A Millennial’s Battle With Launching a Tech Not-For-Profit

Corey HarnishBlog

A not-for-profit professional’s top four operational challenges

“Don’t tell us all the ways this might not work. Tell us all the ways it could work.” – John Wood, Founder of Room to Read.

If you asked me two years ago if I’d be the CEO of Better World International, the answer would have been no.

So why am I still here?

Passion.

When you believe in something like I believe in the potential of Better World International, you don’t give up, you keep on fighting through the challenges, setbacks, and failures.

For me, it’s about the number of individual lives we can touch with kindness, the amount of people we can empower to do good, and all those who will be motivated to continue the chain and inspire others to do good too.

It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and there’s a long way to go, but I’m not giving up yet!

 

I believe we can make the world a better place.

And that’s where Better World International comes in.

Better World International is a tech-gaming not-for-profit that combines a vision of a better world with technology-driven solutions for social change.

We are developing a series of real-life games to encourage a global trend of doing good, while encouraging people to take small positive actions and see their impact in real time.

This is our vision.

Through the power of technology, we envision a world where people are empowered to do good deeds and actually have a fun and meaningful experience while doing it.

Through the power of technology, we envision a world where people are empowered to do good deeds and actually have a fun and meaningful experience while doing it.

And we’re putting this passion into action!

Right now, our flagship project, The Good Cards is starting to bring this idea to life.

The Good Cards is a digital platform and mobile app that motivates people to perform real-life acts of kindness and good deeds in an engaging and enjoyable way.

So, what’s the challenge?

We have our product and validated the idea, we have proof that it works, and are getting traction through use cases. But we’re only part of the way up our Everest.

We have experienced many challenges along the way, and here are my top four :

  • Good technology is expensive
  • As a not-for-profit, funding is hard enough as it is, yet when you add technology and apps into the picture the costs skyrocket. For reference, simple apps start around $25,000 and when you add layers, like The Good Cards has, the prices come out to a few hundred thousand.[1]
  • No full time, paid staff
  • One of the most beautiful things about Better World is that all our “staff” are volunteers! Over 100 people from more than 30 countries have worked on this project, which is amazing. Unfortunately, it’s not sustainable. Volunteers don’t have as much time availability, it can be hard to find the right expertise at the right time with a transient workforce, and it’s often a stop-gap for many professionals, so they move on.
  • Promotion, promotion, promotion
  • In today’s world, if you aren’t putting your product in front of people’s eyes many times a day, then you aren’t getting their attention. As an early stage start-up, building brand awareness is difficult when credibility is lacking.
  • Funding dilemma
  • It’s a Catch-22. In order to get necessary funding you need to prove traction, right? Yet, how can you prove traction without the necessary funding to build your product? This has probably been our biggest roadblock, however we’ve still celebrated success. Pilot projects. Paying clients. Individuals users from all around the world.

These challenges aren’t stopping us!

Since funding has been an issue, we’re working within the confines of what we have, and doing our best to make as much social impact as possible.

Since funding has been an issue, we’re working within the confines of what we have, and doing our best to make as much social impact as possible.

Our current team of volunteers is working hard to keep this project alive!

At this stage, our focus is on using The Good Cards for youth engagement; empowering our young people to experience the force of doing good whether in the classroom, a community group, or on their own.

I think we’re onto something.

What are the challenges you have experienced with your not-for-profit, and how have you overcome them?

Resources:

[1]https://savvyapps.com/blog/how-much-does-app-cost-massive-review-pricing-budget-considerations

Corey Harnish

Corey is the CEO of Better Word International, leading the development of The Good Cards which is an innovative online-gaming platform and app that engages people worldwide in doing good deeds for happiness and global sustainability. As an active life coach and aspiring social justice activist, Corey empowers individuals and communities and helps them to flourish through personal development coaching and community service involvement.