Earlier in June, I joined the team of a young, innovative startup that is championing donor transparency and long-term impact by transforming slums into sustainable communities. Reviewing their organizational structure, venture-backed funding, and Y Combinator participation, you might assume they’re a typical tech startup, when in fact, they’re a 501c3 nonprofit.
While I was certainly flattered to be approached about the opportunity, there were three factors that led me to consider, and later accept, their offer:
The plan is disruptive.
They are also blazing ahead of traditional nonprofits with a 100% donation model and the video proof that connects donors to the actual family they helped support. For anyone who has given money to an organization and questioned the impact it would have, this level of transparency leaves no doubt.
Challenging long-held beliefs and conventional methods, New Story is rewriting the rules on transparency for nonprofit giving. In turn, they are setting the bar for other nonprofits to emulate, lest they risk losing the support of donors.
With the lack of intentionality and accountability in so many nonprofits, disruption in this space is something I can get behind.
The grit is real.
As is the case with many early stage startups, the founding team had few resources and limited technical expertise. With a tremendous amount of manual ingenuity, they were able to piecemeal a working prototype. Within a few week, they reached their initial goal, funding 1 home for a single family. Even more impressive, they did it while ensuring 100% of funds donated actual went to building the home. They continued the process for more and more homes until ultimately getting a seat at the table with the world’s most powerful startup incubator, Y Combinator.
100% of funds donated actual went to building
You can teach a person many things, but passion and hustle are not among that list.
The team is crazy.
Very early in my discussion with New Story, a goal of funding 1,000 communities was mentioned. That’s nearly 100,000 homes, in the next ten years. While their current progress is no small feat, 100,000 homes is a far stretch from the 400-500 they have currently funded.
After scraping my jaw off the floor, I proceeded to ask more questions and listen while they explained their path to success.
With much reflection, the goal still remains rather audacious. However, observing their thoughtful demeanor, goal-oriented thinking, passion for the task, and the hunger that donors have for someone to trust, I’m convinced New Story is up to the task.
Are they crazy?
Absolutely! But the world is rarely changed by anything less.
What does that mean for Polar Notion?
It means we’re getting sharper than ever. Over the last few years we’ve built a solid team and we are more focused than ever on becoming a remarkable development and design company. As we improve, my day to day is spent on one idea: provide more value to the startups, entrepreneurs, and businesses we serve to help them thrive.
Fortunately, we’re now able to serve our clients with the relevant, realtime expertise and insight from hands on experience with a fast growing startup. I see my work with New Story as a natural extension of what we’re trying to accomplish as a company and what my own personal goals.
If you’re interested, I’d love to share more about this transition. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.