Expanding the market for ethically traded coffee | May 2017 DSO Update

Expanding the market for ethically traded coffee | May 2017 DSO Update

Taking a happy break! Photo Credit: Therese Tardio


Similar to our last update, we continue to make change locally and globally. This means ensuring we are demonstrating empathy in action, taking an ‘end-user first’ approach to tackling problems, understanding the specific and shared needs of our communities, and partnering with impactful global and local organizations.

In this report, we feature our first ever social impact case competition initiative. This was done in partnership with Building New Hope in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to support a local community in El Porvenir, Nicaragua.

In our last report, we also shared that we launched a DSO incubator, DSO Labs. A quick update: The team is currently building solutions to help nonprofit organizations and funders better fundraise and achieve higher impact and financial ROI. If you’re interested in joining DSO Labs and/or supporting the initiative, please get in touch with Lizzie lizzie@dsoglobal.org

Featured Project

Building New Hope (BNH) is a volunteer-driven organization whose main mission is to support grassroots development projects in Central America. In 2002, workers from a coffee co-op, El Porvenir, approached volunteers from BNH as their community was in dire need of support to find buyers for their coffee. The El Porvenir Coffee Cooperative is a worker-owned, certified-organic coffee farm situated near Leon, Nicaragua managed by 46 member families. BNH supports El Porvenir through a direct trade relationship to sell the coffee in Pittsburgh, and through grants for education, infrastructure development, and emergency relief. In addition to supporting the local community, BNH is partnering with the local community to expand the market for ethically traded coffee.

We partnered with Building New Hope to better share these stories of resiliency, hope, and conscientiousness through better marketing and branding. Our goals:

  1. Raise awareness of farmers’ livelihoods, ethical trade, and better inform people & consumers so they think about these issues when making decisions in the future
  2. Give BNH impactful branding, positioning & marketing ideas and build prototypes to better target individual and institutional consumers in the immediate short-term
  3. Apply and improve BNH + DSO’s social impact approach from this case competition to tackling other challenges

To do this, we organized a case competition at Carnegie Mellon University bringing together 8 teams of 28 students across academic disciplines, passions, and experiences. Overall the collaboration and presentations of the teams highlighted:  

  1. an understanding of the challenges tackled by the farmers and their families, 2. creativity to strengthen the brand and expand the market for ethically traded coffee, and 3. actionable insights with short and long term recommendations for Building New Hope. A judging panel reviewed the work and prizes were awarded to to the top three teams.

We eagerly await input and feedback from the coffee farmers and families themselves!

We greatly appreciate your continued support.

Teams are energized. photo credit: Therese Tardio

Teams are energized. Photo Credit: Therese Tardio

See Also

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