On a one-man mission to spread the power of goodwill, the founder of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN), Craig Zelizer, is doing just that.

What began as a ‘passion project’ in 2007 (Craig’s mainstay is helping run the graduate program in conflict resolution at Georgetown University) has expanded to work with over 35,000 professionals, students, and organizations.

Using the Internet to change the world

PCDN’s core objective is to make a huge impact on the world. Essentially, the initiative is an online marketplace that connects a global community for societal change with interests ranging from gender inequality to social entrepreneurship, and everything in between. Utilizing the Internet’s potential to impact others, Craig has created a person-to-person platform that provides tools to inspire, connect, and inform.

“I want PCDN to be the go-to hub when it comes to global and social change,” Craig says about his long-term vision. “Anyone who’s involved with change-making can be connected with the resources they need.”

With over 20 million page views, 700 testimonials, and members based all over the world, it appears PCDN is well on its way to accomplishing that goal. He and his team are working hard on launching a PCDN 3.0 platform in summer 2015 and will add many new features, including an online/offline event series.

From volunteer initiative to social enterprise

Originally beginning PCDN as volunteer initiative, Craig, who has several non-profits under his belt, made the conscious decision to turn the program into a for-profit social enterprise three-and-a-half years ago.  PCDN’s goal is to generate sustainable revenue to grow its operations, staff and impact, by providing a much needed product that is making the world a better place.

It wasn’t long before his business was registered and up and running, but as all new projects do, this one presented a new slew of challenges to tackle. Getting the company started was easy, but getting the systems together? Not so much. Enter Gusto.

“It made our life a million times easier,” says Craig who switched from his previous payroll system in 2014. “Compared to my other provider, Gusto is scalable and affordable for 100% better product and service.”

PCDN volunteer

Since the entrepreneur’s discovery of Gusto, he now has more time to focus on running, and growing, his business. Along with the elegant user interface, amazing customer support, the personal notes feature and seamless Xero integration, Craig adds that, plain and simple, it’s been an enjoyable program to work with.

“When you think of payroll, ‘fun’ is not a word that comes to mind. But that’s what Gusto has accomplished.”

Plus, with his management of multiple projects (i.e.: busy schedule) he’s a big fan of back office tools which allow him accessibility at anytime, anywhere.

“Business owners shouldn’t have to stress about this deadline or that paperwork — it should just be integrated into your life. With Gusto and Xero, I don’t have to think about these things. And I breathe easier as a result.”

More time to spread the word

Since Gusto has taken an extra load off of his plate, Craig has also been able to focus more time on launching a new site for PCDN, managing a small but growing team, and developing content, which he adds, is “how you differentiate amongst the competition.”

Along with learning what types of strategies and programs have proved successful, Craig is also keen to share with others who have a similar vision.

“A lot of people create online communities” he says, “but there’s no content or partnerships, which is key to building a successful community.”

And judging by the numbers, no to mention solid following, when it comes to building a strong and supportive community, a quick click to PCDN demonstrates that Craig and the PCDN team is doing just that.

Margot Leong Margot Leong, a contributing author on Gusto, provides actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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