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Fast Company: How one overheard conversation is boosting DonorsChoose's fundraising, Ben Paynter


A few years ago, Charles Best, the founder and CEO at DonorsChoose.org realized that his offices were suffering from a bit more than poor ambiance. The crowdfunding platform, which lets public school teachers post requests for classroom projects, supplies, or trips that need charitable contributions, was operating out of a space that he calls “industrial, if we’re being charitable” in New York. It was cramped, divided, and frequented by “furry friends”–his preferred term for the resident rodent population....“More importantly colleagues could not really interact with each other across the room,” he told a crowd gathered at the company’s newly designed HQ, during the Fast Company Innovation Festival this week....Their first new location debuted in January 2014. A second one was unveiled in mid-2016 in San Francisco. Both were designed by Eight Inc., the firm that created the first Apple Store, which agreed to work pro bono. Best calls the result a “half-start-up, half-schoolhouse” vibe. There’s a digital big screen that acts like a stock ticker to track real time successes built into a long wall filled with hand-drawn thank you notes from kids. Rooms are divided by faux walls that resemble pass-through cubbies to create a communal vibe with ample personal space (and extra storage space). Hopscotch grids dot the halls. The place has lots of amazing chalkboard art....“About a year and a half ago, our chief financial officer had read a book called Drunk Tank Pinkby by a professor at NYU who had pointed out that people are more likely to donate to hurricane relief if the hurricane has the same first letter as their own name,” he says.“It wasn’t a brainstorming session about marketing or how to reach donors. It was just an overheard conversation.”Read the full story on Fast Company. 

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