'Contributor' launches social media campaign to raise awareness - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

'Contributor' launches social media campaign to raise awareness of vendors

The Contributor's Boss Not Bum campaign is designed to change perception of its vendors. (WSMV) The Contributor's Boss Not Bum campaign is designed to change perception of its vendors. (WSMV)

For the men and women who sell The Contributor, the publication has been a lifeline to help them get back on their feet.

A new campaign launched Monday to highlight the impact the newspaper has had on the streets of Nashville.

From his street-side office in Green Hills, Contributor vendor Clint McDowell has come to know his customers.

“I found out once you build a relationship with your customers, it’s more than selling a paper to them. Once you build a relationship with people, it will take you a long way,” McDowell said.

The Contributor is Nashville’s street paper sold by the homeless or formerly homeless. McDowell is one of their success stories.

“Clint was homeless for a while and came through the doors of The Contributor, trained with us, and he has since become one of our biggest-selling independent contractors,” said Brady Banks, executive director of The Contributor. “His micro-business has flourished here in Green Hills, primarily because he’s gotten to know the community, gotten to know the people who come by him every day and buy his paper. They’re family now.”

Staff at The Contributor are highlighting that kind of success through a new Boss Not Bum campaign.

The campaign is designed to raise public awareness that vendors are their own bosses and micro-business owners, not panhandlers.

“I’m my own self-boss. I make my own hours. It’s just been a blessing to me,” McDowell said.

Vendors invest their own money to sell the papers.

“We’re trying to make sure people understand that a willingness to work on behalf of a homeless person is something that can cause tremendous social change,” Banks said. “Help them get housing, help them pay for food, help them pay for those essential things all of us take for granted.”

“We pay taxes just like everyone else,” McDowell said.

McDowell came to The Contributor without a home. He now has one.

“I got a roof over my head and I’m not on food stamps,” he said. “So this is my job, and The Contributor has been a blessing to me.”

Rain or shine, McDowell is a blessing to others.

“Rain, sleet or snow, it makes no difference,” he said. “We are just like the mailman or the garbage man. We work rain, sleet or snow, or heat.”

Banks wanted to stress to customers to take the paper and not just give money. He said the economic transaction is what brings dignity to the vendors.

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