Friday, January 04, 2008

My Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles

Until today, the tagline for my blog was "Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted." The explanation for the older tagline was given in my first post, over two years ago.

My new, updated tagline is "Finding and funding sustainable, scalable solutions to end global poverty." The new tagline represents a clearer statement of where I intend to focus my efforts going forward. To formalize my intentions, below are first drafts of my vision, mission statement, and guiding principles:

Vision: Helping to create a world in which all people can provide for the necessities of life.

Mission Statement: My goal is to help at least 1 million people out of extreme poverty, or $1-per-day poverty, during my lifetime.

Guiding Principles: Humility, Sustainability, Income Generation, Collaboration, and Scalability

1) Humility: I don't have all of the answers on how to fulfill my vision and mission, and I credit others for the few things I claim to know. I will continue to be open to all sources of learning and feedback and allow myself to receive all the help that others are willing to provide.

2) Sustainability: The only sustainable way to alleviate global poverty is to help people generate higher incomes. Any organizations with which I become involved also require sustainable and efficient business models.

3) Income Generation: Contributing factors to income generation include but are not limited to sufficient health, education and training, capital, and market access. Any poverty solution that does not consider all major contributing factors is incomplete.

4) Collaboration: It is common for organizations to address one or two income generation factors without considering all. This practice is acceptable and necessary, since organizations often have to focus their efforts in order to make meaningful contributions. However, these individual efforts will ultimately not lead to sustainable poverty alleviation unless they are coordinated with efforts of complementary organizations and institutions.

5) Scalability: With over 1 billion people struggling to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves on less than $1 per day, solutions have to be scalable. My current goal to help 1 million people implies that I will help only 0.1% of those who need help. What about the other 99.9%? Due to the enormous scale of the problem, it would be inhumane not to identify and implement methods that can be replicated by others.

At this point in my journey, I'm merely an aspiring social entrepreneur. My passion to alleviate global poverty is far greater than my knowledge, experience, or ability to address the problem. I would appreciate feedback, advice, and help from anyone who is willing to share. Thanks in advance for your efforts. I look forward to working with you.


Anonymous said...

Ryan - I LOVE the direction you're taking your blog/efforts. I've been not so active in the blog world recently and have some reading to catch up - one such place I need to read more from is your site. Great resources and thoughts are here. I wonder how you can get more exposure or share these resources more? They are excellent.

Specifically on this post, I think the movement to the more sustainable and development end of 'charity' is a powerful move. I think charity has an important place, but ultimately doesn't help with justice or systemic issues enough. and in all honesty, since charity is easier more people doi that then jump into the details that justice work requires. Soapbox issue for me here - so I will reel it in and end with that! - Liz

Ryan Gunderson said...

Thanks, Liz, for your comments. I'm glad you find the resources on my blog to be helpful. Regarding greater exposure of the blog, I've added it to my annual Christmas card each of the past two years, it's on my email signature, and I know you and others have added links from your blogs (thank you). I suppose the best way I can think of to distribute these ideas to a broader audience would be to try to write in the popular press, gaining access to a built-in audience. If others have additional suggestions, let me know.