I was woken by a violent shake. When I opened my eyes, the whole house was trembling. It was an earthquake! After living in San Francisco for almost 5 years, I became numb to small earthquakes that occurred here and there, but this one was bigger. When I turned on the TV in the morning, I learned that the earthquake I felt was quite severe, hurting various towns in the Bay Area, especially Napa. News reporters showed gloomy faces of winery owners who lost years of hard work – their products shattered all over the floor and their facilities destroyed.
On my way to the office, I could not help but think about these owners. Then, a few days later, my team and I got an inbound request from Bluxome winery to see if Wonolo could somehow help out in the recovery effort. They were in the process of finding volunteers and with less than a day to go, they were still short-handed. They thought that Wonolo’s on-demand staffing platform could be used to find some more volunteers at the last minute.
Using Wonolo for a volunteer opportunity was something we always daydreamed about, but weren’t sure whether this would be possible. We decided to give it a try and posted the volunteer job on Wonolo. The notification went out to all Wonoloers instantly and in the next few minutes, 6 Wonoloers filled the volunteer jobs.
My team and I could not believe it. We knew that Wonoloers were amazing, but did not think that so many of them would be willing to raise their hands to volunteer their precious time on a Saturday. The next day, Wonoloers showed up on time and worked hard to contribute to the recovery effort in Napa.
This was one of the proudest moments for the Wonolo team, being able to contribute somehow – giving back to our community. We created Wonolo because we strongly believed that technology could enable companies to get their urgent and unpredictable jobs filled immediately by people who were available then to get jobs done. At the same time, we would create opportunities for these people, “Wonoloers”, to make extra income. More importantly, we would empower them to choose to work whenever, wherever and for whomever they want.
Now, Wonolo is helping not only for-profit businesses, but also various charity activities and non-profit organizations. For example, Lubbley, a non-profit organization that is run by local students to help neighbors, is using Wonolo to send new job notifications to their volunteers whenever their neighbors need help. With Wonolo, they can mobilize and track their volunteers quicker and more efficiently than any other method (e.g. email, calls, texts, etc.)
Despite the ups and downs of the startup journey, knowing that we are actually making a difference to our community is one of the reasons why building Wonolo has been so rewarding. I would like to take this opportunity to properly thank Wonoloers who helped with the Napa recovery effort. Thank you, Joe B., Adrianne J., Sonja S., Ebrahim L., Duygu G., Guliz K.