The logo for our Financial Coaching + Schools Program
When I first launched Capital Good Fund back in 2009 I was, If I may use the phrase, “Chief Cook & Bottle Washer.” Put another way, I did almost everything, from working with clients to managing volunteers to raising money. For the next three years, even as we added on new staff and more volunteers, that paradigm didn’t change too much: I was still serving clients as late as a few months ago (processing loan applications, for instance). However, now that our expenses are quickly rising, in large part due to the randomized control trial we are running, I am forced to sever myself from client-oriented tasks and turn increasingly to fundraising.
Until now, I’ve always managed to cobble together the requisite funds from grants and a few large donations, but there are limitations to that model: large donors take time to cultivate, and foundations give on a schedule that doesn’t always align with when you need the funds. In short, cash flow is becoming an issue. So to address that, I have crafted a plan wherein I will raise $20,000 per month from individual donors. To do that, I am spending much of my time reaching out to, meeting with and pitching potential donors–those that can give anywhere from $25 to $10,000. I can assure you that this is not what I would prefer to do: program management and development, public speaking and client services are more exciting and inspiring. But without money we cannot change lives, and I will do anything to help CGF grow. Not only that, but our business model is such that, as we scale and improve our operational efficiency, we will decrease our reliance on donor money and increase the amount of revenue we generate from our products and services (lending, Financial Coaching, etc.). This is critical because it means that we are not forever doomed to spending so much of our time asking for charitable contribution, a fact of which I try to remind myself when I tire of the task!
As I think about it, what’s perhaps most amazing is the fact that I no longer need to be involved with operations on a day-to-day basis. I have an amazing staff that can do that. We are big and professional enough that programs run themselves; curricula are developed; loan applications processed and loans disbursed; community partnerships forged; social impact tracked; and all this is run by my fantastic employees. Still, I can’t help but feel a whiff of nostalgia for the days when I could sit in front of a client and work with them on their budget. Alas, even If I could, I simply don’t have the mental energy to do that. So onward I forge, working daily to raise the funds we need to battle for justice. It’ll be interesting to see how my role continues to evolve as we grow to other states!
Oh, and if you want to donate to CGF, you can do so here.