Helping the YourCause CEO Achieve His Cause

Ryan Graber April 14, 2016 About YourCause

Recently our founder and CEO, Matt Combs, presented a unique challenge to all employees: find the boy who inspired YourCause. The reward: a round-trip flight to any location in the world!

This task is uniquely important to our CEO because finding this boy is part of Matt’s personal cause. Eleven years ago, Matt saw a Dateline NBC segment that highlighted the war-torn country of Uganda. In the segment, reporter Keith Morrison is seen interviewing a young boy, Patrick, whose family was tragically affected by the war.

Patrick’s story inspired Matt to take direct action. This action has led Matt on a journey that includes the founding of YourCause, and now this task.


Why I Was the Right Man For the Job

Imagine how difficult it is to find a boy from an 11-year-old TV segment who lives a continent away. After hearing the challenge, the hope of other employees was instantly deflated. But I was up to the task.

This was my opportunity to apply the business development strategies that I have been honing during my time at YourCause to do real good. My role here is to find the right person to connect with for our sales team. By scouring LinkedIn, among other sources, I have become a master at:

  • Locating decision makers
  • Creating email sequences
  • And Outreach management


Plus, my fiancé and I are planning our upcoming honeymoon, so I had some extra incentive.


The Search Begins

The only clue was the Dateline NBC story that Patrick appeared on.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 1.28.06 PM
The clue

When the meeting ended, I raced back to my desk to start searching how I could finally make Matt’s dream a reality. It would require the same process that I have come to know and love while working in sales development here at YourCause.

I began with a little background research by watching the story again. This led me to LinkedIn where I found an executive producer at NBC Universal who produced Dateline. Now I had a small lead to go on.

I was able to get this producer on the phone using the specific cold calling techniques YourCause uses. After explaining the reason for the call, the producer said that he would, “pass the information on to the correct person.”

This didn’t sound promising. But I thanked the producer for his time, gave him my contact information, and hung up the phone with my fingers crossed.

Follow-up is key, so I quickly drafted an email with all the details to send over. I was eager to convey that I wasn’t trying to sell anything BUT simply trying to connect Matt with Patrick – hoping that would increase my chances of connecting with the producer of Children of War in Uganda.


The Call That Changed Everything

A New York number appeared on my phone, and I hurriedly answered. The voice on the other end was Tim Sandler, who not only produced the documentary that featured Patrick, but who was also personally connected to him.

Tim Sandler LinkedIn
I find a lead.


I explained to Mr. Sandler the impact that his production had created, which is now seen around the world in corporate social responsibility through YourCause. A teary-eyed Mr. Sandler told me that he had spoken to Patrick earlier that week and would be happy to connect him with Matt.

While this was happening a colleague sprinted upstairs to pry Matt from his end of the day Ping-Pong game (not an easy task). Matt hopped on the call, and the two men had an emotion-filled conversation over the phone. They both shared a connection with a child who had both changed their lives for the better.

Patrick has a much-improved life since the documentary aired, and plans are in motion for a meeting between Patrick and Matt during a trip to Africa this summer. Matt has shared his own experience with this phone call on another blog post.


Lessons Learned

After this experience, I took a step back to view what was accomplished.

We don’t all have life-altering experiences like Matt Combs and producer Tim Sandler. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a cause to believe in. My time at YourCause has taught me the power of collaboration. Matt gave me the gift of a plane ticket, sure, but more importantly, he gave me an opportunity to have my own cause.

I was able to use my skills to assist another in achieving their cause. I realized that this is what our larger goal is here at YourCause. We use our professional skills to help others fulfill their cause and make a difference in the world.

Moving forward, I’ll always keep the story of connecting Patrick and Matt in the back of my mind. I now understand more clearly how my role at YourCause is a part of a bigger picture.

With this, I challenge you to embrace the difficult tasks at hand in your life and to take them as a chance to grow while impacting those around you.

And when my honeymoon comes, I’ll be kicking it on the beach knowing that I did good in the world.