It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog post. The past few months have been an eye-opening experience and one that I've learned a lot of life lessons from. I am making the decision to indefinitely cease operations for 1MillionShirts. I believe that life is all about timing and that with my other business, now is not the time to undertake building a non-profit organization. I don't want to completely remove the website as I do see an opportunity to revisit it, and by leaving it up, it's my hope that others may learn from this experience.
The negative feedback, the angry blog posts, the scathing emails, all of that has had no effect on this decision. Trust me, I had a lot more negative feedback with iwearyourshirt.com.
I think he misses the point of the criticisms that he received when the idea started. The point was to show that beginning not-for-profit projects is not easy. The discouragement was not aimed to say it is impossible, but to show that there needs to be significant thought, planning, time, and energy when starting something like One Million Shirts.
So, as he says that he cannot continue due to lack of time, and then follows up by saying that the feedback had nothing to do with it, Jason still does not seem to get it. So, I would like to address Jason, clarify why bloggers reacted as we did, and offer some encouragement.
Jason, here is a secret: we are not having a party because you did not succeed. Champagne was not uncorked with hearty back slaps and chuckles in the aid blog community. We did not want YOU to fail. There was a recognition that your idea was put together with some poor advice and propelled by good intentions. Some reactions were strong, but many, such as myself, encouraged you to put your talents to use in a better way. One Million Shirts is not a program that uses your talents to their fullest. With your ability to launch, maintain and grow I Wear Your Shirt, it is undeniable that you have a talent to leverage social media with innovation and little resources. So, I do not want to entirely discourage you. However, I caution that you approach your new project (or the continuation of 1MS) in a more deliberate manner.
To finish, here is a final secret: the people who criticized you would much rather work with individuals who have dynamic ideas and talents to develop programs that will be effective and sustainable. Smart Aid is not an idea that espouses the demolition of innovation, it wants to encourage it.
For anyone interested in starting a non profit or NGO: there are great resources in Twitter, the blogosphere, and so on, put them to use and learn now you can be effective and deliver smart aid.