Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Yesterday the paperwork went through for the formation of my first company. Oddly with all my posts about personal finance and business, my first venture is a non profit. I never really planned to have my first company be a non profit but it just kind of worked out that way and I am excited to see how it goes. Combine learning about business with a great cause and I couldn't be any more excited to make this journey a success. For all you BadskiBlog readers I plan to update you on the successes and struggles associated with the formation and creation of the Checking For Charity movement.
Since I moved to New Jersey I have played men's league hockey. Having finished a Division I college hockey career just prior to the move, I was looking for something to fill the void. About the time I arrived something interesting was beginning to form amongst the hockey has beens (and never was') in our area. A Sunday skate rental began to grow into very tight knit group of guys that formed their own little hockey community; a tribe if you will. After skates we would all hang out and drink a few barley pops and barbecue. A powerful network was formed.
I don't know how it happened but I came up with the idea of putting on a hockey tournament. I thought I could start a business surrounding something I was familiar with, hockey. I could learn something and maybe make a few bucks in the process. Then I thought it would be cool to donate some of the profits to charity. As I started messing around with the numbers I realized that the profit margins of a typical hockey tournament aren't the greatest, especially if you aren't the owner of the ice, and a small percentage of the profits would also be quite a small monetary portion as well. Well why not make it where we donate all the money to charity?
I started tooling around with the idea of how we could get creative with a charity tournament and thought that each team could declare a charity that they were going to play for. Each team would receive money for their charity and all teams would have the opportunity to win more of a percentage based on how they finished in tournament play. I thought it was a pretty cool idea that would add some competition to a good cause. I also thought it would incentivize each team to hit the donation push. Team's would be more likely to tell their friends, coworkers, and neighborhood businesses to donate to a tournament in which they have a vested interest; their cause. To be honest I just didn't want to be the only one out their drumming up donations for the tournament pot. I felt that this was the easiest way to get everyone involved. I brought it up to a few friends and they thought it was a cool idea so I mentioned it to the Sunday hockey guys. That is when things really started to get interesting. Guys started volunteering to help out. People started soliciting ideas to make the tournament better. People basically appointed themselves to the tournament committee. The whole idea just started to take off. It truly was and continues to be a pleasure to be surrounded with people who are willing to step up and create something special. We are only in the beginning stages but already professionals such as lawyers, bankers, and everything in between are offering their services for free just to be a part of this idea.
Not only is the volunteer base growing, but the scope of possibility surrounding what Checking For Charity is all about it growing. It went from being some little tournament to something bigger, something that feels a little bit more exciting. I think that it is turning into a movement, and I really hope that I am right. I think this is the story of a bunch of guys who feel lucky and blessed enough to live a life where they can play the game they love, drink some beers, and hang out with good dudes. The story of normal people who want to create something larger than themselves. I don't want to give away all the surprises on the first Checking For Charity update, but my gut tells me that this thing is brewing and it may well turn into something worth talking about. If you feel the same forward this post, digg this article, spread the word.