Ep 36: The Community Builder Who Became a Philanthropist (with Stu McLaren)

by Joan Garry

How does one of the foremost experts in building online communities end up working to help thousands of children in Africa get a daily education?


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How does a highly successful entrepreneur – one of the foremost experts in building online communities – end up devoting his time and energy to making sure thousands of children in Africa have a chance for a daily education?

What motivates this entrepreneur, who no longer feels guilty about making lots of money due to the nonprofit he co-founded?

What can he teach us about funding a tiny nonprofit (only 2 full time staff) so it can make an enormous impact?

And how has he used his deep knowledge of how to build a raving fan base online to benefit his charity?

We cover all of this and more in today’s episode of Nonprofits Are Messy.

About Stu McLaren

Stu McLaren is the co-founder of World Teacher Aid, a Canadian charity with the mission to improve education in the developing world. This philanthropy has become his passion and his “big why.”

As the former founder of the world’s #1 membership platform for WordPress, WishList Member, he had the chance to serve and support over 60,000+ online communities and membership sites. Through that experience, he gained a unique insight into the subtle membership nuances that produce massive results.

Today Stu uses that knowledge to help his clients launch and grow high-revenue membership sites. He also coaches and consults New York Times best-selling authors, top rated speakers, experts and niche celebrities on how to launch, grow and scale high-profit recurring revenue streams.

His goal is to give to his charity the bulk of the revenues that come into his business.

In this episode:

  • How a successful entrepreneur turned his eye to philanthropy
  • Why you shouldn’t feel guilty if you do make a lot of money
  • Why Stu chose to focus on Africa
  • Why working insane hours is exactly the wrong approach
  • How “touching the work” makes all the difference
  • The impact of Oprah’s “The Big Give”
  • How World Teacher Aid started (it’s kind of crazy…)
  • Getting the right people on the bus
  • How Stu approached fundraising
  • How to make donors feel like “members”
  • How to attract the people who want to get involved
  • The keys to building online communities

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