This post originally appeared on Social Change Nation, the hub for Entrepreneurs that make a Dollar AND a Difference. Guest writer, Adam Kunes, is a member of Social Change Nation and we’re proud to have him share this amazing story of taking the leap!
After doing the 9-5 thing for a year after college, I quickly realized that corporate America was not my jam. Without a real plan, I quit my job to drive an RV across the country for 30 days with a friend. We coordinated volunteer opportunities along the way and did our best to film the experience. After putting together an amateur documentary, we showed the film at local universities and really anywhere in our community that would allow us to. It wasn’t long before we were approached by students asking how they could sign up for the next RV trip and get involved. We formed a nonprofit called The Call to Serve and set out to offer RV volunteer programs for young adults. With a shoestring budget, we operated for 3 more years and gained a lot of steam. It was extremely rewarding to see the impact of the program on our participants, as many continued on to the AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps. We worked with over 13 charities and causes along the way, helping to spread their missions and reach. On a small scale, we felt like we were changing the world!
The non-profit was consuming all of our time but unfortunately wasn’t paying the bills. I moved full time into a for-profit media digitization business called Rewind Memories which I started in college. I always promised myself that I would learn as much as I could about running a business and that I would eventually return to volunteerism in some form or fashion. Five years and two retail locations later, I sold Rewind Memories in November 2015 to refocus my efforts on what I was truly passionate about.
Enter Have Fun. Do Good. I look at this venture as my true calling. The goal with Have Fun. Do Good. (HFDG) is to provide a unique platform for people to volunteer. Many people have the urge to give back and help in some way, but they don’t know where to start. HFDG is a non-committal, fun approach to volunteerism, we incorporate a road trip component into all of our trips. Not only are participants forced to step out of their comfort zones, but they’re doing something good in the process. We are also trying to break the mold of traditional volunteer experiences by adding a social component to the process. From ropes courses and scavenger hunts to exploring the nightlife in the cities we travel to, HFDG participants are truly having fun and doing good when they volunteer with us! Our participants are exposed to a wide range of volunteer opportunities as we work with disaster relief efforts, animal welfare, environmental issues and everything in between. We’ve learned that this is a great way to keep things new and exciting.
In addition to our trips, we also offer local one day opportunities, such as this year when we hosted a Friendsgiving event in November where we prepared care packages and made blankets for a local homeless shelter. In February, we hosted a Learn to Snowboard event with Big Brother Big Sisters of Pittsburgh where we taught Bigs and their Little’s how to snowboard. This summer, HFDG will host paddleboard cleanups on our local rivers to provide participants with a fun way to give back and get some SUN!
HFDG is a social enterprise. I want to be doing this work long-term and knew I had to approach the financial side of it realistically. Our goal is to take the company to scale through our weekend warrior trips, alternative break programs, and corporate outreach. Incorporated into our model is giving 10% of our profits to the non-profits we partner with along the way, bringing our work back around full circle to those in need!
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