connect / 2014

Do Good Bus

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Do Good Bus

We are a party bus with a purpose to do GOOD in Los Angeles and to connect people to one another with a common goal in mind.


Please describe yourself.

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

We are a party bus with a purpose to do GOOD in Los Angeles and to connect people to one another with a common goal in mind.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Bay
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

Hop on the bus and we’ll do the rest! Here at the Do Good Bus, we deliver an exciting and engaging opportunity to get involved with your community and to do GOOD in the city of Los Angeles. Each trip is different and the location/cause is kept a secret until we arrive. We currently host a monthly community ride to give Los Angelenos the opportunity to learn about local causes, experience giving back and most importantly, connect with other people in their city. Over the past three years, we’ve visited dozens of causes and connected hundreds of volunteers and are proud to say each passenger left feeling accomplished and connected to one another.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

With the word spreading about our project, we need funding to keep up with the demand and implement our additional ideas.

OUR OWN BUS! We recently purchased our own bus but have some final repairs and upgrades to make before we can get it on the road. We will also have new costs to cover (ie. maintenance, fuel, driver training, storage, etc.).

FREE RIDES We believe there is true value in a Do Good Bus ticket, but we know purchasing a ticket can be a barrier for some, so we would like the opportunity to provide a free community ride every other month and get more people on the bus.

KIDS AND GIVING BACK In line with the LA2050 report about the direct connection between education and social connectedness, we’ve been working on ideas to engage students via the Do Good Bus. We are committed to teaching our youth the importance of giving back and connecting with their community. In fact, we’ve hosted FAMILY RIDES to give families access to kid-friendly volunteer activities and teach kids the vocabulary and concepts of giving back. We would love to offer the same experience to students in Los Angeles schools - giving teachers an opportunity to incorporate volunteerism into their curriculums.

The LA2050 report also suggests education levels are directly related to social connectedness levels. While we don’t have the resources to ensure kids make it to their senior year, we think exposing kids to unique experiences on a Do Good Field Trip, will give them a chance to connect with each other and with a world outside of the classroom. In addition, a Do Good Field Trip would expose students to unique career options (ie. Non-profit CEO or Do Good Bus tour guide) - potentially giving them new motivation to make it through school.

There are two important factors to ensure we can implement our idea: hire a part-time staff member and finish outfitting our bus. Specifically, outfitting the bus includes: registration, permitting, insurance, final mechanical tune up, new seating, driver training and storage.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CONNECT today? In 2050?

Today, there are numerous ways that the Do Good Bus will help make LA the best place to connect. With our busy schedules and hectic lives, taking the time to volunteer and do good by others is not always factored in. Our engaging and unique approach to volunteering truly sets us apart and attracts many Los Angelenos who may have not considered getting involved in their community before.

Another way that our efforts will help connect is through one of our goals on the bus, encouraging continued support. For us, that doesn’t always mean returning to the same cause we may have just visited. During a ride, passengers are not only exposed to meaningful causes they are also introduced to what it FEELS like to give back. We encourage them to harness that feeling and search for ways to find it again in their everyday lives. We strongly believe that inspiration in people will continue to shape Los Angeles into a more connected place.

By 2050, we see the future of the Do Good Bus much bigger than before. One of our goals is to collaborate with schools to implement Do Good Bus field trips for students. Children will be exposed to our unique and different way of doing good as well as understanding the importance of getting involved in their community. With that said, we can expect that the future generation of doGOODers will use what they’ve learned and create more innovative ways to connect to one another in Los Angeles.

Whom will your project benefit?

The wonderful thing about our project is that it will benefit so many other causes who are also committed to making LA the best it can be by 2050. By transporting volunteers to causes all over LA and bringing awareness to those causes - we’re collaborating with potentially hundreds of charitable foundations! We saw this first hand this year when Do Good Bus collaborated with No Right Brain Left Behind by bringing multiple groups of volunteers to help complete their LA2050 Grant Project (2013). In addition to No Right Brain Left Behind, some of the causes our project has and will benefit are: MEND Poverty, the LA Food Bank, Best Friends Animal Society, EnrichLA and so many more.

If Do Good Bus can host multiple rides per month and offer a handful of free rides, we can give more Los Angelenos an opportunity to connect and give back. In one year, over 1,000 people will be newly connected and if we add Do Good Field Trips to that number, we end up with over 1,000 newly connected kids as well.

In addition to free rides and Do Good Field Trips, with our own bus we now have a unique opportunity to help Los Angeles in a hyper-local capacity. With 24-hour access to a vehicle equipped with supplies and enough seats for 30 willing volunteers, we’d have the capability to coordinate last minute trips to help our neighbors in a time of emergency or disaster relief. This might be the most exciting element of owning our own vehicle.

Not only does our project benefit the causes we visit, but each and every passenger on the Do Good Bus is also benefited through the relationships they build during the ride. We ensure a captivating and interactive experience that brings like-minded individuals together in a city where it can be challenging to connect with one another. We’re a party bus with a purpose and there is no better alternative to make new friends than by taking this journey with us!

One ride at a time, Do Good Bus can begin to shape Los Angeles into a more connected city; one with informed and inspired residents who can help one another.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

One of our confirmed overall collaborators is Dogeared Jewelry, who has been a supporter of the Do Good Bus since the beginning. They are a B Corp and are extremely committed to giving back. The added benefit provided is their help retrofitting our new bus and their ability to build our awareness.

Some other partnerships who will be working with us are:

BUS PARTNERS For the nitty gritty logistics, Townride, Inc. is interested in using their expertise to help us through the refurbishing process of creating the coolest Do Good Bus possible. We are also working on a plan to partner with Townride for storage and maintenance.

EDUCATION PARTNERS As for causes and organizations who can help us make Do Good Field Trips a reality, we’re looking forward to working with No Right Brain Left Behind, Green Dot Schools, Breakaway Education and Zimmer Children’s Museum.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Total number of social media friends (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

Rate of volunteerism - The Do Good Bus will make the largest impact in this category and our returning clients are evidence of that. Our primary goal of these bus rides is directly in line with increasing the rate of volunteerism as well as making strong connections with one another.

Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric) - This percentage will also increase as we encourage everyone who does a Do Good Bus ride to continue getting involved and doing good in their daily lives. We hope to provide an exciting experience that will get people thinking of other, informal ways to volunteer as well.

Total number of social media friends (Dream Metric) - We utilize our social media platforms every day as well as providing live updates during the rides. We stress the importance of staying connected through social media and encourage our do-gooders to follow us and the cause by tweeting, instagraming, & tagging or posting pictures showing their experience on Facebook.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

We keep track of how many people experience the Do Good Bus each year and how many of those people return to volunteer at select causes. If we could double our numbers, we’d consider it a huge success.

Outside of pure numbers and excel spreadsheets, we measure our success by trying to accomplish three goals:

  1. Create Awareness
  2. Create Community
  3. Encourage Continued Support

We already track each of these goals and would continue to do so by doing the following:

AWARENESS: We are creating awareness about Los Angeles causes for Do Good Bus participants, which is easy to measure by simply counting how many people get on the bus. But we are also committed to creating a broader awareness for each specific cause by consistently mentioning and supporting them via Do Good Bus social networks and ideally, the social networks of our 30 passengers. We know the power of word of mouth and encourage all our participants to share their experience via social media and good ol’ fashioned coffee dates. We are currently working on a template to track and report increased awareness for the non-profits we visit to show the benefit of partnering with Do Good Bus.

COMMUNITY: This category could also be called, GETTING DIGITS. Our favorite part of a Do Good Bus ride is seeing people connect and find a common ground. We are constantly amazed to see people trading information at the end of our rides so they can reconnect in the future. Past doGOODers have gone out on dates, found new babysitters and even started their own small community projects. All because we put them on a bus together!

CONTINUED SUPPORT: After each Do Good Bus ride, passengers receive a follow up email with info on how to continue to support the cause they visited as well as other causes in Los Angeles. We do our best to work with the non-profits and causes to monitor and track return volunteers and hope to increase those “return rates” as we move forward. Ideally, our goal is to check in twice a year with people who have been on the bus and give them examples of new ways to help and creative ways to get involved.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

We’ve learned a lot over the past four years working with causes, clients and volunteers. The most important lesson we’ve learned (and one of the reasons we started the Do Good Bus) is a lot of people WANT to volunteer but they don’t know where to start. They are overwhelmed with how many causes are out there and could use a little guidance on where to begin. Do Good Bus has visited causes all over the US and seen how they operate and what types of causes are good for people who may be volunteering for the first time. Our team works hard to use this knowledge to curate causes that will be a good fit for these first-timers and also create an environment where they can connect with other people on the bus.

Secondly we’ve learned enough statistics from the variety of causes we visit to know the importance of what we are doing and all the lives we can change. Possessing this knowledge and the ability to inform others during each ride is essential if we want to see a significant change in the years to come here in Los Angeles. We hope to continue to grow and make even more of an impact than we ever imagined.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

We are continuing to implement our project and will be able to achieve much more success now that we own an official Do Good Bus! With 24-hour access to a vehicle equipped with supplies and enough seats for 30 willing volunteers, we have the capability to coordinate last minute trips to help our neighbors in a time of emergency or disaster relief. This might be the most exciting element of owning our own bus. In addition, having a personalized bus on the streets promoting our efforts will help advertise and inspire people with each passing glance.

We are confident our goals can be achieved in the next 12 months because our team has already done the research and budget planning for the retrofit of the bus. We have also gathered a list of vendors and collaborators to make it all possible.

The support we have received from our community has exceeded our expectations and will hopefully continue to do so. With this much needed support, we will have the ability to implement our new ideas and collaborate with the right partners who will help take the Do Good Bus to the next level! You have to dream BIG to be BIG and we will never stop working hard to make our vision a reality and Los Angeles the #1 place to connect.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

One major challenge we anticipate is being understaffed. Recently, we have hired a few more freelance bus hosts to accomplish hosting multiple rides in a day. However, these rides are scheduled far in advance and having a few part-time staff doesn’t account for any last minute mishaps. We believe being able to bring on more permanent staff will greatly benefit our efforts and allow for us to do much more GOOD. It will also allow our management team to focus on the future and taking steps toward bigger projects and more opportunities to bring people together.

Another challenge will be finalizing all the registration and permit requirements for the bus. We’ve spent the last 6 months researching and gathering advice from lawyers, industry professionals and other bus owners to ensure we’re ready for the process and are doing our best to ensure the process goes smoothly.

We are confident about implementing our plan because we’ve worked the past four years to build a model that works and we are already connecting Los Angelenos in a unique and engaging way. In that time we’ve also gathered partners and supporters who have and will continue to advise our team to ensure the Do Good Bus continues to grow and help connect individuals and causes all over Los Angeles.

What resources does your project need?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)