“Sexually Transmitted Altruism” — Stanford Social Innovation Review’s eye-catching article on DKT International

SSIR wins the award for most eye-catching headline of the week in their piece on DKT International, a sexual health and family planning NGO which sells contraceptive products around the world. DKT uses a carefully balanced revenue model so sales in wealthier countries offset costs in poorer countries. In addition to a creative financial model, they focus on social marketing in widely varying demographics and take advantage of existing distribution mechanisms, selling their products in established retail venues (not out of hospitals or clinics which can be scarce).

Their approach ensures that they remain consumer driven, not donor driven, which keeps them on mission, culturally customized, and closer to the communities they serve.

Social marketing as Phil Harvey helped pioneer it…has proven to be an extremely flexible and cost-effective way to implement services and boost contraceptive use in developing nations. It has given DKT a robust distribution infrastructure, a customer-oriented focus, the power to substantially leverage its donor funding, and the autonomy to pursue innovative and potentially controversial outreach efforts that help improve the lives of underserved constituencies. “It’s certainly true that 20 million customers are not as fickle as three donors,” Harvey says of DKT’s social marketing approach. “The revenue streams are much more predictable, and that makes life a lot better in many ways.”

I wonder how some of their bright ideas could be used to address other global challenges?

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Full text Stanford article:
“Sexually Transmitted Altruism”

DKT International website:

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