Impacting the World's Most Fundamental Needs in a Practical Way



Posted11/25/2016 1:00 AM

What would motivate a 20 year-old entrepreneur to turn his back on a six-figure salary and equity in the company he helped create and grow into significance while in college?

The answer: Being able to literally change the world for the better.


Did you know that there are more than 130 million internet searches per month looking for ways to get involved with various causes? Clearly, an indication that people are interested in causes globally. Despite that, nonprofits still struggle to get the visibility and funding they need.

That is why Project World Impact was created.

Project World Impact was founded in 2013, while I was attending Taylor University in Indiana. Before that, I helped start a successful marketing company with clients ranging in size from Fortune 500's to small single person startups. While doing research, it became clear that over a million nonprofits in the United States (both large and small) wanted to grow in the same three areas--funding, volunteers, and visibility online. Also evident, were common reasons that nonprofits were struggling in those areas:

1. There's no easy way to find nonprofits: If you Google information about any cause, you may find one or two nonprofits listed, but the other 99-plus percent remain hidden, with little hope of being found. They are at a loss as to how to generate new traffic or let people know what they do. PWI's solution was to create a central hub for nonprofits ( where millions of users could easily find ways to get involved in the causes, countries, or nonprofits they care about. is a combination search engine, social media platform, news resource, and online marketplace. It took multiple years to develop and it officially launched in the spring of 2016.

2. Nonprofits don't use the latest marketing strategies and software: The best marketing strategies seem too expensive for many nonprofits. However, there are affordable approaches. PWI has helped hundreds of nonprofits grow their donor base, receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding, and reach their marketing and fundraising goals.

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PWI also gives every nonprofit access to cutting edge software, such as: PWI Storyteller--a powerful video and social driven testimonial app; PWI Fund--allowing supporters to designate 5% of their purchases to a nonprofit of their choice (that's 10x Amazon Smile); PWI Convene--a fully customizable conference app; and many other tools to help manage events, get volunteers, raise funds, and more. These software and apps are how PWI provides effective and affordable technology solutions to nonprofits.

3. Nonprofits lack full-range marketing support: A nonprofit Executive Director recently commented that when he was in the corporate world, he had access to great marketing resources. However, now that he is in the nonprofit world, there are a limited number of full-range marketing alternatives who understand the unique needs of nonprofits and can work within their limited budgets. He felt it critical for nonprofits to find a source to meet a wide-range of needs.

He ended up turning to PWI's marketing services arm for that support. We were able to provide strategic and marketing strategy consulting; web and app support (website and app building); search engine optimization (SEO); social media management (SMM); AdWords management, creative designs (print, email, direct mail, promotional items, and video); along with hands on marketing support. Consistent with our mission, PWI provides significantly discounted marketing services to nonprofits in order to help them expand their reach and impact the world in a more meaningful way.

When thinking about starting PWI, there was one specific thought that made me "take the leap"--"If we could help tens of thousands of nonprofits who are in-turn helping tens of thousands of people, then indirectly, we'd be able to impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people!" That is the mission of PWI--to impact the world's most fundamental needs in a practical way. We have a long way to go, but at least we have taken the first few steps in the journey and it is working great--with over 2 million monthly viewers via our website and social media.

• Chris Lesner is founder and CEO of Project World Impact LLC in Wheaton.

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