When George Weiner left his position as chief technology officer at DoSomething.org, he realized that it was a risky move. But he wasn’t intimidated—the idea of accomplishing something big that could benefit others quelled any sense of fear.
“I saw a need in the world that I could meet, and knew I would never get a chance like this again,” says Weiner. “It was a time that I was able to work really hard.”
Weiner’s determination jumpstarted Whole Whale, a digital strategy and consulting company serving nonprofits. By focusing on data strategy, analysis, and training, Whole Whale is revolutionizing the way nonprofits are able to organize their programs, track their impact, and reduce resource waste.
How far back does Weiner’s interest in nonprofits date? His love affair with grassroots initiatives began back at the University of Pennsylvania, when he started sifting through nonprofit job postings on Idealist.org. He was drawn to the kind of outside-of-the-box problem solving that these positions required.
Weiner finally found his opportunity to “be part of something bigger than myself” when he joined DoSomething.org, an organization focused on rallying people to get involved with social justice campaigns.
But technology was holding the organization back, so Weiner began studying programming at night.
“I would attend the ‘school of the web’ and read anything I could get my hands on,” says Weiner.
DoSomething.org showed how grassroots organizations can utilize technology to further their agenda and reach their audience. Weiner helped the organization build up a community of more than 1.5 million young people interested in changing the world.
His experience at DoSomething.org convinced Weiner that other nonprofits could benefit from his expertise. So he launched Whole Whale in 2010.
As Whole Whale grew, Weiner based the company out of WeWork. (He wanted to ensure his teammates enjoyed coming to work, he says.) Raised in Brooklyn, Weiner’s commute to WeWork Dumbo Heights follows a similar walk he made to school when he was young.
In an industry known for its limited resources, Weiner says it’s imperative that nonprofits know what is working and what isn’t. Reducing waste and increasing impact are the two most noteworthy takeaways from Whole Whale’s goal of instilling a “data culture” within every nonprofit.
By helping nonprofits fully embrace technology, Whole Whale hopes to let them benefit from the same digital strategies that are transforming for-profit businesses around the world.
Photos: Katelyn Perry