Melinda Gates once said, "If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped."
I've always been a believer that the best opportunities in life are a result of several soiled experiences – ones that don't seem to connect in the moment, but always come together poetically. It's a constant reminder that every person you meet, every friendship you grow, every idea you foster and every random interaction you experience has a meaningful place in a person's professional and personal story.
I took on social entrepreneurship by creating easy ways for people to make giving part of everyday life through dailyKARMA.
The social impact itch
For the past 15 years, I've had great experiences implementing and inventing tech solutions for some of the largest brands and have been fortunate enough to meet talented people that supported my career. Throughout the last couple years, while focusing on customer acquisition strategies for start-ups, I noticed that millennials are becoming more vocal and supportive of causes in the U.S. and beyond. Seventy-one percent even preferred seeking job opportunities where employers had a commitment to helping the community.
At the same time, I was heavily involved in volunteering, mentoring and running events advocating for girls and women to pursue careers in S.T.E.M. As someone who fundraised and donated money to organizations and volunteered for causes, I wondered if there was a better way to consolidate my impact in one place.
With my experience and network in the tech industry, I knew I could use my past experiences to help create a platform that could change the way people view giving. I wanted people to feel empowered and excited to give consistently rather than only on special occasions. The donation industry was ripe for disruption and in need of innovative ways to enable people a way to donate on their own terms.
The leap of faith
It was time to utilize my skills to drive a greater impact. With amazing advisors, investors and talented team members by my side, we ventured to create dailyKARMA.
Like most start-ups, it took several pivots to find our product market fit. The key was that we weren't afraid to close the door on ideas that didn't prove out in initial consumer testing. Throughout our iteration process, our team adapted to product changes while sticking with our core mission.
Eventually, we found our sweet spot, allowing advocates to create custom Cause Funds where they can support all their favorite charities in one place. Whether someone wanted to donate or fundraise for their Cause Fund, all contributions would be distributed across the charities in their account. Over time, a person or company's Cause Fund will be the backbone of their lifetime giving story, similar to how LinkedIn tells a person's professional story.
We've seen early success and are thrilled about our growing community of givers. We still have a long way to go, but one thing is certain: being a social impact entrepreneur has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had so far in my journey. Knowing that our platform is helping organizations and those in need makes the ups and downs of startup life completely worth it.
About the author: Patricia Dao is a technology entrepreneur with an emphasis on product management, operations and marketing. She currently serves as CEO of dailyKARMA. With Patricia's extensive experience in social and mobile and her passion for technology that can impact social good, she works with dailyKARMA's international team to make micro-donating and fundraising for causes simple, fun and social. Patricia also speaks and writes about women entrepreneurship, specifically the advancement of women in STEM fields and serves on the Children's Hospital of LA's Digital Philanthropy Committee.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.