Why I Started UncommonGood

A story from our founder, Carolyn Driscoll

It seems like such a simple concept: Do good. Make the world better.

And yet, everywhere we look, there are roadblocks to building efficacy within mission-driven organizations and nonprofits: securing grants and partnerships, garnering and retaining donors, building lean teams and planning for capacity, and so many more.

The result? Smaller organizations tend to stay small. They pare back, and so large-scale results are significantly harder to achieve and maintain sustainably.

For some organizations, it can work. But shouldn’t every nonprofit have the chance (and the resources) to drive big results? That might be an uncommon notion — but then again, being common has never been the catalyst for change.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2019 that I realized the mission of ‘doing good’ really could be more significant than any of us ever imagined. I grew attached to a local nonprofit that supported my family in caring for my father with Alzheimer’s disease. Over the past decade, we have become especially dependent on this nonprofit’s family support center. Truly, the impact they’ve had on my family alone has been invaluable. And it isn’t just mine. Guided by their mission, the organization produces unmatched support and care for every family they work with, during one of the most challenging times in those families’ lives.

It amazed me to see what a small organization could do with its limited resources. But the closer I got to the people of this organization and the more I understood where the nonprofit’s pain points were, I began to think: what could this organization accomplish if they had the same kind of backing and resources as larger organizations? Think of the ripple effect, the capacity to change even more lives! I wanted everyone to experience what my family experienced.

And that’s how UncommonGood was born. I believed that every story — my family’s story, dozens and hundreds of other families’ stories — had power, and that an organization whose mission it was to support and care for those stories shouldn’t be hindered by a lack of resources, capacity, or funding. I believed there shouldn’t be any limit on how much good an organization could accomplish.

I knew there had to be a better way for small nonprofits to gain support and amplify reach. So, I set out to research nonprofit needs and applied my own past experience as a small business owner, where I had experienced firsthand what it’s like wearing multiple hats just to keep things running. The to-do list is never-ending, and there are never enough people you can delegate to. But with access to those resources and tools — fundraising platforms and features, brand management capabilities, email marketing software, and more — that can help lighten the load, everything becomes so much easier.

According to Forbes, a large percentage of nonprofits fail or stall within the first few years due to problems with leadership, strategic planning and more, while data from the National Center on Charitable Statistics indicates that some 30% of nonprofits may cease to exist after their first 10 years.

The world of online marketing and social media is a noisy blur. Many large organizations with more robust budgets can hire a graphic artist from one agency and a marketer from another, and then also pay for a subscription service for an email newsletter. But for smaller nonprofits, that all adds up, and fast. What were meant to be helpful tools (the internet, social media) turn into overwhelming spaces that can quickly drain an already limited budget.

But despite the challenges it presented, technology still stood out to me as the greatest equalizer, the biggest opportunity to level the nonprofit playing field.

If organizations could access all the latest and greatest software and tools to support their missions, there would be virtually no limit to the amount of good they could do. So, I teamed up with developers to create resources geared towards fundraising and branding for small orgs in the most accessible and affordable way possible.

The idea? Keep every tool, all the various widgets and logos and donor databases and marketing services, in one, streamlined place, so organizations don’t constantly need to research and engage resources from five (or more!) different companies. Paired with education and support staff to champion a nonprofit’s cause every step of the way, this model aims to exist as an uncommonly good solution to most modern-day issues small orgs face daily.

There is so much good that can be done in the world. I’m tired of money and other obstacles standing in the way of truly amazing organizations reaching their maximum potential. I don’t know what the future will hold for UncommonGood, but the beginning is looking bright.

As the founder of a small mission-driven organization, I’m amazed by you, because I know what it takes to act on your own impact-focused goals. And I want you to have the tools and resources you need to amplify that impact.

I’m excited to revolutionize the face of nonprofits with like-minded people ready to take things to the next level.

Together, let’s do good the Uncommon way.

Interested in learning more or collaborating with the UG team? Sign up for our emails now, or contact us directly. We can’t wait to drive change together.

Uncommon solutions. Guaranteed to do good. We believe impact comes in many shapes and sizes, stories have power, and together, we can drive remarkable change.

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