Madison Mikhail Shares How Point Is Your First Step For Doing Good
Welcome to people helping people the podcast to inspire greater social change in the business world and give you ideas on how to take action. I'm your host out of Morris. I'm super excited to be here today. With Madison Michaela Bush founder of point. This is a single APP where you can volunteer for any cause. What's really exciting is that I went through to change the social entrepreneurship accelerator with Madison. A couple of years ago and she hasn't made phenomenal progress. In growing and expanding point this means connecting with tons of nonprofits creating a lot of opportunities for people that get out there and volunteer. What's more interesting? Is that even in these times? Cove in nineteen. They pivoted and found ways to help people get involved and make a difference. What she's doing is just fantastic. And I'm excited to share her story so without further ADO Madison. Welcome on the PODCAST. Inspiring me cool and can we dive in. Can you tell us a little bit about what point is for those who don't already know absolutely so point as a platform that supposed to be your starting points? Do something good whether that's volunteering. Our APP functions a little bit like Class Fast Rollin tearing or if you WANNA find Local nonprofit to donate. You can do that right on point before we get too far in. How do people? How do people joining? Well thank you. I love when someone asks that I get go. Go to your APP store whether that's apple or android just type in point. You should be able to find aching. Go the point APP DOT Org. I'd love to know just a little bit about how you started and a little bit behind the work that you're doing with nonprofits very long story. I feel like how we got started story is story that is a high and low over multiple multiple years. So if I give you the quick version of a I had started a website that allowed people to give. When I was in college I was about eighteen years old. I walked into a lawyer's office and I said I need started on profit and I then started a website that was giving platform. But it really didn't never really took off. And when I left holiday realized that the web had kinda died An APS became always really frustrated. That people never had a theory very easy way to help in what I mean by that. Is that there is just nothing in our pockets that we could pull out and say you know I care about the saying you know. How do I dive right in in in that was such a big frustration to me that it really set out wanting to solve it so? I did an illegal campaign after shutdown that website and raised twenty thousand dollars for an APP. I hired develop firm out in San Francisco and they basically took most of our money in never gave us a product. Yeah it was It was devastating. I didn't know I was doing. I was A biology kid In my family. If you're not a doctor your candidate a disappointment sow I was still trying to go the doctor route and then instead I was like you know what mom and dad forget that biology degree. I'M GONNA move into your basement and I'm GonNa Start attack so I hired for didn't go well and I realized how horrible it was going when I was in San Francisco and I had tweeted. Where can I get five thousand dollars and a friend? Connect me to the senior engineering manager at twitter on twitter. Believe it or not I know. It's it's a complete fluke so I met him. He had kindly told me. I shot my company in the ground. Good luck and that was a wakeup call. I needed so I got off the plane From San Francisco Joel. That night it was the day before the giving out eleven o'clock pm. And I had realized that a friend had offered to build an APP at a Frat party years earlier and I was like you know what was going to call him mind you. It's eleven pm so I call love. It was like hey happy. Thanksgiving remember when he said two years ago. I know I am talk to you in two years but any chance the offer to build the episode in he said. You know what it is and I'm like great that's amazing And he's like all starts weekend and I was like you know where you working. I work at Google so a developer from Google jumped Bp in about two weeks and the guy from twitter was so impressed that he jumped ended also finished MVP. So I have a lot to thank rocky. My friend who google in Tim from twitter really got us on this path to get it started That was not you know happily ever after after that so we built that first product. They jumped off after we got the. Mvp enemy started Beta testing. We brought in volunteer developers from Ohio. Which is where we live and we scraped our way to a product. And I tried walking into all these people's offices trying to fundraise. I went to every single rotary club. The draw high thirty. Fm begging for money never got anything. I mean people would ask me the leave meetings early like. Why do you need this? This is unnecessary. Kick me out fifteen minutes into a meeting. I mean it's always a struggle. The club astound nation in Columbus. Believed US really took a chance on us. I gave a grant in our in our friends and family Money and we were able to build out more of the product and in what I mean by that is that we started wanting to be a really quick tool to give people a way to do that too especially volunteer because we think it's literally crazy you have to chase down a nonprofit in playfield tax You know coordinate on a really bad not mobile friendly website if you just want to help and the mission became a lot bigger than what we set out to you. We realized that eighty five percent of women are leading local nonprofits especially in non major city placed us in. I realized that those women are ignored by the tech community not only because of their gender because of you know they work in nonprofits so there's just no tools no great tools that they can use That are all at our free And instead they're paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for really average software one. That don't have the right tools and nobody's really bang any attention to develop for them exactly citizens just big black hole when it comes to local nonprofits. I'm not talking about. Save the children or anything like that. I'm talking about the nonprofits that meet the necessary needs in our communities. I'm been so fired up about that. They just haven't stopped so it wasn't just a cakewalk to build a nap and launch it and be super successful some kid from Ohio. I took a bit of bigger out what I was doing. And it took a lot of youtube being bugling and falling on my face and losing a lot of money and so. Where are you today questions? So let's talk about pre covert January. We we're planning to set out on our big CAMPION's launch point not cities and we have about ten thousand users in Central Ohio. Two hundred nonprofits on the platform and we were ready to take point savage cities and the morning that the stock market fell was the morning. I my entire teams of light to Austin Texas in the fifty nine process signed up for our what we call an early access event and we had to cancel it. We HAD TO CANCEL OUR CLEVELAND All of our fans in Indianapolis and in DC. And you know what it is. It's back to the figure out Haba Rethinking and I'm sure that everyone listening to this is awesome not stage in your personal life or with Your Business and I think we're all we're all there definitely a huge ship for everybody. How's IT impacted volunteering Immensely so it was February. We saw that charities need about three hundred volunteers in February February is pretty low volunteer month and we were noticing that no one was signing up and this is really before you know hove it had hit the US at all really and we had four clients in my clients. We are a little bit like Tom. She's protect the feller platform to pop corporations and on the same platform to nonprofits for free. So we don't profits We do charge. Corporations add to give them a corporate associate responsibility tool for their employees. So we had all of these Companies lined up huge deals and everyone backed out and said you know we're having a lot of financial instability because a cloven in other countries and I'm thinking this is scary. Were seeing local impacts or something. That's not even in the US You know a few months and right now. It's been a very very eye opening time for our country across the nation needs especially Food Insecurity are skyrocketing and volunteers have just wanted the dig. Recent for that. Is that it most food. Volunteers are older individuals in. We've seen that for a long time at we realized that the two biggest pitfalls I would say not pitfalls Jamaica's categories where. We don't see young people volunteering. Where food bags and clothing drives and which is really interesting like environmental needs. We see so. Many people volunteer does things but we cannot still up a food banks need normally and we were thinking this is really concerning and then a disaster like this heads and amplifies that issue ten bull so he had a lot of advocating defined emergency volunteers for local food. Banks could pantries are still doing that. I noticed your Abbas kind of adopted during this time so when you log in chose you a different way that you can actually connect with your community. Yeah scrambles scramble was is that we need to make sure that we are teaching people how to best. You'd better sign so you know when you log in. It's like this kind of emergency banner. That's like here's a free ways. You can help right now whether that's ginny local food bank we have a campaign where you can actually fund. Fda approved mass for health workers And those are two big things at our community needs right now. You are self isolating and you shouldn't be leaving your home. We're employing people that's what you do Or if you qualify for an emergency volunteer position meaning we just ask you questions about your health and we ask you questions about who you live with To make sure that you're not at risk for spreading this or carrying a co Ed To other people if you were you know something God forbid happens. If you're volunteering in this situation us we have a little quiz to see. If you qualify. If you do qualify. There are opportunities out there which really need people to help deal with this crisis. Yeah absolutely especially distribution. Getting FOOD IS NOT THE PROBLEM. There is enough food at foodbanks. Giving it out to people. That's actually the issue. It's enough hands package. It Senate outs cars They're doing no contact distribution but at the same time I mean in Ohio. Ohio had bring in the National Guard because there were enough volunteers in the state to help our foodbanks. That's that's absolutely insane. That we as state or as a community couldn't step up but also thank. God in in my mind you know. Thankfully we have a government that saw that issue and responded to it very quickly on point we were working with the middle food collective. There were three shifts a day for us to get volunteers in to just help them package up that way before the National Guard was issued in. And they're still need in local food pantries so how distribution works is that. There's a bank and I need bake source of the food options food pantry that are in the local boroughs of neighborhoods in those food. Pantries still need hands so if you're able to volunteer then that's a good place to jump in right now and it's not just the need in. Columbus this is everywhere this is everywhere in the US. The New York Times reported on this school and so people can log onto the APP. See if they qualify. Now you know my my own experience with the point up like I see it from the standpoint of user. I'm going to go on on tier. Here's opportunities that I can go and join in. But on the flip side of that a lot of pine is actually about the technology that you're giving these nonprofits at you. Can you talk about what that looks like a little bit? And what their needs are and why this is so powerful for them. Yeah we wanted to make are really user. Friendly backed system. It's a little bit like that right. Needs Salesperson. How baby for a nonprofit. That's that's what our backend system is like. It's very user friendly. It's Outta watch ready. Needs System that they can say. Hey I I can create an event. Mike might volunteers ready to go. You know we wanna make it very simple for them. Tracker impact to attract new build all of those automatic very user friendly items into the platform. We make sure the tested on. Nimit make sure the tested this with older women especially And we also work on a lot of our communication within the platform itself. That were always teaching people how to use the software because sometimes in our community our our leaders can meet older in these sectors. And we WANNA make sure that we're educating them really. Well what did it look like before for you know in a nonprofit when they're managing volunteers? The hotness it's crazy I mean some nonprofits have great systems because he can afford them and I'm not saying that there's not great systems out there. I'm Jay Signal Pricey and I really don't think they should be and and for me. I just feel like that's taking advantage of donor dollars when we could be solving that issue in more innovative ways like our I model and I really do. Think it's the right way to go So again it's really scrappy. Sometimes they're paying. You know ten thousand fourteen thousand dollars a year or a software project gases not crazy when you think of enterprise level software but it's still a lot at war they're scraping together some excel or Google docs or sometimes pen and paper to get the job done in. That's not efficient either. Really wasting their time and resources to manage the volunteers to get more work done so if they can spend their dollars more wisely than they can really increase their own impact. Absolutely I mean. We have to get our leaders out behind a computer. In instant emission rate. We need to free up their hands on that. Data injury side crane. What did they think of the the point software when they get it? You know. It's all over. Some people are like I can't believe this success which is great. You know some people expect it to be a lot more difficult than it is or some people don't know how the Internet works and they think it's the hardest thing on earth so I mean we're explaining how the internetwork sometimes and that you can actually access everywhere because it's already computer website. People come from very very very different backgrounds so back to covert nineteen What are some of the other things that you've been doing during this time? So I think it's an all hands on deck situation and it's a really make it breaking hyper nonprofits. I know that in Columbus United Way. I reported that sixty six percent of nonprofits as surveyed Didn't get to have their major. Fundraisers were cancelled their major fund raisers in twenty five percent at that time insureds more now had offer lewd or laid off employees. Nisus terrible time in when you look at the community's impact stance Maya mean by that is that if we have nonprofits that have increased need for demand and they're laying off employees and don't have enough money to run their operations because they foster unreasoning events. How are we going to respond as a community? So point has been working day in and day out to release new features. That might be helpful. We called every single. One of our nonprofits says day you know. How can we help you? What are what are ways that we can help we've also Jumped in what started as a virtual hack von turning into a larger campaign on can't stop Columbus which is really a volunteer initiative decree resources for the community as respond to Cova nineteen inches release. Either tools are jumping helped profits with whatever they need and you jumped out with. Can't stop Columbus right at the beginning. Right yeah yeah. They called me. I think right before that first meeting took place and said Hey from a non-profit side you know. How can we work together? And it was a team of about eight people that really put together a movement really for business people community members in especially from the tech community to create resource says during Kobe. And I'm so thankful to be a part of it you know. I am not the major driver of that Jordan. See I mean Jordan. Divas tweeted an idea for it really sparked thing just to give some context to this. This bike it was like a Sunday night that the tweet went out. I found out about it on Tuesday or Wednesday and there are already like three hundred people already engaged in trying to pull this movement together. It was insane. I mean it went from a tweet. Two thousand people in like a week. Which is you can see. How many wants to help this time? I'm glad we have a way that we can do skill space volunteering rapidly right now. Because that's what we need right So I am not. The big driver knocked the big organizer. Ice Pool in together in helping approximates as much as I can. But Ned that leadership in in the organizing keep might have. They're just incredible. People in fake referred people like Jackson Heart off Route Insurance Jordan Davis that I really leading the charge. And we're going to be speaking with the ten zone next week all about can't stop Columbus so I'm just I've seen you on there so involved and so you know working with so many things on there so it's cool that they've come up with like they have all these different projects from helping Columbus Dot Gov get the resources in place to Support Columbus eat so people can figure out what restaurants are actually open the Columbus Helper Movement. Up there to to give you kind of good resources their particular projects that you've been involved in victim six projects active right now. I'm not talking about this morning and I'm so glad you're interviewing Vincenza. Because he is a horse and I mean in response to Kovic. He's had a sport. Columbus eats Enrik twenty four hours. I mean it was just an amazing hustle response to. I need that just to be fill. Point is involved with a couple of different projects But they're not launched yet so Circle back with you okay. Great well keep an eye out for those one point. Though that I'd liked to touch on is can't stop. Columbus has been a great movement for people who have been stuck at home and they want to do something but you know they eat. They don't know what to do. And here's a way of people coming together to collaborate on community events. Actually make a difference in this time man I think. That's really empowering. Yeah absolutely it's important so but I think quite often people are busy with lives. And they don't understand how empowering that is when you go out and you volunteer. I think that's of the reasons why point itself is so powerful as a platform. If I can be honest the word volunteering sucks. Clinton me this great. I mean when I hear the word volunteering. I don't think wow that sounds fun in. I lead a volunteer company right and I think some progress to be made their rebranding to be made about the idea of volunteering and at the end of it. You're always so thankful that you did it because from a very selfish point of view it's very meaningful and I think that we all want that in our lives. We want to walk away with that moment of I mattered and I contributed an important but so often it's just hard for us to take that first step and from again the community standpoint especially now your actions matter your time matters how you spend your time matters and if if you don't have the capacity to do anything in you are taking care of your you know your family. That's also very critical. We wouldn't need acts like mine if everybody were was able to take care of each other right. So if you're at home in your taking care of your people in your loving people that is amazing. Keep doing but still. We need resources in our community chilling. He'll the people who need it. Most people need the help most. And that's what he points here for and on this mission we've set out to. Maybe when you hear that word volunteering. You'RE NOT GONNA go. How man do I have to do that or making. That idea volunteering seem a little better that makes so much sense and I think one of the big things that holds people back as the complexity of it so having an easy way where you can go on. And say hey. I'm a free at this time. And here's something that looks interesting and one. Here's things that I'm interested in being able to find the right opportunities. Yea totally volunteering. Loki painful and we really gotta take that out of it if we're going to change the mindset of volunteer hit. The thing that I found is that it builds these connections that really span socioeconomic classes and brings people together from very different backgrounds. And there's something very powerful as we start sharing our our story across these cultural boundaries or socio economic boundaries Because at one that that gives you more creativity in your life I can see more inspiration and it gives you more ideas of why why you're doing what you're doing. I also WanNa make employees that we have this idea that only the rich can volunteer. And sometimes that's the case because the rich have the time however what our mission as well as the point is that because it's an APP that anyone can download. We truly believe that everyone has something to get in. That means that every single person has that value to give. Whether that you have no money to give you. Can you can give an hour. Whatever that is you have something to give you. WanNa make sure that. Were sharing that message loud and clear that doesn't matter your status. It doesn't matter your race that you're welcome in. We're encouraging US volunteer win. Some communities have never been asked and we wanna fix that is so great on the flip side of that for these nonprofits for them to be able to communicate what they're doing more effectively. A lot of that has to go back to you know being roll up that data. One thing you've done really well is time that in with a metric system like the UN sustainable development goals. I just love to hear your take on Well I think the UN Global Goals for Development was rolling out. When I had that first website and all of the giving was wrapped into those causes and I realized that it's really difficult for us to in the United States to see the physician or see the ball rolling Development locally is easier to look at them from a global standpoint. But it's harder to you feel engaged with those goals from local perspective. We built everything around the goals so they can move our communities and track the impact in how we're moving forward towards those goals within each nonprofit within each city any within each local community those goals really just give a really nice categorization of different ways that we can make impact across a whole range of different topics whether that's poverty or food or education or parliament or quality. And I think being able to actually see that laid out is super powerful understanding that. Yeah I'm part of something bigger part of something which is taking our whole humanity for in positive direction for sure. So have you been thinking about what happens after cove in nineteen? Yeah I think from my perspective. I have this urgency to get point into other places because of the chaos that will come with be building the support park communities in. I mean by that is that when we are back to a new normal every nonprofit is going to have to begin their work again allows nonprofits are shut down right now. But when we're back we're going to need to usher in support to our local nonprofits quickly and efficiently in. There's just no way to do that. If every single nonprofit in town is clamoring for support and there's fifty different websites to go to you in their fifty different ways volunteering. You're calling summer emailing others. Were signing up on the web somewhere else. We have to have a cohesive Central Point what. We're directing people on a help officially if not it's going to be chaos so really you know. It's not just we're shutdown right now. And then it's flip a switch and everything's going to be back to normal now we flip a switch. It's GonNa be mayhem if we flip a switch and we're not saying here's how the help in your city in this is going to direct you into the different ways to help. Efficiently ineffectively in. We standardize that process for people. Because people will want to help we ha- we will lose them if they're chasing down fifty different ways on how to do so comment so then points really going to become this lens to focus. Hey here's where help is needed. Most and here's how you can jump in and get involved in a productive way without wasting your time absolutely in also. Don't the nonprofits time? I think that from our side. It's really inefficient for volunteer to be calling but how more inefficient is that for. Charity Coordinator Nader to be doing that. Five Thousand Times. How trying to manage capacity and find the right places for everybody. Yeah I mean it's essential at this time that our communities have one place one central point to direct howdy dead. If not we will have a problem. That's awesome. I hope that you're able to focus attention in and help us as Kobe. Nineteen passes just to become something that really takes us to a whole different level of community involvement. Thank you. That's what our team's working hard now. You've got a great team. I just I love how you know. Part of your story has just been this perseverance of pushing through. If you'd given up wooden the investors original nap developers took your money and didn't produce anything. I think that would have been very easy to say. Hey this didn't work. Let's put aside but instead you you push through that. I know it's a very challenging. Starting Tech Company especially one that requires a lot of people to be involved. The from. You know the nonprofit standpoint to volunteering standpoint and I just love seeing that grow. I think I'm actually insane. Insanity can change the world so I really agree cool. Well thank you very much for for joining me today. And just to reiterate you know if you're listening and you don't have point on your your phone go to the the APP store and download point or you can find out more information on APP Dot Org Right. You're right thinking of the bug and I can't wait to see the impact we're going to have in Columbus and we're ready to rebuild and ready to you know find emergency volunteerism Thankful how the people listening to this are those people. So thanks and we can't see you on point so much thank you and once again a big thanks to Madison for joining us. On this podcast. I'm so excited to share her story. What she's doing. I think her perseverance and her ability to really connect with people and grow a technology. Platform is hugely inspiring. You can find out their APP on point APP dot org or in the APP store as point. Also if you're interested in can't stop Columbus take a look at can't stop Columbus Dot Com. They've been inspiring other cities and work that they're doing there to really make a difference in this time of Cope in nineteen is just awesome as always you can find more resources about these on our show notes on people helping people thought world and you can also check out our newsletter social good blueprint dot. Sud Stack Dot Com for her interesting social entrepreneurship news. So thank you so much for listening. And until next time cheers.