Blog: Jeff Newsom

Paper and plastic bags, be gone! Plastic grocery sacks, now banned everywhere from China to South Africa to San Francisco, make eco-blogger Jeff Newsom's tank top shirt bags a viable choice. Proceeds from these fashion-cum-function totes support A-ShirtBag, his environmental education non-profit. This week, Jeff waxes eloquent on what it takes to start a non-profit in Detroit...

Jeff Newsom - Post 5: Getting Funding; How Hard Work Pays Off

Throughout my experience with starting a non-profit organization there have been many roadblocks and endless highways. In all my life, I would never have expected to be in community service, but have found my true calling. Helping the environment and teaching children has turned out to be the best revenge to corporate life and fulfilling beyond anything in the advertising worlds.        


I was stupid to think that I would just fill out some paperwork and receive thousands of dollars from strange corporations and foundations that like what we do as an organization, but have found out once again that having my ducks in a row and finding the right people to help out in the fundraising efforts is key to future success in this harsh economy. Without educational assessments, pilot programs, charts and graphs, followed by focus groups and the brilliance of Ted Jurkiewickz of Tandem Evaluation Designs, nothing could get done. Thankfully I have had the financial support of family, friends, and the community to get through this hard time.

Fundraising events are a tricky situation for a non-profit organization that doesn't have the money to throw giant fundraisers with elaborate dinners. That is one thing we at AShirtBag have not participated in because, what if you don't sell the tickets? I'd rather just go slow and put those needed funds right back into the Educational program.

At AShirtBag, 98% of what we raise in funds goes right to our educational program while the other 2% goes toward paying the phone bills, Internet stuff, and stamps. I feel this makes us different from all the rest. With no crazy overhead for staff members and luxury leases or giant fundraisers we can focus on the charity. All of our teaching staff, PR, design, and marketing are donated by highly motivated volunteers of the highest caliber renown in their fields of expertise.

THIS IS WHAT CHARITY IS ALL ABOUT, PEOPLE. Giving back…doing well for others and making a difference. In the end, stay true to your mission and things will fall into your lap like they did in mine.

Hard work pays off in the end. Everyone has the power to change the world. Now get busy and volunteer.