September 5th is the International Day of Charity. At The Department Coworking, we have many non-profit and for-profit organizations who are making a big impact in our community and communities all over the world. 1MISSION has been with The Department Coworking since we started, so we thought we’d sit down with Communications Director Tim Hoiland to ask him a few questions about their non-profit work. Read below and find out what they’re all about and how you can get involved.
1. Give us an elevator pitch of your organization.
We’re a community development organization giving people in poverty the opportunity to earn a house by serving their community. What this means is that our “beneficiaries” in Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua are actually active participants in the process, not passive recipients. When they get the keys to their new house, they can hold their heads high, knowing they’ve earned it and their dignity has been respected. We think that’s really important.
2. What is one of your favorite stories from being out in the field?
This January, we were in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, with some other members of The Department. We were working alongside a local family to build their house, which is always a great opportunity to get to know each other. But this time, they surprised us by serving us lunch three days in a row – something that isn’t expected and doesn’t usually happen. And we’re not talking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Each day, they grilled up fresh fish that had been caught that morning in the Sea of Cortez. One day, this included stingrays! You could see how proud and joyful they were to be able to offer us hospitality in that way. It was a great (and delicious!) reminder of how meaningful it is to partner together as equals.
3. What are the main obstacles that inhibit the fulfillment of your mission?
Throughout the world, 1.6 billion people lack safe, secure housing. We’re talking men, women, and children living in houses made of scrap wood, tarps, sheet metal – whatever they can find. These houses leave families vulnerable to extreme weather, preventable disease, and violent crime. So the magnitude of the problem is probably our biggest obstacle. We’ve built 869 houses in three countries over the past eleven years. For those 869 families, the impact is truly life-changing. But the scale of the problem means 1MISSION and other organizations focused on providing safe, secure housing for the poor have a long way to go. Shameless plug: we need the support of more people who believe in making the world a better place for everyone!
4. What are some common misconceptions about working for a charity/non-profit?
One idea I’ve picked up on (although most people are too polite to actually say it out loud) is that people work in non-profits because they can’t hack it in the business world. I’ve worked in both the non-profit and for-profit world, and I can assure you this is a misconception. On our small team alone, four of us have run our own businesses at various points of our careers, and others have had meaningful jobs in the for-profit world as well. We chose to do this work – instead of other work – because we’re committed to the mission. And because we believe that diligent, strategic, hard work will make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable. That’s our bottom line.
5. What are some ways people can get involved?
One way to get involved, which I’m super excited about, is through our Bikes Fight Poverty charity ride. Each February, 120 riders pedal from downtown Phoenix (beginning just a block from here at CityScape) all the way to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. Two days, two countries, 200 miles – all for the purpose of raising money to provide housing for those in need. So if you’re an avid cyclist, you can launch a campaign and start training today! For the rest of us, thankfully, there’s also the Virtual Ride, which means you can get in on the fun without leaving your neighborhood or gym. I did the Virtual Ride last year, and it was an amazing experience.
If riding a bike isn’t your jam, there are other great ways to get involved. The best is by joining the Supply Yard, our monthly giving program. For as little as $10 a month, you can know you’re making an ongoing difference – and it’s super easy to sign up. And believe it or not, 100% of your donation will go to projects and programs in the field, not to pay our rent at The Department (not that there’s anything wrong with that)!
6. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time with 1MISSION?
Before I joined the team, I was working on my own for several years, mostly from home. And I’m moderately extroverted, so that was sometimes a challenge. So over the past couple of years I’ve learned – or have at least been reminded – how great it is to be part of a team of smart yet humble collaborators, each and every day. We really are in this together, and the work each of us does is way better because of it. Oh yeah, and we have a lot of fun too!
7. How have you been able to keep your team culture strong in a coworking environment?
Culture is as much about the people you have on your team as the things you do to try and create culture. We know we have absolute rockstars on our staff who care wholeheartedly about our mission and our team. We do lots of fun things like lake days, staff lunches, and a giant spinning prize wheel for special occasions. But really we just care about each other as people. We create a culture and organization where we would want to work and we love our team the best we can!
8. Why do you choose to work out of a coworking environment VS a traditional office?
As a non-profit, networking is huge. Being around so many different kinds of people and companies has really helped us to grow. The energy is great and it helps keep our team on our toes. When you’re surrounded by entrepreneurs and other people hustling, it drives you to be better. Plus, we’ve never been a fan of doing anything the traditional way, so why should our office be boring?
To learn more about 1MISSION, visit their website or stop by The Department Coworking to meet them in person. Ready to get your company in a cool office environment? Schedule a tour of The Department today.