Dissolving Boomerang

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Dissolving Boomerang

After many months of thinking about this, it is with a heavy, but peaceful heart that I’ve decided to dissolve Boomerang.

The most important thing to say is-- thank you. Thank you for coming on this journey with me, for your support, for posting about Boomerang, for telling your friends, for encouraging me, for asking how it’s going-- for all of it. From the deepest places in my heart, thank you.

I started Boomerang because I had grand ideas that this business could contribute to positive global social change. It was going to transform hearts and minds by introducing more and more people to the developing world; it was going to leverage the short-term experience into long-term meaningful impact. The business was going to ‘do good’ and stand on its own two feet, not chasing grants all its life. I still LOVE the spirit of this business, its vision, its heart.

The facts are that after three years of dreaming about Boomerang, working on Boomerang, pushing for Boomerang to get off the ground, it didn’t. We made no revenue, no sales. I wrote pages and pages on why it didn’t work. I have lists of what we did well, and lists of what we could have done differently. Patrick and I have had conversations about where it would need to go in order to be successful. We would want to pivot the business and sell it as a corporate service instead of selling it to individuals.

Moreover, we've had some big life changes as well. Patrick and his wife were blessed with their first adorable daughter in April, and his full-time job responsibilities also increased. While I’m so excited for them, this means he doesn’t have capacity for Boomerang. In August, my contractor job at Smucker’s also presented an opportunity to manage our team of seven. Jumping into corporate finance at the management level solved a few things for me. First, in the world of real jobs, an entrepreneur “falling behind professionally” is a real thing. And if your startup never starts up, getting a real job again is a reality you’ll have to tackle. This open door made professional sense as another management opportunity likely wouldn’t actualize so easily. Second, having a real job again will support some of my other life goals that require capital, like one day buying a house somewhere and retiring.

Sadly, having a real job again with significant responsibility and stress means less time for Boomerang. At the end of the day, thinking about pivoting Boomerang on my own is daunting and undesirable.

So, I’m going to dissolve the business. I truly thank you for all of your support. And who knows, if another business partner comes along, maybe we’ll try this one again, or maybe a different venture. Either way, I’ll keep you posted.

With Gratitude,

Emily

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Boomerang Champions

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Boomerang Champions

As a startup, our biggest challenge is getting the word out about who we are and what we’re doing.

So, we’re asking for help through our Boomerang Champions program!

Become a Boomerang Champion by Doing One or More of the Below Options:

  1. Host a brown bag lunch or happy hour with your co-workers to share about Boomerang, our trips, upcoming events, etc. Patrick and/or Emily would love to come if it’s in SF!

  2. Make 12 email intros (cc:ing us) to your friends, who might be seriously interested in Boomerang. We can even send you a customizable email template!

  3. If you're a social media pro, make 10 posts about Boomerang over the course of a year on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can even share something we post-- that totally counts! We’re also happy to send you posts to use.

  4. Host a dinner for at least 4 people where some of the night is spent sharing about Boomerang, our trips, events, etc.

  5. Host an international development event on a topic of your choice. We can help with the planning too.
     

    If you have other ideas, please let us know and we’ll likely strike a deal! For any type of event, we are here to support the planning and implementation. We can send you handouts, PowerPoint decks, participate in the event, etc.

WHAT WE WILL OFFER OUR CHAMPIONS: 

  • If you become a Boomerang Champion by completing one or more of the options above, we will praise you on our Website/social media (unless you prefer otherwise), and you will hold the dearest of places in our hearts!

  • For any Champion who does 3 or more of the options within a year, we will give him/her praise on our Website/social media, as well as enter him/her into a drawing to join us on a Boomerang trip of their choice over the next two years, all ground expenses covered. Drawings will be held once each year.

If this opportunity interests you, please reach out:

emily@boomerangcommunities.com
patrick@boomerangcommunities.com

Sincerely,

Emily & Patrick


Boomerang Communities is a startup in the Bay Area that leads working professionals on short, international volunteer trips, and back home, we help Boomerang members stay engaged using their unique skill sets. 

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Chapter Leaders

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Chapter Leaders

Looking for that perfect leadership opportunity in 2016?! We're searching for Boomerang chapter leaders, ideally three per meetup group! We’re keen to build out our San Francisco team, but if you live elsewhere and want to start a Boomerang meetup group, we’d love to talk!

Boomerang Communities is a startup in the Bay Area that leads working professionals on international volunteer trips, and back home, through meetups, we figure out how to be meaningfully involved in our spare time using our unique skill sets. www.boomerangcommunities.com

In 2015, our San Francisco chapter, BoomerangSF, gained 183 meetup members and hosted 15 events, primarily a monthly int’l development book club, and socials discussing int’l development topics. We’re looking for our chapter leaders to build on this first year, and take meetups to the next level!

Who You Are:

  • You’re a champion of many causes, organizations and/or products. You naturally attract people to projects and love getting them on board. You love Boomerang’s vision and want to help us grow the organization in formation and reach!

  • You get excited about bringing people together, hosting events, and planning. You’re organized, and running successful events is a breeze.

  • You’re ready to be part of team and play a role -- Event Coordinator, Community Engagement, Partnership Lead.

What We’re Asking:

  • Commitment to collaborate with a small team (of 3 chapter leaders per meetup group) for one year as a volunteer.

  • Commitment to organize 2 - 3 meetups a month / 20 meetups for the year. (Attendance is not required at all events, just commitment to your role(s) as-- administrator, marketing, logistics, follow-up, etc.)

What We Can Offer:

  • Custom Professional Networking / Career coaching / Leadership training

  • All expenses on the ground of one Boomerang trip
     

If you’re interested in this opportunity, please send us an email with your resume by Friday, Jan. 22  and we’ll be in touch!

emily@boomerangcommunities.com

patrick@boomerangcommunities.com

 

All the best,


Emily & Patrick

 

 

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A Simple, Yet Bold Goal

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A Simple, Yet Bold Goal

Boomerang started with a simple, yet bold goal. We want to transform how international volunteering works. As individuals who have traveled and collaborated with community organizations in many countries across the world, we were both dissatisfied with the state of international volunteering. From Benin to Botswana, we saw good intentions failing to meet community needs and participant expectations. 

Communities are often inundated with foreigners with minimal training and cultural context who are assigned to do work that is best done by locals. Sometimes this work is quite ineffective and doesn’t contribute to any sustainable solutions. In the worst case scenarios, more harm is done than help.

The most perceptive and well-intentioned volunteers realize that they've joined an endless train of experiences sold as feel good opportunities that lack tangible impact, rather than a community committed to long-term relationships and sustainable development.

We want to change the paradigm. We want to end the cycle of one-off engagements, rich only in photo-ops and stories to tell back home, with little follow-up on either side. Our vision is to create long-term and mutually-beneficial relationships between communities in the U.S. and abroad.

If our goal resonates with you, we invite you to join us in Mexico in March 2016 to support a leading social enterprise! (Click here for trip details)

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Our Ideal International Partner

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Our Ideal International Partner

People have asked me whether Boomerang benefits its members or its international partners. I often give a long answer because our aim is to benefit both, our members and our partners.

Our ideal partner would want the same. They would see the value of the short trip and support our members as they experience a new culture filled with people who live differently than they do, often with less. They would look forward to our next visit, and the one after that. And our partner would be excited about how our members could support their work with real professional skills, and for longer than just a short trip.

Ideally, our partners would be in a stage of growth where they need extra human capacity. They would have the capacity to set up short and meaningful visits for our teams who are eager to experience the culture, and learn about their work. And our partners would be able to create small projects that would benefit their organizational capacity, and could be done by our members from home over the next few months.

Finally, we’re hoping to find partners who include and lean on their communities in their work. Our ideal partners know the importance of community buy-in, engagement, and even management of projects. We want partners who understand the complexity of development, and who design their programs with significant support from their communities.

If you are or know of a potential partner that we should work with, please send us an email: emily@boomerangcommunities.com or patrick@boomerangcommunities.com

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Thank You!

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Thank You!

As I continue to build Boomerang Communities, two things have come to the forefront of my mind over and over and over again.

  1. Nothing is done alone. Nothing.

  2. The large quantity of thank yous, exclaimed in a loud, loud voice, that need to be said has grown into a mountain, and this blog is a feeble attempt at expressing what is due.

Though we didn’t reach the fundraising goal, 76 friends and family gave $5,055 to launch Boomerang! The campaign also signed up Boomerang’s first 25 members! In addition, the word spread about Boomerang. (Indiegogo tells me that at least 1,500 people saw Facebook posts, and 650 tweets mentioned Boomerang!) If you posted on social media, thank you so much!!! I know that it is not everyone’s go-to form of communication, so I very much appreciate it!

Without further ado, I want to deeply thank, with all my soul, the following supporters and new Boomerang members!

Kylie Baker                                                                                           Melissa Baldwin                                                                             Eric Baldwin    
Ryan Batsie                                                                                          Dave Bebb                                                                                     Nathan Bell
Jon Berry                                                                                              Dan Bolton                                                                                     Sarah Bonta
Jason Bonta                                                                                         Allison Bouley                                                                                Katie Brown
Lindy Brown                                                                                         Trevor Brunt                                                                                   Allison Busch

Ryan Chen                                                                                           Cheryl Collins                                                                                 Doug Crow
Lolly Crow                                                                                            Alice Demas                                                                                   Reagan Demas
Virginia Mattingly                                                                                Nkechi Emeruwa                                                                            Chris Fearon
Martha Firehock                                                                                  Chris Firehock                                                                                Leslie Hodel
Julie Golton                                                                                         Jacki Griffin                                                                                     Lisa Haas
Ken Haas                                                                                             Alan Heck                                                                                       Spencer Hemphill
Alec Hoey                                                                                            Desi Icitrajkova                                                                              Vladimir Aleksov
Derek Kessen                                                                                      Arthur Kok                                                                                      Mimi Kwok
Stephen Litsas                                                                                    Jane Lucas                                                                                      Michelle Martini
Nathan McCauley                                                                               Zack Mellette                                                                                  Rachel Moy
Bahia Muriello                                                                                     Dan Muriello                                                                                   Kat Nagel
Poongs Muthukumaran                                                                     Catie Vandervoort                                                                          Virginia Nurmi
Patrick O'Donnell                                                                               Emma Njimogna                                                                             Jared Palmer
Scott Purswell                                                                                     Mary Schaller                                                                                 Paul Schaller
Donna Schevers                                                                                 Kim Schreiber                                                                                Trudy Sharp
Chris Tangen                                                                                      Simon Tanksley                                                                             Rebecca Trego
CJ Vaughn                                                                                          Jamie Walker                                                                                 Amy Witt
Nick Wolf                                                                                             Joyia Yorgey                                                                                 Tritia Yuen
Michael Zeligs 

I also want to thank the other 19 contributors who chose to be anonymous! Also, my apologies if you gave cash during the kickoff party and you are not mentioned above. I appreciate you very much!!

Here’s to 2015-- Boomerang’s first year and all that is to come!!!

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Digging Deeper into Boomerang's Vision

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Digging Deeper into Boomerang's Vision

Yesterday, I sent out an email about our Indiegogo campaign ending (at midnight tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 14!). That we likely won’t reach the fundraising goal has not decreased, in the least, my crazy excitement for our first year. Here’s why.

I envision impacting the worldviews of young professionals now, when we are making some money, so that when we are making more money, when we are higher up on our professional ladders, when we have significant decision-making powers, we will do good. We will leverage our Boomerang experiences, we will remember the faces and the relationships, and we will remember the poverty and the injustice. These things will impact our corporate social responsibility decisions, our corporate and personal philanthropic choices, our daily spending habits, our volunteering, and how we continue to engage those without.

Boomerang is designed to help those in developing communities, but maybe more so, it is designed to transform those in developed communities. It is designed to help people today, but maybe more so, it is designed to have long-term, large-scale impact in our future.

If this vision resonates with you, if you believe in it too, then join us. Become a member, post on social media, spread the word. http://igg.me/at/boomerang/x/8901452

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Indiegogo Extended Through Wednesday, January 14, 2015!

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Indiegogo Extended Through Wednesday, January 14, 2015!

We’ve extended our Indiegogo campaign through Wednesday, January 14. Only 9 days left! We’d love your consideration as you support awesome causes this year!

http://igg.me/at/boomerang/x/8901452

Boomerang’s competitive advantage is leveraging the power of the short-term volunteer experience into long-term international development support. Our focus on long-term impact is the difference between us and other short-term volunteer groups.

Wait, but what do you do exactly? Boomerang will facilitate: 

  • International volunteer Vision Trips. Our staff will plan and go with our volunteers on ~2 week-long trips. 
  • Meetup communities in cities and virtually. Our staff will host meetups, coordinate speakers and events, and lead virtual meetups. 
  • Long-term stateside volunteer opportunities (3-6 months). We will connect members with skill-appropriate volunteer work. Our international partners will drive the type of work we offer to our members.

But wait, what is your revenue model? Currently, our revenue will come from annual membership fees and Vision Trip fees. Long-term we will sell the Vision Trips service to corporations.

As of today, your Indiegogo support of ~$4,200 will be used for legal fees ($800/year for the LLC), and a scouting trip to visit our international partners in preparation for 2015 and 2016 Vision Trips. Any left over support will pay for Facebook advertising (~$50/mo.), and software and hardware like Quickbooks and a video camera to support operations.

While your support is highly appreciated, it will not cover all of our operating costs for 2015. If I’m being honest, we probably won’t be in the black for a few years. For my salary, I’ll be taking a few short-term temp jobs and continuing to provide a ride-sharing service with my car. None of your support will be going towards payroll.

Boomerang has received sound feedback since our Indiegogo “launch.” Some of the best advice I’ve been given is to “be willing to pivot.” 2015 is our first year of trying things out to see what sticks. We hope you believe in this vision as much as we do, and that you'll join us as a member to create something beautiful and powerful for the long-term.

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Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving

There’s a lot going on right now. There are birth announcements, Ferguson, new job announcements, someone’s heart-wrenching tribute to a loved one’s recent death, wedding photos, and posts about gay marriage. As someone who likes to take it all in, I am often overwhelmed.

And yet, I sit here eating leftovers from my second (of three) Thanksgiving meals. I’m thankful for so much—for delicious leftovers, for friends in a big city, for a gracious community that has supported me in the launch of Boomerang—but even my own list reminds me of how privileged I am. I live in an apartment in San Francisco. I have a car. I have hot showers and clean drinking water every day. I eat three meals a day. I buy things I do not need. I have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I have electricity every day. Millions of people do not live the way I do.

Millions.

But I am thankful for my life. And with the blessing and privilege I’ve been given, I’m starting Boomerang to mobilize a social good army to tackle some of the things that are not as good. Boomerang leads working professionals on volunteer trips overseas, and back home, through meetups, we figure out how to be meaningfully involved in our spare time. Our vision is for communities of entrepreneurs, talent and investors to wisely pursue ventures that engage significant global development issues over the long-term without having to quit their day jobs. As you run through what you’re thankful for, please consider supporting our vision for a better world. (Click here to learn more.)

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Why I am starting Boomerang Communities: The Professional View

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Why I am starting Boomerang Communities: The Professional View

Yesterday, I wrote that Boomerang Communities is going to mobilize more people to see the developing world, care more deeply, and act to affect positive change. Our website explains that we’ll do this by leading volunteer trips overseas. These trips are designed for working professionals. They are short, approx. 10 days, and, along with volunteering, we will do some tourist activities as well. Some people might say Boomerang Communities is another voluntourism organization. Voluntourism is a style of travel that involves both tourism and volunteering. At first, we did not like this term; but, in all honesty, we do fit the definition… we just have bigger dreams.

The voluntourism industry is appealing to a certain target audience, but it has its downfalls. Organizations receiving help are excited for the extra talent and fresh passion, but the impact of a short volunteer experience is minimal, and still takes large resources to manage. On the other hand, most working professionals, those with talent, resources, and a desire to help, can’t afford to volunteer overseas long-term without quitting their jobs. The luxury of a two-year Peace Corps commitment amidst career advancement does not exist. The gap in the voluntourism industry is that short-term trips aren’t leading to long-term engagement.

Boomerang Communities’ focus is on the long-term. We will support long-term engagement by leveraging the power of the short-term volunteer experience, and, back home, work with our members to transform their experiences into long-term involvement. We will fill the gap in the voluntourism industry. We will strengthen it.

Thanks again for reading! And please consider supporting us during our Indiegogo campaign starting this Sunday, Nov. 16!

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Why I am starting Boomerang Communities: The Personal View

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Why I am starting Boomerang Communities: The Personal View

From serving in developing countries, it has been heavily pressed into me that the way I live is starkly, shockingly different from the way most people in the world live. I have walked by people living on $2 a day or less. I have lived among people who only have electricity half the days of each month, and I have seen the difficulty this puts on running effective business. I have befriended small business owners who have never tracked revenue or expenses. I have played soccer with teenagers who do not know how to read. These experiences caused me to wrestle with the disparity of wealth that was given to me compared to what others were given.

The most powerful and formative experiences of my life have come while volunteering in developing countries. I am privileged because of the things I have seen. I am thankful because of them. I am humbled by them. They shape how I live my life, my career path, how I spend my money, and what I choose to love. They have taught me about pride, sacrifice, humility, joy, hardship, equality, materialism, power, and love.

I am creating Boomerang Communities because I passionately want to give these types of experiences to others. Because I have witnessed and learned from the developing world, I care deeply about poverty, injustice, gender inequality, job creation, fair trade… and the list goes on. I want to mobilize more people to see these things, care more deeply, and act to affect positive change.

Stay-tuned for tomorrow’s post on the professional reasons for starting this business, and please consider supporting us during our Indiegogo campaign, starting this Sunday, Nov. 16!

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IndieGoGo Coming Sunday, November 16!

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IndieGoGo Coming Sunday, November 16!

We are leading short-term volunteer trips and leveraging their power to create long-term engagement with development issues around the world. We will lead volunteers overseas to support our international partners and facilitate city-based communities at home to work through how to be involved long-term. As we wrote about last week, our first short-term Vision trip is scheduled for February 2015 to support Mayan families in the Yucatan Peninsula! Learn about the trip details and sign up to go during our IndieGoGo campaign!

Our IndieGoGo Campaign Dates--Mark Your Calendar! 
Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014 – Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014

The strongest crowdfunded campaigns need great momentum in the first 24 hours, so we're asking as many people as possible to contribute the 1st day of our campaign, Sunday, November 16th!

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First Vision Trip Partners

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First Vision Trip Partners

We are excited to announce that for our first Vision Trip we will be partnering with a for-profit, The Hammock Boutique, and its non-profit arm, Cielo Foundation! We will be supporting both businesses in their work to support Mayan families, who are mostly illiterate, and living in poor conditions. 

The Hammock Boutique provides hammock materials to 700 Mayan families, who weave the materials into beautiful hammocks that are sold internationally. 90% of the weavers are women and mothers, who work from the comfort of their own homes, at a pace that allows them to run their households. These beautiful hammocks are a way of life for these families, and they preserve the Mayan culture. The income the families receive from the hammocks greatly supports their livelihoods. 

Cielo Foundation, formed in the summer of 2014, is the non-profit arm of The Hammock Boutique. The vision of the foundation is to support socioeconomic development of Mayan communities so as to break the cycle of generational poverty. The focus areas of the foundation are education, health and leadership development. 

We are excited about a long-term partnership with both organizations! Stay-tuned for more details about the Vision Trip scheduled for February 2015! 

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