October’s DeClutter For Good Book Drive for More Than Words – Measuring the Results

Before I move on to the events and activities of November…  Oops! Too late, I’m already over my head into November’s busy pre-launch activities…

Still, I want to share the results of October’s DeClutter For Good Book Drive. (To learn more about More Than Words, the great mission-driven organization to which we donated books, you can read the original post about MTW by clicking here.)

In fact, it’s more than just a matter of wanting to report the results. Remember, the business I’m starting is a social enterprise ~ say it with me now ~ a business that is focused on serving a financial mission and an environmental mission in a financially-self sustaining business model… And, as a business, it’s really important to be able to measure and track results in a way that is meaningful, helping to assess the success (or room for improvement) of the effort…

In traditional terms, business measurements sooner or later boil down to return on investment…What’s in it for the owners, the partners, the investors or the shareholders? For folks who are driven by money, whether it’s the desire to accumulate it, what you can buy with it, or even the fear of not having enough of it, working toward financial goals is a real motivator…

But… While I understand money, I like to spend money, I prefer to get a good deal, a bargain, good value for my money, I can read a P&L statement, cash flow analysis, a balance sheet… The truth is money keeps my attention for only so long (which might explain how I opted for volunteer work and community service for the last decade). And, I’m not the only one who feels this way… In fact, there’s an awakening that is taking place that is being shared by increasingly more people (I blogged about some successful business people ~ does the name Bill Gates ring a bell? ~  People who have turned their attention to using their accumulated wealth and their problem-solving minds and challenge-loving, entrepreneurial spirit for the greater good. Click here if you want to read the post).

Rather than a focus on money as the “ultimate bottom line,” I have really found my place in social enterprise, where there truly is a “triple-bottom-line” and the impact of the business’ activities and undertakings on all stakeholders come into play and measurements are discussed in terms of social return on investment… What’s more, I’ve found like-minded people who share the same values-based, mission-driven pathway to a career that is fulfilling in a way that is measurable, and satisfying, in more meaningful terms… For me, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get my head and my heart, my passion and my mind, around the interest of a group of stakeholders rather than a concern that doesn’t go any deeper than 2 decimal points…The funny thing is, when you know the money is serving a mission, it takes on so much more meaning, for the change and potential for good that it represents…The significance of money suddenly takes on a greater importance to me when considered in the context of doing good…

Read on for the stakeholders and results of our More Than Words book drive…

So, who is a stakeholder? In some ways, when I’m in a particularly philosophical mood (like now) I think, “Who isn’t???!!”

But, to keep things concrete, let’s use More Than Words as an example… If you want to know who the stakeholders are, just ask, “Who is effected by the activities of the business?”

The Teens – At-risk youth who are learning business skills and life skills through their job at More Than Words… (Since I ran an understanding disabilities program for several years, I’m quite sensitive to word choice… For example, while it’s okay to say learning disabilities to reflect the very real challenges that exist for some, it implies limitations…so, learning differences is better. Likewise, I’m going to find out if there is another term besides at-risk youth that better reflects the very real opportunity these young people have to break the cycle of living that results in so many people not reaching their potential…Certainly, the MTW attitude towards these kids is one of hope and potential.)

The Community ~ MTW Founder Jodi Rosenbaum mentioned to me how pleased she is with the changing perceptions that are taking place in Waltham, the city where the More Than Words storefront is located. As Jodi and her staff have shown their belief in the teens, so have they begun to see it in themselves and others in the community are beginning to see it to. Ultimately, the members of the community are opening their minds and hearts to reconsider their own attitudes and beliefs about the at-risk kids, making for a stronger, more close-knit community overall.

The Environment ~ While some will embrace the need to consider the environment and others will come along kicking and screaming, the reality is that environmental concerns are here to stay. The term “green” may be a fad, our responsibility to the environment is a basic truth that is here to stay, even if we didn’t realize it until the 21st century. At More Than Words, think of the books that are being saved from the land fills and trash incinerators… AND, then think of the fact that the purchase of a used book is so often an alternative to a new book purchase and is a choice that doesn’t usurp all the resources and energy involved in the manufacture of new books.

The Customers ~ Those getting a good product for a fair price ~ Oh, yeah, More Than Words sells books ~ books are their vehicle, their means to an end that is so much larger than the simple sale of a book…

With consideration of the product and the customer, it’s back to business, in the traditional sense, with the added bonus that the customer can know that his or her purchase contributed to something more than the financial-bottom-line on some company’s financial statement. The difference is that the intent goes so much further than that… Run the business efficiently, effectively, to stay in business, yes, to make money…so that money can pay the employees and cover all the other costs associated with staying in business so that the mission can continue, in this case helping those at-risk teens, those kids with their whole lives ahead of them, kids who haven’t had it easy, kids with the potential to take the tough times that they’ve faced and move forward to their own brighter future, thanks to a great deal of their own hard work and determination, and helped along by the good people at More Than Words.

I think it is safe to say that I’m a fan of More Than Words, the existence of which I was completely unaware until I started my pre-launch journey of my new social enterprise. I think I can say It’s already been Time Well Spent and I’m only just getting started…

So, where does doing business end and doing good begin? I don’t know and I don’t know that it really matters all that much… One thing I’m sure of is that it sure feels good helping them out with our DeClutter For Good Drive ~ with the additional benefit of all those touched by Time Well Spent…

How did we do by the numbers? Here’s the breakdown:

A total of 438 books were donated at our book drive, clearing up clutter in the homes of families who Decluttered For Good, without adding to the landfills. I delivered 385 of those books to More Than Words on Moody Street in Waltham to help fund their mission through the resale of those books online and at their storefront and coffee shop. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend you stop in for a visit and a super price on some great books. The remaining 53 books were kept at Time Well Spent, as originally described, for use in the Workshop for altered book art projects or in the Learning and Sharing Center where we have a growing library of self-help and how-to books on a variety of topics.

Thanks so much to those who donated books! Know that you made a difference! If you missed the book drive, don’t fret, we’ll be holding another book drive next year for More Than Words or you are welcome to donate books to their Waltham-based storefront anytime!

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One response to “October’s DeClutter For Good Book Drive for More Than Words – Measuring the Results

  1. Congratulations, Nancy, on such a successful book drive for More Than Words. Your site looks great, with lots of interesting links and tons of information. Love the de-cluttering idea. Wish I lived closer so I could bring over some of our “clutter.” xo Sandy

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