Becoming a Member

What is Business for Good San Diego?

We are a values-driven membership organization supported by small business owners in San Diego County.  We unite small business owners to drive policy that improves our community.

That might sound like a lot of meaningless buzz words. It kind of is. Here’s how we explain it to people in real life.

A Different (and Better) Kind of Business Owner Membership Group

Most industries have their trade groups – there’s one for restaurants, developers, big business, etc. We’re not like them at all. Here’s why:

Most small businesses will pay to join their industry’s trade group in exchange for access to resources that help them run their business. But those resources are only a portion of what trade groups do with their membership fees.

They pool members’ money to form powerful lobbies that fight for policies that allow their industry to do harm to the environment, their employees and their communities. With millions of dollars from membership fees and the clout of a long list of businesses they claim support their efforts, it often works.

If you share our values, that doesn’t sit well with you.  Our members do what’s best for our employees, our bottom line and our community. We invest in our community.

Virtually every major government lobbying effort is somehow funded by, or connected to, what is purported to be business interests – the often don’t reflect the beliefs of small business owners, like our members.

Business for Good is changing that.

Together, we hold politicians accountable to a new definition of what it means to be “pro-business.” We champion a vision of businesses strengthening our communities and making life better for all, not just moving wealth up the power structure maintained by a small network of mostly white, well-connected men.

Your voice as a business owner has immense power.

However, it takes time, resources and proper strategy to wield.

How do you fight industry-wide organizations with millions of dollars that claim to represent your values? You can’t do it alone. We must unite and organize.

As a Business for Good member, you pool your resources with members to amplify your voice and get results.

What does this look like in practice?

Here’s a long story made short to give you an idea of how we wield our power as business owners for good.

Our members passionate about immigration policy formed an immigration sub-committee. Before diving into the details of policy, we answered a simple question: Why does this issue matter to small businesses? With a cross-section of perspectives on immigration from different industries and our history of San Diego, we were out of room on a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard. Business for Good Member John Bertsch, owner of Meshuggah Shack, took a step back and said, “All we’re really trying to say is that immigrants give more than they take.”

He was right, and our team ran with the idea. First we challenged ourselves to validate that idea, and confirmed that the impact of immigrants on the San Diego economy is tremendous. There are 65,000 immigrant entrepreneurs in San Diego County who generated $25 billion in income/revenues and paid over $9 billion in taxes: that’s a net spending power of over $16 billion. And when immigrants become naturalized citizens, that’s when their economic contributions skyrocket beyond starting up businesses and innovating.

Wall-building policies are, indeed, simply not in San Diego’s best interest. But we still wondered what we could do about this at the local level? More learning followed, and all roads led to policies that facilitate the integration of immigrants into our communities and economies. We learned more about the cities and counties who do that best, and they all had something in common: they have a centralized entity that connects the dots across systems to accelerate that integration.

A few more weeks of learning, phone calls, meetings and networking later, Business for Good Member Juan Pablo Sanchez, owner of Super Cocina, now holds a key role on the Welcoming San Diego steering committee developing a strategic plan on immigrant integration that includes innovative policy recommendations.

Business for Good doesn’t have the millions that corporate industry groups do, but we’re entrepreneurs. We don’t need millions to win. We know how to stretch our resources and make a difference where it counts.

Expectations of Members

Membership in Business for Good is $25/month or $250 if you prepay for the year. Why so low?

Our membership is designed to be accessible because we are committed to practicing our values in everything we do. We do not believe that a pay-for-play approach is the right way to level a playing field: a larger budget doesn’t mean more ability to know what’s good for San Diego. To us, equity also means valuing all opinions and abilities.

How do we keep ourselves sustainable?

Your passion is our main currency.

Working on issue campaigns together requires your time and your brains – putting your passions into action is how we run. We also recognize how much time it takes to run a small business, so we make sure you determine how much or how little time you can invest. Just by becoming a member you add your brand and voice to our power.

Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities also exist to help us build a network and community of like-minded business leaders. You can inquire directly if you’re interested, but don’t worry: we’ll ask you, too.

As well, you gain access to:

  • Quarterly member cocktail parties
  • Annual Members Meeting
  • Resources and capacity-building education designed just for you
  • A members directory (coming soon)

How to Become A Member

  1. Fill out the interest form below
  2. One of our board members will get in touch to learn more about your values, what issues you’re interested in and answer any questions.
  3. We’ll send you an online application to get started.
  4. Then, you’re in and we get to work.