“WHY” + “HOW” = “CHANGE”: In many ways, hunger is a man-made problem. While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, we believe that each of us has a role to play in solving this challenge. Our theory of change lies in the belief that there is not a need for a greater production of food resources, but instead a need for redistribution and sustainable allocation of existing supplies.
QUANTIFY THE NEED IN NUMBERS: Hunger and food waste is a global problem. But to get our local community to care, we speak about the 2.6-million New Yorkers who have trouble affording food juxtaposed against the half-million tons of food wasted by New York City restaurants each year. These numbers are important in shaping the value of what Transformation is offering.
BE MISSION-DRIVEN, BUT KNOW YOUR NICHE: Most non-profits and profit-for-purpose companies were formed to solve some big problems. As a result, it can be hard not to look “lofty” in your solution’s approach. Currently, Transfernation is the only organization which primarily focuses on food waste from EVENTS and one of the first organizations to implement a technology based solution to these challenges. By focusing on these two niches we believe we can create a system which works for both sectors to consistently and sustainably get excess food to underserved communities.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA: Social media has been an important facet of growth for our organization especially in our early stages. It was one of the tools we used to get our organization and work out to a greater audience and build our "customer" base. This proof of concept and support was important as we worked to raise funding and bring on valuable partners and sponsors. However, it is not an integral part of our organizations day-to-day work and we try to focus more on our operations and growth then our social media presence. This is because with limited resources, staff and time we choose to focus on driving impact and creating the most sustainable organization possible. Social media is an incredible tool but there is a misconception that its an automatic miracle worker for organizations and it reality to be successful you have to put in a substantial amount of time. Today our primary goals with social media are to engage with our supporters and provide updates on our progress. However, the moment we turn more towards marketing and fundraising social media becomes a larger part of our day to day work.
WORK WITHIN A BUDGET: Our annual budget is currently around 50,000 but we’re looking to increase it substantially to bring on more full time staff and improve our operations. We hope to generate enough revenue to cover our operating expenses and then leverage donations for new programs, expansions, and bringing on new food donors. However, fundraising can be all encompassing and we want to create a model so that the majority of our time and resources go to the mission rather than raising more money. Additionally as a 501(c)3 we get the majority of our income today through grants and donations.
DON’T PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF: The number one lesson we've learned is to put less pressure on ourselves. If you care enough to launch your idea, trust that you'll be able to do what you need too. Working hard and long hours comes with the territory and is going to be necessary (at times) but what isn't helping you is stressing yourself out. You need to be able to balance seeking and using advice. It's always good to get input from others especially your customers and partners but its also important to be able to stick to your vision and not feel compelled to act on everything you hear. It's a fine line to balance the two of them.