GOOD is featuring interviews of devoted members each week on good.is. Jasmine Youssefzadeh is the founder of filmanthropos, a creative agency specializing in storytelling for causes and corporate social responsibility initiatives, with a mission to scale impact through innovative uses of new media.
The last time I did good
I founded filmanthropos based on a passion to use my creativity to do social good. Beyond this, I wanted to unite the non-profit and for-profit sectors under their commonalities, and to encourage them to support one another beyond the traditional financial sense. To help causes engage their audiences, our agency’s core focus is on video production and real-time storytelling.
But the most unique portion of our business model, and perhaps the most fundamental component to our success, is our dedication to offering 50 percent of our services pro bono to small non-profit organizations year-round. This GiveHalf Model, founded by Matthew Manos, revolutionizes the service industry by encouraging entrepreneurs to give half of their work away for free. To meet this goal, we follow a simple rule of thumb: we double our workload and tap into a network of local volunteers to staff and scale pro bono projects.
I am therefore essentially “doing good” every single day through filmanthropos, and the “good” is multi-fold:
- We are helping causes share their story, engage their audiences, and raise awareness on a daily basis.
- Through our pro bono offerings, we are helping small non-profits who do not have the necessary resources to share their story, and therefore invest their would-be marketing budgets directly into the causes they serve.
- We encourage and engage our network of volunteers to use their talents and creativity for a cause greater than themselves.
- We are bridging the non-profit and corporate worlds by building cross-promotional partnerships that can unite the two under a common cause.
A 'Do' I want to share with the world
ProduceAthons! At filmanthropos we place a heavy emphasis on creative initiatives, and our quarterly pro-bono “ProduceAthon” is by far my favorite. A “ProduceAthon” is a work-around-the-clock creative blitz that helps a cause tell their story and the impact they are making in a short film produced entirely over 24 hours. Every quarter, we pool together a local team of five volunteers who join forces to create a story for a select organization. The entire event is a remarkable bonding experience for our volunteers and the select organization’s team.
We completed our first pro-bono “ProduceAthon” last October in celebration of Pro Bono Week 2013. The outcome of the event was a 60-second motion-graphic video created for Swipes for the Homeless, a nonprofit focused on hunger alleviation. I’m very excited for our next one coming up at the end of March.
We have organizations compete for selection via social media prior to the event, which raises a great deal of awareness for all competing causes. I think whether you have a cause or are a creative looking to “do good,” a “ProduceAthon” is a great crash-course for cause-based storytelling.
Best advice I've ever gotten
Push yourself to do things that scare you.
Book I'd recommend
The Dragonfly Effect – it’s a great playbook on how to use social media to drive social change.
Do all the good you can by all the means you can.
My biggest goal for 2014
To scale impact at filmanthropos! If you are a cause and want your story told or a creative looking to collaborate, let us know. Email me directly at email@example.com.