Social media continues to make headlines for divisive, hateful communication, but what if social media could provide a platform for doing good – good things from good people communicating good ideas?
Sahoja – a new social media community dedicated to connecting good people to share good ideas, buy from companies dedicated to doing good and helping good causes. And providing complete privacy and transparency in all interactions.
“Very simply, Sahoja helps members spread kindness to people and the planet through the causes they support, the purchases they make, and the community they create with us,” explained Rajesh Rai, co-founder. “This is a multi-faceted experience revolving around our central theme of being a positive influence on others.
“Sahoja is an all-encompassing community offering its members a chance to share stories, ideas, values and hope in an effort to make this a better world; to buy from deserving, like-minded merchants, and to help those in need.”
Members can exchange ideas, thoughts, musings as is done on other social media platforms, but with specific ground rules.
“No politics, no religion, no divisive discussions,” said Rai. “We will monitor communications to ensure these standards are adhered to. Sahoja will not be a place for hate to fester and spread.”
Sahoja is at its core a social media platform but goes beyond simply providing a forum for conversation. It offers ethical products, healthy advice and the ability to directly benefit worthy causes.
“The meaning of Sahoja is ‘stronger together,’” explained Rai. “All the aspects of our platform, or more precisely, platforms, combine to improve the world around us in many ways.”
Sahoja’s Mindful Marketplace provides ethical products from ethical merchants
In addition to the ability to communicate amongst themselves, Sahoja members will have access to a unique, curated Mindful Marketplace. This online bazaar consists of products and partners which share Sahoja’s members’ values.
“Sahoja’s merchants are carefully curated based on universal values of sharing and giving, so you know you’re buying goods and services from companies you can trust,” explained Rai. “We take our responsibilities seriously; we will maintain our pledge to keep Sahoja providing these positive values.”
Every purchase makes an impact by supporting responsible and ethical companies like Moka Origins chocolates, 337 Brand, Gina Cucina foods, Panda eyewear and Luke’s Toy Factory STEM educational toys. Product categories include apparel, beauty & personal care, fitness, food & nutrition and accessories.
Coming soon to the Marketplace will be digital services including online educational programs (like yoga classes) and downloadable materials (like books). Again, the overriding themes – healthy, ethical, wellness – will prevail in the selection of these services.
Reward points separate Sahoja from the social-media pack and every time a member makes a Mindful Marketplace purchase, they will earn reward points, another unique Sahoja feature.
“Sahoja has its own currency, its reward points,” explained Rai. “These points are earned when members positively interact and engage with the platform and can in turn be used to make a positive impact on the nonprofit projects featured on Sahoja.”
Members earn points by posting helpful content on the social media platform, buying products from the Sahoja Mindful Marketplace and supporting Impact Partner projects (the Sahoja curated charitable organizations). In addition, all new members (currently) receive 10,000 points upon signing up for Sahoja.
Points can be redeemed for donations to the Impact Partners and in the future will also be redeemable for purchases in the Mindful Marketplace. In addition, in the future, these will be redeemable for cash.
Impact Partners deserving help
Impact Partners are nonprofit organizations focused on relevant issues that abide by the highest standards of transparency, generosity, diversity and impact they create. These nonprofit partners are invited to feature their projects on the Sahoja platform for the Sahoja community to support.
Today Impact Partners include Rainforest Foundation U.S., One Tree Planted, Friends of Refugees, Atlanta Mission, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Feeding America, Red Nose Day, Save with Stories, Water M Mission, The Student Relief Fund and Himalayan Institute Humanitarian Mission.
“These are among our initial Impact Partners; there will be more as we progress,” said Rai. “We are out to help as many deserving people, deserving causes as is possible.”
Sahoja’s corporate structure is unique among the social-media collective
Overall, Sahoja is an e-commerce platform supporting NGOs and non-profits with room on the platform to interact and communicate with its members. It is a for-profit Delaware corporation co-founded by Rajesh Rai and two others. But they will not be the sole owners of Sahoja.
“Sahoja members will have the ability to become Sahoja owners,” explained Rai. “That’s right, we have designed the corporate structure to allow members to purchase shares in the company. We believe this should be an inclusive community.
“One of our goals is to address financial inequality rampant throughout the world so we model the corporate structure of Sahoja upon the five principles outlined by the Business Roundtable: delivering value for our customers/members; investing in our employees; treating our suppliers ethically; supporting our community, and providing long-term shareholder value. And since our members will be our shareholders, maximizing shareholder value when everyone is a shareholder, is a great value proposition.
“And it all comes back to our sense of community, working together to do good things. Please remember the meaning of Sahoja – stronger together.”