I received a pound of coffee beans roasted by a social enterprise as a gift, and was very excited because I love coffee almost as much as I love social enterprise. After brewing a cup, I was disheartened. It was entirely mediocre, and yet I researched their prices and found them comparable to Intelligentsia. So if I were to replace the bag, I’d have to pay a premium for a mediocre product.
I wish supporting a great organization was more important to me than drinking the finest coffee available, but it simply is not. And I suspect you are like me. Maybe you’re not a coffee snob, but whatever it is that you enjoy, you’re not going to take it second rate just because the money goes somewhere good. Because you don’t see where the money goes, you just notice the quality of your purchase.
As we experiment with new ways of doing things, we must keep quality a forefront concern. All the good intentions in the world are irrelevant when our innovative, socially responsible ways of doing things produce inferior results. We must create something better so that it can appeal on the basis of its quality alone–so that people will be drawn to it intuitively, without having to know anything about who we are or why we are doing this.