribbon-award-box-icon
Award_topvotedidea
$1,000,000 in total grants
Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-submission-inactive

Submission Began
Tuesday, February 26

Submission Ended
Thursday, March 28
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Tuesday, April 02

Voting Ended
Wednesday, April 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address

Winner Announced
Wednesday, May 08

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