I launched GoodWorld almost exactly a year ago with zero employees. Over the course of the year, my cofounders and I worked tirelessly out of Washington, D.C., to further our mission of making donations easy on social media.
As our company grew, working alongside the likes of Save the Children, UNICEF USA and the ALS Association, so did our ranks. Today, we are 15 strong.
So, what went into going from zero to 15 employees? And why did we choose to hire them all in our nation’s capital?
1. Finding people with passion
Robert Safian, editor of Fast Company, tells his staff, “We’re not in business to make money; we make money so we can stay in business.”
We needed a centralized team anchored in D.C. to work together like a well-oiled machine.
For a social enterprise company like ours, everything we do — even small, daily tasks — reflects our mission. When hiring, I selected employees that I knew would devote themselves to the success of the company not only because they want to get paid, but because they truly believe in the work we do.
D.C. offers the perfect mix of both, as I’ve found that the city tends to attract smart, talented people driven to enact change around a cause they are passionate about. Communities like Startup Grind and DC Tech Meetup are great places to meet people united by their interest in a cause.
I presented at DC Tech Meetup’s Women in Tech event in July and had a number of people approach me afterwards who were interested in getting involved with the company.
2. New kid on the block: D.C.’s growing tech scene
This year, the Washington Post’s annual list of top local workplaces included a number of tech companies, just one of many indications of a shift in perception of the city. What’s more, a recent SmartAsset report also named the nation’s capital as the best city for women in tech. While primarily known for its politics, the city is teeming with creative, tech-savvy people seeking outlets and opportunities for their skills.
Incredible universities, institutions like General Assembly, and a wide variety of other invaluable resources make D.C. a technology talent magnet. Two of our employees came from me simply searching LinkedIn for people who had worked at D.C. tech companies I respect and larger companies with D.C. offices. From developers to UX designers and digital strategists, the ever-growing tech talent pool reflects a fresh, new movement — and people excited to be part of it.
3. D.C., Global HQ
As a hotbed of discussion and debate, D.C. offers incredible access to experts, think tanks and other networking opportunities. 1776, where we’re based, is an especially great resource — as is Springboard Enterprises, which hosts a fantastic Dolphin Tank series. It’s also a port to the world, making it a great headquarters for companies looking to go global. When building our team’s tech acumen, we realized that outsourcing — a great option for some — would not be the best choice for our business model. We needed a centralized team anchored in D.C. to work together like a well-oiled machine.
For us, the return on investment has been huge in time and resource savings, particularly the ability to instantly mobilize in all-hands-on-deck situations. Perhaps most importantly, hiring in D.C. enabled us to build a strong workplace and company culture around the people in it. By sitting across the table from one another, we learn each other’s strengths, weaknesses and personalities — making us faster, better and stronger.