Change amplifier Ashwath tells The American Bazaar how he leverages social media for greater impact
By Venkatesh Raghavendra and Payton Souders
These creators give organizations the opportunity to reach younger audiences, thus extending their longevity and the sustainability of the non-profit space as a whole.
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Narayanan’s story showcases the importance of young, diverse voices in the social sector. Venkatesh Raghavendra and Payton Souders sat down with Ashwath to discuss his atypical career path, Social Currant, and his future plans as a rising social entrepreneur.
AB: Ashwath, could you please tell us about what led you to become a social entrepreneur?
AN: I grew up in India and moved to the US for college. Once I got here, I got deeply embedded into the startup and nonprofit space just being in Washington, DC.
I went through a startup incubator, worked at a social impact game company called Game Genius and was generally very involved around people building their own businesses. That was the first experience I had with the startup space as well as the social entrepreneurship space and I haven’t looked back since.
AB: Please tell us a little bit about your business, Social Currant. Where is the business today, and where do you hope to be in the next couple of years?
AN: I originally founded Social Currant as a marketing agency focused on giving young people representation and voices in rooms where people were making decisions about how to reach us, without us.
I thought we would start an agency, help social impact organizations figure out emerging media platforms like TikTok and Reels and pay our rent as a result.
Since then, we’ve pivoted into an influencer marketing agency and now a tech platform helping social impact brands, nonprofits and CSR initiatives match with and manage mission aligned creators. We’ve been focused on helping creators get paid and monetize around mission aligned causes.
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AB: Can you give us one example of a campaign Social Currant helped facilitate between a mission-driven organization and a creator(s)?
AN: We’ve facilitated a number of strong collaborations between organizations and creators. One of our favorite ones was for Community Change, one of our first clients in the space.
We matched them with Tega, a content creator on TikTok. Over the months, Tega not only did a number of videos for Community Change, but also came to one of their events in Michigan to create this TikTok with Congressman Jamaal Bowman.
It was a great experience bringing a partnership to life in real life but also seeing its awesome reception on the platform.
AB: One major criticism about the non-profit space is that it is inaccessible to young people, and struggles to keep up with modern trends and innovations. Do you find this to be true? How does Social Currant challenge this narrative?
AN: I think this really depends on the nonprofit. We’ve seen nonprofits of all sizes need different things and have different levels of technological advancement, similar to any business. We’ve been blessed to have clients that are investing in new tactics, innovating and using the latest technology.
One thing we’ve noticed is that often technology isn’t built to cater to nonprofit needs, which can be different than business needs and we’re working to fix that in the influencer space so that more nonprofits can invest in creator programs through us.
AB: Ashwath, thank you again for sharing some of your story with us today. Please let us know where we can stay connected with you and your work.
(Venkatesh Raghavendra is a contributing editor to the American Bazaar and a global social entrepreneur. Payton Souders is a young professional and social impact consultant)
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