— 6 min read

A few years ago we interviewed social entrepreneur and author, Devin Thorpe. We decided to check in with him and see what he has been up to.

In our chat, we discussed cryptocurrencies, his online training website for nonprofits, new opportunities for social entrepreneurs, and crowdfunding. Like always, his positive outlook on leadership should inspire all entrepreneurs.

Social entrepreneur Devin Thorpe

Our last interview with you was about two years ago. What have you been working on since then?

I’ve been mainly working on GoodCrowd.School, which is an online training website with courses to help nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs build capacity. Getting this up and running has been my main focus for the past two years. I’m excited to share my expertise with people on this new platform and empower them to do more good in the world.

A job for a social entrepreneur.

Has the role of social entrepreneurship changed over the past few years? How? Has it changed the way entrepreneurs must think and act?

The great thing about social entrepreneurship is that so many more people are doing it. The line between corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship gets blurrier every day. Virtually every corporation is adopting some form of social mission, if they haven’t already.

Organizations that are not mission-driven are still doing things with big social benefits because so many of these causes—especially around climate change—pay such big financial dividends. Nancy Mahon of Estée Lauder recently described this as the “golden age of purpose”.

What are the biggest problems in the US at the moment that starting social entrepreneurs should think about solving?

The biggest opportunities are in energy. The world is switching to renewable energy sources at an accelerating rate. I believe the pace will continue to quicken for at least a decade as we move away from fossil fuels.

Health is another huge opportunity for social entrepreneurs. I see the biggest possibilities developing between systems and processes for growing and distributing healthier food, with a movement away from animal agriculture and towards more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Our society is becoming unhealthy due to all of the crummy processed foods we eat. But, our awareness of the solution is improving. Increasingly, people want convenient and healthy food options. The world needs a successful, plant-based Blue Apron now.

State of Crowdfunding.

What is the current state of crowdfunding? How has it changed in the last few years?

Crowdfunding is an exciting space. When people talk about crowdfunding now, what they mean is GoFundMe, which is the most divisive platform. Some people really hate it.

I predict that Kickstarter and Indiegogo will come up with a new word for what people do on their sites. Equity crowdfunding will probably still be called Crowdfunding because that is written into the code. Because GoFundMe is so incredibly successful, I’d expect that people will eventually stop referring to the use of GoFundMe as crowdfunding and will just start referring to it as GoFunding or something like that.

You have also talked about cryptocurrency and that nonprofits should accept them as donations. What is your personal opinion about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology? How can they be used for good causes?

There is a lot to unpack in that box. Blockchain technology is essential for making our financial system safe. Going forwards, I believe all financial assets—and many real ones—will be traded using crypto technologies.

What's going on with crypto?

That said, I’m bearish on Bitcoin in particular and on most cryptocurrencies issued before 2017 in general. What I’m seeing now is that new coins make much more sense than coins issued even a year ago. Real assets frequently underlie the coins. The most obvious use case is tying a coin to a share of stock. As I mentioned, I think all stocks will trade as tokens within a decade.

So, crypto is here to stay. Nonprofits really need to accept crypto donations, but I don’t think they should hold crypto assets. Instead, they should immediately convert crypto contributions to fiat currency.

During our last interview you thought AI and globalization would be the biggest challenges facing managers in the workplace of the future. Should leaders focus on these problems or are there new problems on the horizon?

Those thoughts were rather forward looking then and remain so. Over the next few decades they will remain challenges. More urgently, we’ll be dealing with the effects of climate change, especially the effect of drought in East Africa that could cause up to 100 million people to become refugees over the next decade. In the following decade we will see another 50 or 100 million fleeing flooding from sea-level rise.

You can learn more about social entrepreneurship from Devin’s blog. And you can use Weekdone to more effectively run your business or non profit.