In the past several years, words and phrases like “charity,” “social impact,” and “nonprofits” have been sprouting up and have been thrown around in quite a spectacular fashion. Why? My guess is that we have the financial crisis to thank for that, but that’s another discussion for another time. My journey through social impact, however, began long before that.
Since I was young, I was always drawn to the community, and I use the word “community” in the broadest sense possible. (Yes, I was one of those annoying neighborhood children who loved showing up unannounced with random gifts that could hardly be classified as being gifts.) What drew me most to the community, however, was not necessarily the “having fun with people or friends” aspect – what drew me to the community was the “serving” aspect. I suppose that’s why as soon as I was old enough, I began spending a good deal of my time volunteering in any shape or form. I also suppose that’s why I ended up doing one of the worst things someone with no financial backing or massive network could do – start up a nonprofit.
Don’t get me wrong – I had an amazing time and learned things that I probably would have never learned if I stayed on a normal career path. From the legal side of getting incorporated to building the necessary partnership, I experienced it all. However, there are certain limitations that lied in being able to turn a baby nonprofit into a giant, and as you’d probably guess, they’re financially related. At the same time, I found out that I was going to be a father. While I was excited, I was at a definite crossroads. This was when I came across Wonolo, and I was instantly intrigued by the concept and business model. It wasn’t a nonprofit or an organization that would necessarily be categorized as a social impact organization, but it was certainly shaking things up.
Not long ago, organizations classified as being “for-benefit” began forming. These businesses’ operations and products were based on the idea of experiencing profit while maximizing positive impact on society. While the concept may not have been all that new itself, it reflected a change in the way in which business was being approached. Wonolo, in my personal opinion, falls directly in line with this way of doing business. Regardless of corporate filings, I think we can all agree that what Wonolo does creates a direct, positive impact on the community and offers a real benefit to society. So, upon leaving the nonprofit (which I still oversee as a board member) to work with the Wonolo team, I have gone from the nonprofit sector back into the private sector, but in reality, I did not give up the positive impact aspect of the work that I have always had a passion for. With a team just as passionate to make an impact and the leadership to push all desires to make a difference forward, I’m certain that the Wonolo team and I will push on and work sleepless nights to ensure that wherever our communities may lie, they will always be able to depend on us to Work. Now. Locally.