Leveraging your impact
Philanthropist, Social Entrepreneur, Founder, Improv Star
Technology is a lever for impact.
The only thing that makes technology succeed and thrive is the community behind it.
Community starts in your own office and on your own team. It has to live there before it can scale.
Lesson: Double Bottom Line with Pamela Hawley
Step #5 Scalability: Leveraging your impact
As far as what comes first, impact or technology, I think you have to really start with technology because technology is your lever. Technology allows you to have impact. Now, that's not to say you're not creating impact and value along the way. You always are. The minute you start as an entrepreneur you are, but in order to really scale, you do need that technology, and it’s exciting. All of us entrepreneurs want to use technology in some ways in order to scale and really make impact.
Now, you can continue to add on more features and technology that help you have greater and greater impact. Then you need to go back and evaluate and figure out how to make better and greater impact each time, but they do work together.
I fell in love with technology because of scalability. For me, I had been traveling all over the world. I had just gotten back from serving the victims of Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia. I had worked on helping indigenous farmers in remote places in India, worked on helping clean up a river in the Amazon in Peru. And for me, it was my life can be out there traveling all over the world, volunteering, trying to help people, running from one country to the next, or I can use my business skills, use the web and help create a marketplace that helps thousands of people donate and volunteer all over the world. That was inspiring to me and the reason why our team is with us today too is because it's beyond yourself.
To me, technology is beyond yourself. You are getting thousands, if not millions involved. So we got honorable mention for a Webby award for UniversalGiving and that was very, very exciting. I think early on what we were trying to do is revolutionize the marketplace by saying, "the marketplace can be used for good", and that's just so important.
So, that is something that is just very exciting for us and the team that you're being honored for being able to use technology for good. And that's the whole point. Yes, we're serving companies on the corporate level, but we're still doing good. Yes, we're serving you by helping you donate, and volunteer and making it a very efficient. An efficient marketplace needs to run like a business but it's also doing good.
UniversalGiving is very, very strong on community and it’s very important to have it because the key is you're running a website and that's technology. The only thing that makes technology really succeed and thrive is because you have people behind it, and that's community. It's not a one-off person on that. It has to be a group of people.
We see that a lot on Facebook, for example. We see that some of the most positive comments are about the community that we have. Even our own team community, or we have a team of worldwide experts, and all of them are chiming in and helping to spread the word, that's a community. Our NGOs and nonprofit partners, that's a community. Our corporate clients, they’re a community on their own. And of course, we're one holistic, all coming together with UniversalGiving, but there's definitely pockets of community as well.
This is where people come together, share their interests, and really make a change, make a difference. And so with community, it needs to start within your own team, and with your own office, even if it's in a corporate setting. You've got to have community there before you scale it out on your website. You can't have a strong website, without having a strong community. Technology and people have to be married together and I think that with community, and what's so special about it, is that people are drawn to each other to make a difference together, not just on their own.