One wintery drive up to Tahoe back in 2013 after volunteering at a toy drive, Jarrett and Michelle asked themselves why it was so hard to give. Why don’t people (including themselves) do it more? You have to find the right organization to volunteer with, match your skills with their needs, and perfectly time fluctuating schedules. There had to be an easier way.
Jarrett had worked on an idea called the “Giving Lottery”, but it was just focused on making giving money easy. Michelle had worked for, started, and thrown events for non-profits, and knew the problem was real on their side too. It’s not easy to get their story out and activate people to give time. Unlike snow in Tahoe that year, ideas flew the entire drive around a way to easily find great Nonprofits along with opportunities to give time, in the way we do, the moment you find out you have time to give.
Fast forward to a year later, Jarrett was leaving work at a SOMA startup late one evening biking to meet his friend Ryan at Benders, a bar in the Mission. A bit overworked and frustrated that he hadn’t been able to do more recently, he thought about how much more professionals, companies and givers could impact the community, if they had a simple medium to do so.
Ryan just arrived at Benders and was coming from a meeting on a grad school project on impact investment. He was working on his degree in Social Entrepreneurship, after having worked for and run operations at nonprofits prior. Ryan was wondering why nonprofits weren’t structured and innovated on more like Startup Weekend, the Hackathon he was just at the weekend prior. He wondered, what it would take to bring the nonprofit sector up to snuff?
Both venting, Ryan and Jarrett realized the thing they loved most was helping people solve problems with creative ideas, and the word ThinkThank popped into Jarrett’s head. They could give ideas and expertise to Nonprofits, for nothing more than a thank you, at a recurring meetup. Ryan talked through structures he thought would work for an event. Ideas flew much like the beers that night, and the three of them refined ThinkThank that year leveraging the initial conversations from that wintery drive with Michelle.
And, the story is just beginning…