You know how some people say you should never meet your heroes? I wholeheartedly disagree. In the past 318 days I have not only had the honor of meeting eighteen of my heroes, but also got the opportunity to sit down and interview them. I heard stories of unexpected selflessness, of movements started by a single action, of love in the face of unimaginable hardships. And, on July 9, 2018, I have the immense pleasure of sharing them all with you through GoFundMe’s brand new podcast, True Stories of Good People. This is the story of how that podcast came to be.
I am a communications manager with GoFundMe, the world’s largest fundraising platform. I joined the company in May of 2013 when we were a team of less than 15 people. Fast forward 5 years and we’re at 300 employees and counting. Whenever anyone asks me why I’ve been here for so long, I always have the same answer: our campaign organizers, and the people they help.
I work in our communications department and it is my team’s job to take the incredible stories on our platform and share them with the world. We’re pretty good at it, if I do say so myself, but I wondered one day why we didn’t have a podcast. There are no better people to tell their inspiring campaign stories than the actual people involved in them, and podcasting is such a perfectly intimate form of storytelling. I wanted to create a vehicle for that storytelling to happen, and so I set out on a mission to create GoFundMe’s first ever podcast.
I wanted to create a vehicle for that storytelling to happen, and so I set out on a mission to create GoFundMe’s first ever podcast.
I scheduled the first interview as somewhat of a pilot to see if this thing even made sense to do. It was with Jeff Lew in Seattle, Washington. Jeff is a remarkable dad who saw something called “lunch shaming” going on in his son’s school, and decided to do something about it. His campaign to erase lunch debt for a single school led to a nationwide trend of others getting involved and starting campaigns for schools in their area — pretty amazing, right? Jeff was throwing a fundraising event in Seattle to kick off his new campaign and had asked a couple of us from the team to attend. We figured it was the perfect opportunity to record the first interview at the same time!
I was very nervous for that first interview because I wanted so badly for it to go well. I remember that my hands were sweaty and I had a knot in my stomach the whole day leading up to it. It helped a lot that I had written and practiced a script of questions, and also that Jeff is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Once we started talking, I felt a lot more comfortable and immersed myself into the conversation.
The majority of the interviews took place in California where GoFundMe is based, but there were four out-of-state stories, so I got to do a bit of traveling. Albuquerque was in February, and then a really fast, crazy trip on the east coast in mid-May: Maryland, South Carolina, and Florida. I needed to get them done in one quick swoop because they were the final 3 interviews and we were approaching launch. The hardest part was finding a week that worked for everyone, but with some luck, we made it happen! 5 days, 3 states, 8 airplanes, 18 taxis, 3 hotels, and many cups of coffee later… we were a wrap on all 12 interviews for Season 1 of True Stories of Good People.
These stories deserve to be heard, and I’m honored to help share them in this way.
As I think back on each interview, I’m left with a distinct feeling: gratitude. For the past 5 years at my job, I have immersed myself in the details of so many GoFundMe campaign stories, and they never cease to amaze and inspire me. I would rather meet the people behind our incredible campaigns than any celebrity I could name. And so, getting the chance to not only come face-to-face with people I consider personal heroes, but also to sit down with them and hear their stories in person. I do not exaggerate in the slightest when I say it’s a dream come true. These stories deserve to be heard, and I’m honored to help share them in this way.
True Stories of Good People are stories of loss, stories of discovery, stories of action, stories of compassion, stories of hope… They are stories that show the best parts of us as humans, because I truly believe that when we use our unique gifts to help others and make the world a better place, that we really do become everyday superheroes. Each guest on the podcast is doing exactly that, and it is my deepest hope that their words will inspire others to do the same, in whatever form that may take. They’re the stars here. I’m just a grateful passenger along for the ride.
By Kelsea Little