Masters of Scale – Reid Hoffman: DonorsChoose’s Charles Best Podcast Summary

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Masters of Scale – Reid Hoffman: DonorsChoose’s Charles Best

Charles Best knows: Sometimes the best way to achieve that monumental success tomorrow is to take a teeny tiny step today. That’s what he did when he founded one of the world’s first crowdfunding platforms, DonorsChoose. 

Don’t give up

  • To achieve any goal, start with determination and be willing to think outside the box to overcome obstacles. Don’t give up, even when faced with setbacks.
  • While having big goals is great, starting with achievable ones helps build momentum towards larger accomplishments. Leverage small successes and climb the mountain one boulder at a time.

Have a fresh, unique approach and stay true to it

  • Stay true to your unique approach and focus on building a sustainable model for success, even when facing criticism.
  • Utilize existing resources creatively to maintain trust while scaling up operations. Look for opportunities to solve challenges without compromising integrity.

It’s the small things that matter

Emphasizing emotional connectivity creates a memorable experience for donors and encourages future funding.

For example: Small steps, such as providing basic supplies like crayons and hygiene items, can make a huge difference in helping students learn from home during the pandemic.

The founding of donors choose: how one teacher’s idea became a nation-wide crowdfunding platform

  • Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose, created the world’s first online crowdfunding platform to help public school teachers get funding and supplies for their classrooms.
  • He got the idea when he was a first-year history teacher in the Bronx, spending his own money on school supplies and photocopying pages of Little House on the Prairie for his students.
  • Best realized that other teachers were also struggling to get extra resources for their students, leading to the creation of DonorsChoose. This crowdfunding concept was not entirely new, as Joseph Pulitzer used his newspaper to crowdfund the installation of the Statue of Liberty in 1885.
  • DonorsChoose has grown to fund thousands of projects in all 50 states, including their recent Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Here’s a riddle for you: What do you get when you cross the Wicked Witch with a bumblebee? Answer: a B-HAG! 

Bad jokes aside, B-HAG also means something else. B-HAG is short for big, hairy, audacious goal. It’s a concept Jim Collins introduced in his book Built to Last. And business leaders talk about B-HAGs constantly. 

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