Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The $100 Million Men

Dave Goldwyn
Dave Goldwyn - $100 Million Man 
We just passed $100 million in online transactions on GlobalGiving, with over 9,400 projects funded in 140 countries.  This is due to the amazing generosity of 370,000 donors and an amazing list of many of the world's most innovative and rapidly growing companies - not to mention what I personally think is the world's best network of strategic partners and funders.

And you want to talk about a truly exceptional team that delivers wow, wow, WOW?  We got that, too (it's our secret sauce, as anyone who has met them knows).

But that's not all.

Tom Bird - $100 Million Man
In the early days, we would go for long stretches with ZERO donations going through the website.  I still remember when we hit our first $100,000, which seemed like a miracle after so much trial and error and so much blood, sweat, and tears.

There were times early on when many people said "This will never work - it's a pipe dream, you should have stayed at your nice secure job at the World Bank."  Since at that time we were the first (and only) global online crowd funding platform,  I admit I wondered if the nay-sayers were right.

Why did we keep going during that tough start-up phase? And how did we go from $100,000 to where we are now? The answer in no small part lay in our first two board chairs, Dave Goldwyn and Tom Bird.  I call them GlobalGiving's $100 Million Dollar Men.

Fran Hauser - the $1 Billion Woman?
In the non-profit field, being on boards is often a thankless task. You don't get paid, the organization you are trying to help is hampered by all sorts of constraints, and you don't even get much recognition.  As a result, it's hard to find board members who are both really good and also willing to commit the time and effort needed during the stressful early years. Dave and Tom broke the mold in terms of competence combined with commitment, and we would not be anywhere near where we are today if we had not been lucky enough to have them at the helm.

Someone said to me yesterday "I can't wait for GlobalGiving to get to the next $100 million!" I replied, "But why would we be satisfied with that?  We won't be happy until we achieve $1 billion." His jaw dropped.  And to be honest, I surprised (even scared) myself.

But then I reflected on our new board chair, Fran Hauser, and her extraordinary fellow board members. So when I ask myself how like it will take before I writing a post titled "The $1 Billion Woman," I know the answer: not long.

Stay tuned.