Value Added: The Nonprofit Entrepreneur
"During one contest, we had 800 people donate in the last 48 hours. It's just like running a campaign," said Beale, who is working on another $10,000 contest right now.
Beale said the inspiration for his company came from his time in India working for the State Department. He had an idea where people from places like India would come to the United States.
The key hurdle was visas, which allow foreigners to work in the United States but are difficult to get. Beale figured if he could get certified by the State Department to bring non-profit workers into this country under a visa program, he would have a competitive advantage over rivals.
To find people who knew the ins and outs of visas, he advertised for employees on Web sites such as idealist.org and Craiglist.com, listing the job qualifications.
Non-profit fundraising came easy to Beal. He is an extrovert who would routinely throw parties to raise money for charities at his Adams-Morgan apartment back in the early 1990s after graduation. He further developed the non-profit bug while working with Ashoka, a non-profit which sponsors social entrepreneurs. His time in the Clinton White House, where he worked as a liaison with U.S. governors, and for the State Department in India whetted his appetite for using business skills to impact social objectives instead of just turning profits.
In 2006, an attorney friend helped him file the papers with the Internal Revenue Service to create a non-profit. Cost: $500.
To find board members and non-profit sponsors, he tapped a long list of contacts in the non-profit world and from the federal government. Ashoka signed up to pay $17,000 for a fellow the first year.
At the time, Beale had a long commute. Without a job, he was living in Bogota where his wife worked at the U.S. Embassy.