100 Homes

Every week at Pitch Practice, I meet new people. Last summer, I met Matthew Marshall. Shortly after that, I met Brett Hagler. Both are very impressive young entrepreneurs, but I had no idea what they’d end up doing.

Then in December, Brett and I met for coffee, and he told me what else he was doing, in addition to his business development position at Syrup Marketing. That’s when he explained that he and Matthew and a couple of others had joined forces to create a social startup, driven by crowdfunding. In one fell swoop, they hit all the current buzzwords: social, startup, crowdfunding. Well done. But I still didn’t get it yet.
When I saw New Story, I immediately knew they had to get some exposure, so I made the standard digital intro to Jon Birdsong so New Story could get in line to present at ATLSV, which they did in late January. Here’s the quick report I got from Brett when I inquired as to how their pitch went:
“It went great! We got 45 people to
pledge their birthdays”
Not really knowing what that meant, I had to ask. Their pitch (in my words) was “instead of getting a bunch of presents for you this year for your birthday, ask your friends and family to donate the amount they’d have spent to funding a home for a family in Haiti?”  It worked: 55 people pledged their birthdays.
So in case you haven’t figured it out by now, New Story leverages charitable crowdfunding to pay for new homes to be built for homeless families in Haiti (currently, and soon, around the world). It’s incredibly simple: find a family, donate, see the results. Right now, a new home for a family that’s been homeless since the Haiti earthquake five years ago costs only $6,000. You can donate any small amount (or large amount!) and help a homeless family get their own “New Story”.
Watch the video for more information on what it means for a family to be homeless in Haiti for five years. It’s worse than “living on the street.” Way worse, and sex trafficking is rampant, especially with young children. Put that against six grand and it’ll give you some perspective.
And that pitch that worked so well at ATLSV is still working. Here’s the latest update I received from Brett this morning:

All of the families that received new homes had been homeless for 5+ years, and we learned that a safe, stable home is like having “a new life”. I’ve never seen such pure joy and gratitude, it was probably the best day of my life. To date (in just 4 months), we’ve raised $100,000+, funding 16 life-changing homes (for over 75 people). Our goal for the year is to fund 100 homes. We need people like you to support that vision to make it a reality. 

That, folks, is what we call traction, and we’re not talking about a monthly subscription for automation software here. We’re talking new lives, new stories.
So what are you getting for your birthday this year? Instead of getting, try out giving.

What do you think?