What is Pathfinder about? What’s your mission?
The social enterprise PATHFINDER provides creative solutions to enable the world’s most vulnerable through a three-pronged approach: by simultaneously influencing academics, policy, and social entrepreneurship.
Our vision is to enable local social entrepreneurs so that they may provide for themselves, their families and their communities. We enable them through crucial strategy and management consulting solutions. We work to engage financial opportunities with these social entrepreneurs, thereby connecting resources to much needed requirements, efficiently. Knowing that these isolated services are not enough on their own, we also contribute to academic enrichment, and we advocate for policy changes.
When and why did you decide to use media coverage in your strategy?
We decided at the start that it would be imperative for both, our brand and our message, to be covered by the media. Social entrepreneurship is not well enough known yet, and many in the field, like us, have yet to deliver results before we become mainstream. Traditional media coverage can be extremely powerful in reaching a broad audience. So we worked hard to develop good relationships with media contacts who we believe to have the integrity and objectives that are aligned with our own.
Our strategy included a combination of both, us contacting relevant media, and our being contacted by journalists who were interested in what we are doing, the issues we are working on, and our innovative approach. Not only did we work hard at reaching out to people, but also, we made ourselves available and open.
Your radio interview with Frankie Picasso on her show Mission Unstoppable has had over 82,000 downloads: congrats!
- How did it start (who contacted who)?
A mutual contact introduced us. We are a part of a change accelerator, WorldPlayers, and so is The Good Radio Network’s Frankie Picasso. After a preliminary interview, Frankie decided she wanted us on her show, Mission Unstoppable.
- What did you share in the interview?
We spoke about PATHFINDER’s beginnings, our work, and our focus. We explained how we met and what compelled us to start PATHFINDER. We spoke of how since we met 4 years ago in Mauritius, we never abandoned the idea of starting a social enterprise together.
We discussed how finally, after 3 years of working on our careers individually, we decided it was time to do this! Shivani left her career on Wall Street and Jessica left consulting in Brussels (AND was 8 months pregnant) when we started it all! The rest, as they say, is history.
And also, we went into some detail about our first few selected projects, World Pathfinder Children’s Fund Inc. and Pathfinder Nepal, The Drunken Chemist, and Agri-Cycle Namibia. Subsequently, Frankie found the projects so interesting, she decided she would love to interview the amazing people behind these projects.
- Why do you think it is so successful?
To be honest, we can’t quite explain the incredible number of downloads. It really came as a shock to us, especially considering that the average show gets a few thousand downloads. This was way beyond our expectations!
We did our part diligently. We shared it with our network and disseminated it via social media and beyond. Our Projects also shared the link to the download with their networks.
Still, never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined such an outstanding response to what we had to say!
Although we can’t explain our large audience, this success, could be attributed to a combination of the content of the interview; the work that we do, our interests and experiences, humanitarian projects, the state of the world, and our upbeat response to a new and growing movement of “changemakers”.
There may have been many listeners because we like to believe that people in general have an innate need to be and to do good and we offer a sustainable, inclusive way to do so.
Regardless of the reasons, we are humbled by the entire experience and are thrilled that the interview did (and continues to do) well.
- Beyond the number, what qualitative impact did it have for Pathfinder?
It was great exposure and we have been contacted by a few organizations since.
What’s your top 3 advises for social entrepreneurs who are shy to approach the media?
1 – Go for it! You have nothing to lose. If they’re not interested, they won’t write about you or share your story. If they are, they will and you’ll have opened the door to many new opportunities. Either way, if you don’t do the work for fear of failure, you will never see any results.
2 – Give your best. Don’t forget that journalists need to develop and publish material too. They are likely solicited daily. But if you give them good, original and relevant work, they might be interested and even write about what you’re doing. Of course, only contact them when you have something ‘newsworthy’ to say. And finally, in our case, it certainly helped that most of the media professionals we contacted were kind and helpful.
3 – It’s all about quality, not quantity. Develop a few good relationships that are mutually beneficial. Once you have created relationships with journalists who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing, it will be much easier to pitch them ideas and stories they’ll want to publish in the future. You don’t need to contact hundreds of people who don’t know or care about what you are doing. Focus on the ones who show interest and who will publish your content. At the end of the day, that is the goal: to get your name and message out there!
Update June 2016 >> since we made this interview, the potcast has now been downloaded 148,000 times!
Solène is the Chief Empowerment Officer of Creators for Good.
She developed a methodology that allows Global Citizen to start and grow their own impactful businesses from anywhere in the world – and with no need for investors or government support.