It has been almost two years since I approached Brittany asking to be a part of Zealous Good. We had two conversations and it was just as much of me interviewing Brittany as her interviewing me. Although we make fun of it these days, the WordPress website that Brittany built when she started Zealous Good was enough to get me excited and see the potential. I saw what she saw and that there had to be a better and more efficient way to easily donate excess goods to local charities with needs for those goods and this WordPress website was just the first step.
Since then I have learned just how important commitment is when you’re a part of a young startup that is trying to create a new way of doing things. When you see so much potential down the road you need to remain committed to the mission and focus on doing the little things now that will lead to big things later on.
“In a startup, things seem great one moment and hopeless the next. And by next, I mean a couple hours later.”
Paul Graham, Y Combinator
Like any other startup there are ups and downs, and Zealous Good is no different. There have been times where everything was going right and nothing could go wrong. There have also been times where everything that could go wrong did in fact go wrong. Most of the time these issues are related to our website as it is our platform to match donors directly to a charity that needs their excess items.
But we remain committed to finding the easiest and most efficient solution for donors that have items to give and for charities that need those items. Whenever an issue arises we do what we can to make it work and learn from it. We learn what is the most important way to think through these issues and how to create the best Zealous Good experience for both donors and charities.
What I have also learned is just how committed you need to be in order to work at a startup. It is very difficult to have a major impact if you are not fully committed to the mission of the organization that you are a part of. When you first join a startup you quickly find out whether or not you are able to truly see the vision of the organization and if you want to be a part of making that vision a reality.
By managing the day to day operations of Zealous Good I am able to see the donations that are being submitted through our website and can see where any potential issues could come up and try to prevent them from happening. Also because donors and charities will often use Zealous Good outside of normal business hours we need to be available at anytime to help out. But it’s great when we are able to help match a donation to a great charity that could really benefit from it. It lets us know that we really are making a difference.
Zealous Good has helped match 1000s of donations to many great charities. We are constantly reminded from our donors and charities of how thankful they are for what we do and how we have been able to help them. By staying committed to its mission and focusing on the little things, Zealous Good will continue to make progress in creating a better way for donors to easily connect with charities in need of their excess items.
Jesse Mavi is Director of Operations and Outreach at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Jesse on Google+ or Zealous Good on Facebook and on Twitter at @ZealousGood.