Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in a non-profit organization but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adam JacksonBey, executive director of GoFundBean, based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
What's your organization, and who are your customers?
Go Fund Bean is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that exists to support, uplift, and defend the hourly coffee worker. We do that through direct aid, i.e., our Grants program and Disaster Relief program, through supporting hourly coffee worker's mental health, through our Stay Grounded Initiative, our holistic mental health and wellness program, and through professional development, with our Bean Development classes and Bean for Bean, our mentorship program.
Tell us about yourself
I've been in coffee in one way or another, both working behind the bar and managing other folks for over a decade. When the Novel Corona Virus first started causing massive nationwide shutdowns in March of 2020, we saw that many hourly coffee workers, especially those on the front lines that are dependent on tips, were posting group GoFundMe and Venmo/Cash Apps accounts. We decided to make an Instagram so that all of the mutual aid funds could be collected in one place. After a few companies came to us wanting to donate, we incorporated and started the process to become a 501(c)3.
What keeps me going is knowing that we are doing good work and helping out a lot of good folks that need it, alongside the fact that I get to work with some of my best friends and collaborate with some amazing people.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a organization leader?
Our biggest accomplishment is probably growing during a pandemic. Growth as a nonprofit is hard already, and with COVID-19 completely changing the way that most nonprofits were doing fundraising, we were uniquely positioned to fundraise completely online. Although we do not do as much in small-dollar donations as we would like, we have been able to keep up with our targets and goals and more than double our fundraising and the number of people we were able to help in 2021 over 2020
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a organization leader?
Being personally right is less important than what’s right for the business. A lot of times, you will make mistakes, and if you ask for advice, be prepared to take it. You have an idea and a concept and a path for where you want to go and where you want to be in the future, and that’s great, but sometimes other people have an insight you don’t, and that’s why you ask them for advice.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a organization today?
- Have a loose plan or roadmap of where you want to go/where you want to be in the next year and three years and update or refer back to it at least quarterly.
- Find people that you work well with and that you disagree with cordially so that you can adapt your plan
- Be quick but don’t hurry. Everything needs to be responded to/done in a timely manner, but hurrying things makes them be rush, and possibly out of alignment with what you want to do.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Although nonprofit organizations and for-profit organizations differ in a lot of different ways, at their core, they are built upon the same principles of finding your target audience, figuring out what they need, and maximizing your growth in a healthy manner. Founding a nonprofit organization has made me utilize the skills I’ve learned in for-profit management, specifically team building, maximization of resources, and sales, in order to put us in the best position to help the most people possible.
Where can people find you and your group?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.