As many of you know, DonorSee has been on a significant growth trajectory since the middle of last year. That growth has continued – and has even been amplified – by the recent Coronavirus pandemic. In order to manage the influx of new donors and new partners, we have recently made three major changes that will allow us to grow sustainably.
1) We hired our first Partner Coordinator
A “Partner Coordinator” is someone who works alongside our Partners to help them post excellent projects and provide world-class donor engagement. When I began searching for our first Partner Coordinator, I told people: “the ideal candidate would be someone who has Silicon Valley startup experience AND experience working with the poor in the developing world. Now, obviously that person doesn’t exist so I’m just going to try and find as close to that as possible.”
Turns out I was wrong. That person does exist and her name is Teressa Walsh.
Teressa helped grow a startup in San Francisco called Pillow.com. She joined when they were at 5 employees and worked with them until they sold to Expedia with a workforce of 45 employees.
After that, she moved to Tanzania and started working with small, on-the-ground NGOs that were serving the poor. One of those NGOs was a DonorSee Partner, which is how she first heard about us (over a year ago)!
Teressa remains deeply involved in her local community in Tanzania, while she works remotely as DonorSee’s first Partner Coordinator. This means she helps our Partners post amazing projects, build relationships with their donors and generally makes the world a better place. We’re excited to have her on board!
2) We hired a Head of Partnerships
Do you see that really handsome fella at the top of this page? The guy next to him is our new Head of Partnerships!
Kidding aside, I’m thrilled to finally be working alongside Chadwyck Cobb. We went to college at the same time and often competed against each other in entrepreneurial-based competitions (yep, we were nerds even then).
Chadwyck has spent his career in a field known as “Customer Success.” He has helped teams build exceptional customer service experiences in multiple different fields. He has also been a DonorSee donor since it was launched and even donated his birthday to a mosquito net campaign I held in 2015.
He’s a good friend, an exceptionally hard worker, and he’s bursting at the seams with passion and energy. DonorSee is excited to have Chadwyck working full time as our Head of Partnerships. He will be overseeing the team that runs our Partner Success department. His fingerprints will be on every single project, profile, and feed that you see on donorsee.com.
He’s also so personable that my mom recently joked that she wanted to adopt him. So, if any of you have the pleasure of talking to Chadwyck Cobb, tell him “hi” and feel free to send him people who might be interested in joining DonorSee as a Partner.
Having your contacts fill out the brief form on this page is the best way to introduce us to potential Partners: raisecovidfunds.com
3) At the encouragement of my Board of Advisors, I am now taking a small, partial-salary
This is a long story, but I hope you will stick around for it.
As many of you know, I’ve never taken a salary for running DonorSee before. It’s been four years since I first started working on it and I’ve believed in the mission so much that I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure it succeeded.
As of April 1st, my wife and I had a plan we were excited about. I was going to spend the month of April fundraising for my personal support. I had a script that I would use to call up people in my network and explain my need for support. The amount I raised would determine where we would live in the next year. We were even contemplating a move down to Florida where cost-of-living would be significantly cheaper. Our lease was up in May and we have a child on the way in August, so a lot was riding on this plan. (If you are reading this in the future, we were also in the middle of a nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19).
On April 4th, I met with my Board of Advisors over Zoom. I explained to them my plan to spend April fundraising and expected them to congratulate me on coming up with such a good plan during such a chaotic time. But that’s not what happened.
One board member spoke up first. He said, “Gret, we have this conversation every single month. You spend 25% of your time thinking about where your personal support is going to come from. You could be spending that time giving your full attention to the needs of DonorSee.”
I replied that I thought that was all fine and good, but I’ve told people I don’t take a salary for running DonorSee and they seem to admire it.
A second board member chimed in, “Not taking a salary is also seen as a negative by some people. When they hear that you don’t take a salary, their brain automatically goes to, ‘Oh, so this organization can’t even afford to pay their CEO. So why should I trust them?'”
I knew what they were referring to. What was seen as a noble gesture by some was also a signal of illegitimacy to others.
Soon, the entire call turned into a 5v1 ambush. I tried to explain why not taking a salary was a good idea, but one-by-one they took down all my points. They told me that they wanted me to give my full attention to running DonorSee and growing the DonorSee community. They were also horrified that I was even considering moving away and turning DonorSee into a fully remote workforce.
Over the next several days, I thought hard about what they were saying. I spoke with several mentors and prayed about what I should do during an already uncertain season.
In my mind, I had two different paths forward: the safe path and the risky path. The safe path was stick to the April plan, and probably move down to Florida with a lower cost-of-living, but DonorSee growth would also be slower. The risky path was to follow the direction of my board: stay in Northern Virginia where we have access to top talent and a strong network, but also a higher cost of living. Two paths: safe or risky.
Put another way: the safe option meant fewer poor people would be served, and the risker option meant more poor people had the potential to be served. I didn’t want to admit it, but the right option was fairly obvious. I had to choose the riskier path.
I’m staying in Northern Virginia, will be begrudgingly taking a small, partial-salary at the insistence of my Board of Advisors, and will be working overtime to take DonorSee to the next level. And I’m outrageously excited for this next season.
How can you help?
Thanks for reading this far! Despite all the changes in our operational status, I still need your support. In fact, I need your support now more than ever.
I’m still responsible for raising a significant portion of my salary and I have a long way to go before our little girl arrives in August. Thankfully, I have been able to partner with another organization to provide 501c3 covering so that you can make a tax-deductible gift to my support.
Here are your options to support me directly:
Donate to my Patreon page
This is the best option if you are not concerned with tax-deduction.
Visit this link: patreon.com/gretglyer
Make a tax-deductible donation through Cherish The Dove
This is the best option to get a tax-deduction on your donation. You can signup for recurring monthly gifts or make a one-time gift. They cover associated fees.
Visit this link: cherishthedove.org/projects-1
A lot of you reading this have been part of the DonorSee journey for a long time. As you can tell, we are really starting to make some serious progress. Thank you to everyone who has made this exciting season a possibility. You will see even bigger things coming soon. Stay tuned, friends!