Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is a for-purpose travel and event company sharing the power of volunteerism through immersive and one of a kind volunteer opportunities. They offer immersive service experiences through Travel excursions and Corporate events. Whether you’re traveling or staying closer to home, HFDG provides everything volunteers need to get involved: planning, access to worthwhile charities and causes, accommodations and, of course, fun.
Through travel and immersion, you are challenged to to step out of your comfort zone to learn, grow and try new things. Have Fun Do Good participants are exposed to new people, experiences and locations during organized volunteer projects throughout the country. This type of exposure is a crucial factor in developing volunteers, civic leaders and change-makers.
Adam Kunes, creator of Have Fun Do Good found his inspiration in volunteerism through his participation in the Semester at Sea program, a 100-day undergraduate cruise around the world. This experience opened Adam’s eyes to the world and shaped his views on what it means to truly give to others. His participation in many service-oriented trips both during Semester at Sea and at home inspired the concept for HFDG. Adam hopes his efforts will allow others to realize the opportunities to volunteer are endless and that service can be fun.
Below is a quick Q&A with Adam Kunes, founder of Have Fun. Do Good.
How did your Semester at Sea impact your decision to start Have Fun Do Good?
My experience with Semester at Sea truly opened my eyes to the world around me. I was twenty-one years old when I had the opportunity to travel the world with Semester at Sea and little did I know at the time how much of an impact it would have on my life. I saw things that impacted me on a level that is tough to articulate. One of the most memorable moments was during a volunteer experience at an orphanage that Mother Teresa started. Most of the children were dropped off on the steps of the orphanage. One child in particular had no arms or legs. I still vividly remember his smile to this day. I remember the emotion being so heavy that I had to walk out for a short time. That is only one of many life-changing experiences I had on Semester at Sea. My experience traveling the world instilled a passion for adventure and travel, which would ultimately plant the seed for future career decisions.
I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh the next year and honestly had no idea what I was going to do. I took a job in corporate America for a short time while running a side-business called Rewind Memories. Feeling a general lack of passion towards what I was doing, I came up with a bit of a crazy plan to quit my job and take an RV across the country with my roommate at the time. We spent a few months fundraising and planning the trip out. We purchased a 1991 Winnebago, which became known as the “Warrior.” Shortly after putting in my two-weeks notice, I was traveling the country in the Warrior. We spent thirty days on the road volunteering in five different states and filming the journey (as best as we could). There was no real plan after the trip. We pieced together a very “amateur” documentary and began showing it at schools, churches, and whoever would have us. It wasn’t long before we were approached by students asking how they could sign up for the next RV trip and get involved. We formed a nonprofit called The Call to Serve and set out to offer RV volunteer programs for young adults. With a shoestring budget, we operated for 3 more years and gained a lot of steam. It was extremely rewarding to see the impact of the program on our participants, as many continued on to the AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps. We worked with over 13 charities and causes along the way, helping to spread their missions and reach. On a small scale, we felt like we were changing the world!
The non-profit was consuming all of our time but unfortunately wasn’t paying the bills. I moved full time into a for-profit media digitization business called Rewind Memories which I started in college. I always promised myself that I would learn as much as I could about running a business and that I would eventually return to volunteerism in some form or fashion. Five years and two retail locations later, I sold Rewind Memories in November 2015 to refocus my efforts on what I was truly passionate about.
Are the volunteer experiences all in America or are they abroad as well?
We are currently coordinating and planning the logistics for trips in the United States. As the company grows, I’d eventually like to plan opportunities abroad as well.
What are examples of volunteer weekends that groups have taken?
We have completed multiple weekend trips to New York City and Washington, DC. Our staff is relatively small so as we continue to grow our trips will expand to other cities.
What is a weekend like for a volunteer with Have Fun Do Good?
The goal is to force participants to step out of their comfort zone. Whether it’s a team building ropes course, a random acts of kindness scavenger hunt or a challenging service project, the focus is to keep it constantly varied. We like to incorporate a social component as well for participants to enjoy the cities they are visiting.
Is there a certain time dedication that needs to be made for volunteers or are there weekend/other opportunities to apply for as well?
HFDG is a non-committal, fun approach to volunteerism, we incorporate a road trip component into all of our trips. Not only are participants forced to step out of their comfort zones, but they’re doing something good in the process. We are also trying to break the mold of traditional volunteer experiences by adding a social component to the process. From ropes courses and scavenger hunts to exploring the nightlife in the cities we travel to, HFDG participants are truly having fun and doing good when they volunteer with us!
What types of organizations do you work with that a volunteer can apply for?
Our participants are exposed to a wide range of volunteer opportunities as we work with disaster relief efforts, animal welfare, environmental issues and everything in between. We’ve learned that this is a great way to keep things new and exciting.
How has the social enterprise community welcomed you since starting Have Fun Do Good?
While I’m not new to the non-profit space, the social enterprise space forced me to adjust my thinking quite a bit. The response we’ve received so far has been awesome. The social enterprise community as a whole has been so welcoming and helpful. In addition to that, the feedback we’ve received from participants solidifies what we are doing:
“It was one of the best weekends of my life. What an incredible group of people sharing such a rewarding experience. I feel like the things we did were very different from each other which offered variety and excitement. I didn’t know what to expect from this weekend and everything exceeded my expectations. You guys are great! Can’t wait for the next trip!” Monty Montan – NYC Participant
In your opinion, how can travel and volunteerism impact a person’s life?
It all comes back to stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s so easy to get stuck in your day to day routine. Travel forces you to be uncomfortable because it’s new. When you incorporate like-minded people who want to give back, it makes for an extremely rewarding and unique experience.
Do you have many professionals volunteer or do you see mostly college students volunteering?
Our target demographic for trips is 21-35. As we continue to grow, we are seeing more professionals. For college students, volunteer opportunities are a bit more “in your face.” When you’re a professional, it’s a bit trickier to commit to volunteering due to schedules. We are trying to bridge that gap and provide a non-comital, but extremely impactful weekend program for our participants. It’s also very rewarding to bring a group of friends together for a common cause. The response thus far has been great!