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How Phin Repurposes Consumer Engagement to Make a Difference

Doug Lessing is the founder of Phin, a social good platform that great companies can use to build meaningful relationships with people and causes through sponsored donations. Lessing founded it in early 2019 after spending 30 years with the team building Firebrand Technologies, a software services company for book publishers.

Lessing lives in Blue Point, New York, with his wife, Grace; they have three Gen Z daughters and two young female Springer spaniels. He refers to himself as being outnumbered and influenced by strong women, which was a major inspiration for founding Phin in the first place.

Founder of Phin, Doug Lessing.

Phin was born from the idea that the value online users provide from engaging with various social platforms and websites could and should be repurposed into something that truly makes a difference for people worldwide. Phin has created a system where people can browse and interact as they normally would online and earn “Phin points” while doing so wherever the Phin logo is found. Users can then donate their points to any of the worthwhile causes and charities that Phin partners with. Once donated, the Phin points are turned into real dollars, and 100% of those dollars are sent to the selected cause — all of this at no cost to the user.

Phin may be a relatively new initiative, but its efforts have already made an impact. Not only does Phin continually make a difference through the foundation of its business model, but it is always looking for new ways to pay it forward. In December of last year, Phin launched its “#GivingTuesday” challenge by recruiting companies to use sponsored donations to thank their customers during the holiday season. Phin more than doubled its goal of $5,000 in sponsored donations and was able to send much-needed funds to selected causes and strengthen the participating companies’ relationships with their customers at the same time.

Phin is also a pending Certified B Corporation, incorporated as a public benefit corporation, and working toward a company commitment to generate $1 million in donations for social impact in 12 months.

In this episode of the Grow Ensemble Podcast, we discuss Lessing’s transition to a social impact company after having grown up at Firebrand Technologies, learn more about the founding of Phin and how it works, his personal approach as an entrepreneur, and the work that is going to really move Phin forward.

Want more episodes on innovative platforms making a global difference? Listen to:

Bonus material: Get the full show notes and extras for this episode.

Looking for a job where you can put your talents to work making the world a better place? Search for a meaningful job on B Work, the largest impact-only job search platform.

In 2019, Phin helped raise over $12,800 for causes like Saha Globale that build clean water systems in Ghana.

Tune in to our chat with Lessing for these key takeaways and more:

  • How to use the power of business to create true social change.
  • Why he took the leap to build a social impact company.
  • How he approaches entrepreneurship and creates a space for creative thinking and deep focus.
  • Why he founded Phin as a public benefit corporation.

B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.


Leveraging Marketing Dollars for Social Good was originally published in B The Change on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Originally posted on B The Change - Medium by Grow Ensemble.


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