Creating a New Story for Haiti – GDEV chat with the founder of a YC-backed non-profit

Bain’s Global Development Network (GDEV) is a forum for colleagues to discuss and share information and experiences in global economic development, and to support organizations making an impact in the field. Atlanta’s GDEV chapter recently spoke to one such organization. Read more below.

Too often, charities lack transparency and true results. You donate $10, receive a warm thank you, and your money disappears into a black hole. During a Friday GDEV chat, New Story’s Brett Hagler talked with Bainies about how his non-profit breaks that trend, practices 100% transparency, and even provides a video follow-up for donors.

After battling cancer at 18, and volunteering on a trip to Haiti a few years later, Brett considered the impact he could make during his lifetime. He met displaced families during his volunteer trip that inspired him to dedicate more of his time and energy to the Haitian community:

“Currently, Haiti’s homeless families struggle against violence, blinding heat, child abduction and sexual assault. In providing families with a home from these hazards, New Story gives life-changing opportunity, hope, and peace of mind.”

New Story

Brett Hagler on a visit to connect with families and check on home building progress

Brett’s frustrating experience with outdated and impersonal charity websites led him to design a new kind of non-profit. During our talk, he emphasized New Story’s founding principles of transparency, technology, and personal connection:

“We believe that when you donate money to a cause, you should always know exactly who you’re helping and where the money is going. That’s why we built a transparent giving platform that shows you exactly who you’re helping, where the money is going, and you get a video of the family you helped in their new home. We also use local construction vendors to help support the Haitian economy.”

Brett and the New Story team have embarked on an exciting path – they recently accepted an invitation to join the prestigious startup incubator, Y Combinator, and have launched the “100 Homes in 100 Days” campaign. Though only 6 months old, New Story has raised $276,000, funded 46 homes, and changed the lives of 46 families. Brett left the Bainies with some parting wisdom for how to hit the ground running down a similar path:

  • Don’t be afraid to start as a side project: The risk of failure in projects like this can be daunting. Brett started New Story as a side project while working in marketing, but once he saw signs of success he dedicated himself full time.
  • Don’t get bogged down in the details: It usually isn’t worth it to draft up a business plan, do a customer segmentation and get into the minutiae. By first hacking together a minimum viable product you are able to have real reactions from potential customers.
  • Treat your non-profit like a business: The systems and processes that ensure a business runs smoothly are just the same for non-profits! Once you get your product up and running it’s important to have a process-driven and streamlined team that applies business principles to problem solving.

To learn more about New Story visit http://newstorycharity.org or contact brett@newstorycharity.org.

Click here to donate towards a life-saving home for a family in need.

–Bryce Ferguson, GDEV Atlanta

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