Crowdfunding Lesson From Habitat: Empower Your Volunteers


Now, as an author, a popular guest speaker and Forbes contributor, Devin is devoted full time to championing social good. His current life isn’t much like his past

Dave McMurtry is a player in Silicon Valley. I mean that in the very best sense. He is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has spent much of his career in the tech community, including more than half a decade at tech giant Intuit. He more recently served as the CEO of Loomia, a social media company.

In 2005, Dave wanted to take a break from his career to give back. As a pilot, his first choice was to volunteer some flight time to Doctors without Borders, but when he found out there weren’t any of those volunteer opportunities available at that time he decided his help was needed more elsewhere.

Drawing on this experience, and as a longtime volunteer at Habitat for Humanity Silicon Valley, he tried Habitat for Humanity International , offering to create a crowdfunding initiative for a specific project without any resources from the organization. Jonathan Reckford, the CEO, quickly accepted Dave’s offer to volunteer his time and fully fund the experiment. They agreed to run the project in Colombia, which Dave describes as one of his “favorites,” so Dave flew there to launch the experiment.

The project was to build and fund five homes at a total cost of $25,000. Dave quickly raised $200,000 so the project was dramatically expanded, ultimately putting 250 homeless people, displaced by the terrible violence in the region, back into housing.

The success of the program helped to change the relationship between Habitat for Humanity in Colombia and the government of Colombia, which has since become a major funding mechanism.

After this successful experiment in 2005, Dave went back to the corporate world as the CEO of Loomia.

Upon leaving Loomia, he volunteered for several months with Kiva, working in Liberia in support of their microfinance programs. Making the world a better place is what drives Dave.

In 2009, Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford called Dave to ask him to come to join the cause full time to lead the effort to create an aspirational five-year strategic plan and also to “run with this crowdfunding idea.”

Over the past year, Habitat has raised more than $1 million on the Share.Habitat platform, powered by Fundly, proving the vitality of crowdfunding. Dave believes Habitat will raise a multiple of that number in 2013.

Over the last year that I have been writing for Forbes, I have also been researching my bookCrowdfunding for Social Good, Financing Your Mark on the World. I have been inspired by Habitat’s crowdfunding success.

Given Habitat’s success, I asked Dave to share some of his ideas for best practices.

Read the rest of Devin’s Story Here on Forbes….

[Source: Devin Thorpe, a Forbes Contributor]

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