The idea for the charity I’m starting didn’t come to me in a dream. No, it was a flippant remark. I opened my mouth and said that non-profits should access the best volunteers. Only problem with that remark was that it was being addressed to a very experienced executive. So he asked for an answer. I replied sponsorship. And left it at that.
I initially worked on the idea but it went nowhere. But then it returned, as light as a feather. As a university assignment, I had to write a organisational business plan. Okay, I thought, I had written a business plan for the charity and can easily recycle it. But then I remembered the original conversation and instantly it became clear what I was meant to do.
Simply stated the idea was donors sponsoring charitable volunteers. Charities advertise their volunteers, donors sponsor them and all form a relationship utilising social media!
From there writing the plan was simple. Once it was clear to me, talking about it to people suddenly became easy. Every single person I spoke to was enthused, surprised and supportive of the idea. I began to realise that this was an idea whose time had come.
I had created the business plan but needed advice on its implementation. And it was from here that the coincidences began to accumulate and accelerate. I next asked a work colleague (he had started a charity) and a social media entrepreneur (she had worked for non-profits) what they thought of my idea. Both loved it. But coincidentally, both separately suggested allying with an existing charity if possible.
My research had already lead me to two charities who if combined could make this idea work. Further research lead to a person who had founded one charity and was on the board of the other. This was too much of a coincidence.
All I had to do was make a cold call. Unfortunately I hate cold calling. But I realised I had made cold calls regarding this idea before and had gotten nowhere. So I screwed up my courage and made the call.
The call was returned and I made my pitch. I ended up emailing the business plan to the charity founder and she set up a meeting to talk about my idea.
So I arrange a meeting at a small cafe in Malvern (in Melbourne) to review my plan. I had no idea what to expect. I thought perhaps I would be told great idea but perhaps another time. I was in for a surprise. My adviser (with over ten years’ non-profit experience) had some excellent suggestions.
And the coincidences continue. I have created a corporate identity through a friend I met at Christmas. I am designing a web site through an international company who want to partner with me and my idea.
The next step is to partner with a charity! Watch this space!