Being in start-up mode can feel overwhelming. Most startups have lots of ideas but little cash, which means that hiring staff to do everything that needs to be done often feels impossible. No wonder founders express frustration and burnout!
One thing we know about frustration and burnout, however, is that the answer is almost always hiding in plain sight – the assets and resources a group sometimes forgets they have.
By assets, we don’t mean cash assets, but the assets that are better than cash – the gifts and talents of people who care about the cause.
Our friend, the brilliant strategist Zach Braiker, recently reminded us of that fact. At Zach’s encouragement, we listed all the many tasks at Creating the Future that could be done by volunteers and interns. Some of those are tasks we wish we had time to do. Others are tasks we are already doing, which, if someone else did them, would free us up to focus on seeking scale-up funding.
We then broke all those projects down into tasks that could take 10 hours a week or less. And bingo! We had the makings of a huge volunteer / intern effort to move Creating the Future’s mission forward quickly, dramatically, exponentially. (If you are feeling overwhelmed, we highly recommend this exercise!!)
Which leaves one big task…
The next big step in this effort is to find someone to develop all this raw material into a real program – a volunteer / internship program for Creating the Future, to eventually be managed by a volunteer / intern.
Once the program is developed, we will then need a volunteer / intern to run it. Those two jobs – development and implementation – may end up being done by the same person, or we may find two individuals, each of whom excels at only one of these positions:
Job A) Volunteer / intern to develop the systems that will invite, screen, train and then coordinate the workflow of all those volunteers and interns.
Job B) Volunteer / intern who wants to handle the day-to-day of that job once it is created.
Job A is a short-term project, while Job B is more long-term, perhaps to be handled by a Vista or other long term volunteer / intern.
And so here are our questions:
1) Have you seen this sort of effort happen elsewhere? What has been your experience with it? What did you learn from what you’ve seen? What worked / what didn’t work? From your experience, does our assessment of the tasks at hand seem accurate?
2) What is exciting / intriguing about what we are suggesting? What do you think it makes possible – for Creating the Future’s mission, for the individual volunteers? To make those possibilities real, what would we need to have in place?
3) As we seek to define Job A – the person to develop the program – what qualifications should we be looking for? What questions should we be asking? What issues occur to you, that we may want to pay attention to?
4) What questions should we be asking overall about this effort, that you may not see asked here?
We are excited to get this program completely designed by September, so we can begin to seek all those volunteers and interns. So please let us know what occurs to you as you read this!
And if you are interested in either Job A or Job B, please send us a note by clicking the Contact button at the top of the page!!!
Photo: Mural at Big Brothers Big Sisters building, downtown Tucson 2012