TNKR is a small little non-profit NGO located in Seoul.
- We rely on executive staff getting paid minimum wage to lead the organization.
- We don’t have a sexy mission pretending to save the world.
- Volunteers who can leave at any moment if they find a new hobby, have a change in their lives, or get upset by something I write, say or do (or fail to write, say or do).
- We aren’t sure where our office will be later this year
- Month-to-month we raise enough money to keep operations going while also expanding even before we know where the money will come from.
- We don’t have anyone paid on staff designated to handle media, fundraising, strategy, accounting or many other basic things growing organizations need.
- Our entire budget is less than the salaries of some of the people who support our activities.
Despite all of that, we have fans! Not K-pop crazy level fans, but we do have people who follow us and keep track of us. I’m always surprised when people contact me asking if they can come by, to meet us, ask how they can help. They include visitors from Germany, universities, businesses, schools, local Korean government.
Some of them are surprised to see we have such a humble office, the media has made us look much bigger than we are in reality.
When it is photo time, some of them are prepared. Others are shocked that I am asking, despite my infamous reputation for taking photos with everyone I meet. Some are thrilled and ask if they can take photos with their cameras too. Some ask if they can cover their faces the way we allow the refugees to do.
It is always great welcoming fans. When Eunkoo and I started these activities in early 2013, we had no idea that we would build something that could even have fans. We wanted to make sure we did something practical.