At the 2020 Ada’s List Conf, we launched our new Ada’s List Patron programme — thank you so much for your support so far. We’ve loved hearing from all of our new patrons about how Ada’s List has supported them (or a friend) in their careers. Ada’s List is the place people come to to find co-founders, new jobs, hire new teammates, get advice, find a mentor/mentee, and generally come to conspire with other like-minded women.
What we wanted to do now is paint a picture of why we have decided to do this. We firmly believe it’s the right thing to do to best focus on Ada’s List — and now we want to open up our books so you can see where we are coming from.
From side gig to full-time: some Ada’s List history
Ada’s List was launched in October of 2013 and was fully volunteer-led until October of 2019. In that time, it grew from 4 co-founders to close to 7200 women globally. Co-Founders Merici and/or Anjali ran the community with a dedicated group of volunteers who helped run events and set the strategy. Ada’s List was a side-gig for both of us. Our ability to successfully work with those great volunteers depended greatly on what was happening at the time in our careers, families, lives, global politics, and beyond.
In October 2019, Merici took on the role full-time. She bootstrapped it with savings for the first 3 months and gave herself the goal of finding some financial sustainability…or finding a new job.
The journey to financial sustainability
Since then, we’ve launched our Jobs Channel; worked with 2 great annual partners; held event series with 2 event partners; met an amazing donor; and had 10 sponsors at the 2019 Ada’s List Conf.
We hired 4 part-time staffers — job creation FTW!
That’s what we’ve been up to for the last year. As most organisations, I call 2020 the “year of different plans” and we managed to pivot our strategy a number of times to both meet our members’ needs in a time of extremes, as well as find a way to stay afloat ourselves. Pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished.
2021 (assuming there is one)
Now that we have a full year behind us, we can get more accurate about our projections and the shape of our team for the coming year. We want to share this with you so you, our community, can understand a bit more how we operate and why we believe launching a patron program is the best way for us to achieve the sustainability we need to keep our community independent and alive.
We shared this slide during the 2020 Conf. It’s a start towards where we want to get to — which is greater transparency around all of our operations. What’s not included above is Merici’s salary, which is split between additional consulting opportunities and from Ada’s List revenue above. It 2021, it’s a goal to have most of this come from consulting roles to free up more funds for community management.
Our aim is to bring in ~£25,000 with our patron program. This will mean we can focus on our community, not finding external funds. It means we can remain independent, which is exactly what we want to do.
We wanted to start as we mean to go on — as open and transparent as possible. We recognise this might not answer all of the questions, so feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
What do you want to do with this new programme?
By launching a paid membership program, we want to focus on extra community management, even more jobs, and forging connection for our members. Here’s where we want to focus next year and beyond:
- Connecting to more jobs for women in tech
- Fewer women feeling alone in senior positions
- Building better support around women experiencing harassment and bullying
By including allies, we can give them content and actions to have them join our members on a journey to creating a more equitable tech sector. Allies who join Ada’s List also get quarterly newsletters (and we hope to overdeliver on that promise and give them even more great content).
We have a lot more planned — this is just the beginning, so stay tuned! We want to be the place that not just launches new businesses, teams, and careers — but also new campaigns, leadership roles, board seats, and more. We want to give our members wings so they can fly even higher. Support and join our efforts and become an Ada’s List Patron today.