Stefan Sohlstrom

CEO at Nothing



10 Ideas, kind of

Only had time for ten, and some aren't really ideas

>>Be a rich benefactor, without being rich

In American Universities, every wing and building has the name of some rich benefactor plaque-ed on to the front. We all want to donate wings or libraries, but these days who has the millions for that? But wait! PoP has a program were you can donate a small amount of money and the corner of the little schoolhouse will be raised with a plaque that says "the [YOURLASTNAME] Wing". There's a site where prospective schoolhouses are graphically constructed, and maybe they send you a picture of your wing upon completion so you can gush to your coworkers about how much you care. 

>>Sign with the pencil; Donate a buck

Restaurants are breeding grounds for altruistic behavior! After your meal, after the wine has filled your heart with warmth and empathetic kindness, the server presents you with the bill. Open the leather folio and out rolls two writing options: a cold, heartless, black pen, or a Green-natural-earthen pencil. A small printout informs you that by signing with the pencil, you will donate $1 to help faraway children learn. One imagines 100% donation rates among the sizable "First Date" demographic.

>>"Bet one for the kids"

This controversial idea is centered around a casino game wherein the gambler (in a rare act of selflessness for the gambler) places a bet on a roulette like-game where all the proceeds go to PoP. Like most casino games, this one too is fixed and the wheel does not matter. It is only a ruse that will often land on like x10 bonus, so the poor, aimless gambler actually feels like he finally won something.

>> "What did you learn today?"

Youtube is a medium that celebrates cuteness. PoP has unique access to a largely untapped and never-ending stream of cuteness potential. You ask the kids what they learned today, or really anything, and hand-pick the cutest responses and make a boat-load of content. This humanizes rather than victimizes the kids.

>>Milton Friedman sells PoP

Target wealthy conservatives and their free-market, Objectivist fanaticisms. Develop a microsite that leverages Friedman's pencil metaphor, and craft different pulled up by their own bootstraps narratives that make the target demo drool and donate whole swaths of cash.

>>Toms, but for books

Get a bestselling author, one whose readers are those who probably identify with Caring About The World And Its People, and get him or her to make a deal with the publisher to donate a "book" for every book sold. The "book" would really just be a dollar. Brand this Buy One Give One campaign with a cover sticker and if it works for one author, try to expand it to whole publishers. 

>>"Where art thou PoP?"

A campaign to have high school drama departments tack on an extra dollar a ticket so less-privledged kids can put on a similar show. The market liquidity for high school drama production tickets is pretty high so an extra buck won't really put a dent in the audience. Maybe Pencils of Promise prints the tickets so there's an Value Added Excuse there too. 


Guilt anxious skillshare professors into donating 10% of their revenue towards PoP. There would be a label next to their teacher profile highlighting their giving. Those who decided to opt out of helping children might be seen as cheap and might be ostracized from the community. 

>>Private school colonization

Get spendy private schools to donate enough to build an Annex of their school in a faraway place. You could even patronize the audience by calling the new school "Little [Private School Name]." Among competitive private school markets like NY & LA it could almost be a status thing, that discerning parents look for when choosing a new school for their little ones.

>>Marketing Buzzword Approach

We game-ify the traditional adopt a kid model. Tons of low hanging fruit here. Earn achievements as your kid makes his way through school. Brag to your friends as your kid is advancing faster than other kids. "Your adopted child has earned the 'Digital Native' Badge!" Curate pictures of your kids for added engagement. Print off QR codes because that totally makes sense. 


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