Ep 11: Running a charity event and the art of giving – with Joe Pournovin

joe pournovinAlthough money is a big variable, most people who choose to become an entrepreneur are driven by a different set of motivations. They may look for more freedom or try to avoid authority etc. But very often they simply want to do something meaningful that can impact the world. I think that Charities are probably the best representation of this driver.

Running a charity is like running a startup, if not more difficult. They both have to figure out their audience, raise fundings, do marketing campaigns, and sell their message out there. But the big differentiator is that a charity gives its money away instead of reinvesting it! So if you’ve ever wondered how to stay lean, my advice would be that you should take example on Charity management.

To talk about Charities, I was pleased to invite Joe Pournovin, founder of the Yamathon, a massive Charity event that has kept growing over the years. The Yamathon is basically a marathon event around the Yamanote train line (a railway loop line in Tokyo.)  Initially started in 2010 with a simple Facebook event, it has grown to over 500 participants and 70 volunteers as of 2014.

I asked Joe about the story behind this fantastic initiative and he’s sharing with us his adventure over the years, including the struggles he had to face along the way. We cover questions such as: How to raise fundings? How to do marketing with limited resources? How to manage a team of volunteers? We also discuss about the art of giving and the personal reward you can actually gain from helping others.

This episode will also make you want to sweat more. We discuss about the pleasure of running and its physical and mental benefits. This conversation really made me want to do some more exercise and feel invincible. Because this is really how you feel when you surpass yourself with physical challenges.


Questions: What would make you volunteer more? Why would you recommend others to volunteer? (reply in the comments)

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Show notes

  • (02:00) Introduction of Joe Pournovin
  • (06:37) What is the Yamathon
  • (10:27) Working with charities
  • (13:54) Growing event year after year
  • (20:30) Team challenge
  • (22:32) Main struggles
  • (26:24) Raising funds from sponsors
  • (30:54) Volunteering for the Yamathon
  • (33:33) The meaning of giving
  • (37:37) Managing a team you don’t pay
  • (39:56) Quick-fire questions

Thanks for listening!

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