This week, Adam and Mike sit down with Eric Sedransk, founder of Member for a Day. Sedransk raised $100,000 in a week at the start of the COVID pandemic, all in the name of helping frontline workers. Now his company raises money for charities by offering one-of-a-kind golf experiences and donating the proceeds. This interview has been shortened for space and clarity. You can check out the full podcast episode here.

SH: So tell us a little bit about the start of Member for a Day, what inspired you to do something, and what you ended up doing.

Eric Sedransk: Yeah, I mean, you know, Adam, you nailed it on the head in the sense that before all this stuff, I didn’t really accomplish anything, either. I mean, I was working in tech living in New York. I thought you know, it was great. Life is good. I got laid off because of COVID and realized that I was gonna be unemployed for a couple of months. And so I kind of had this bike ride that just changed everything. I came home, and I was chatting with my mother, and I just said, I’m going to stop looking for a job. And she was just like, “Oh, God…”

SH: “I live here now!”

Eric Sedransk: “I’m moving in!” No, I was like, I know, I’m not going to get a job. Every company I had been talking to or interviewed with has hit the pause button. I realized I had a few months there. Why not do something productive, and as a way to give back to those less fortunate. And so at that time, the headlines were “Hospital Frontline Workers in New York Are Eating Out of Vending Machines.” And I just couldn’t imagine a more ridiculous scenario of the people who are literally saving us from a global pandemic were eating potato chips, and candy bars. I’m just like, This is crazy. It just didn’t seem like it was real. 

I had this fateful bike ride where I was like, What can I do? And I’ve been very fortunate, probably like you guys, to have played some great golf courses and met some people along the way. members, head pros, superintendents, GMs. And I figured, “what the heck, why don’t I just reach out to them, and see if they’d be interested in donating a round of golf that I could auction off on social media with 100% of the proceeds going to hospital frontline workers.” And that’s where it all started.

SH:  Eric, explain the process on the platform. You didn’t create it based off of that first experience you had raising all that money.

Eric Sedransk: Yeah, well, from what started then to where it is now is completely beyond my wildest expectations because, and I can’t stress this enough, when I started this initiative to help frontline workers, that was all I was trying to do. I wasn’t writing a business plan. I wasn’t trying to conquer the world. I was just trying to help people. And thankfully it was really successful. I got written up in some different magazines. The New York Post wrote a story about me…

I think I just touched a nerve in the sense that… I just decided I was going to follow my passion. I think we, as a society, always think about our careers and doing the right things, and this and that, and according to that, it was “go find a job.” And I just said, you know what? I’m done with that. I’m gonna follow what my heart is. I think a lot of people gravitated towards me doing that because it’s this very freeing feeling. 

I was very fortunate to get covered in the New York Post. I mean their lead sportswriter, who normally writes about the Yankees, wrote about me. And that’s when things kind of changed. About 20 nonprofits, including the American Cancer Society, who is arguably one of the largest nonprofits in the world, reached out to me and said, “Can you do something like that for us?” 

And yes, I have an MBA from Babson, the number one school for entrepreneurship in the world. So I’m trained like that to recognize opportunities, but I don’t think it’d take an MBA from Babson and realize that okay, there’s something here. And so I basically spun up a platform in two weeks, just called the smartest people I knew and said, How can I create a platform that allows any and all nonprofits to fundraise to once in a lifetime golf experiences? And here we are, like, 20 months later, we’ve raised over $2.5 million for charity. And we’re growing like crazy. I mean, we’re going to do half a million dollars raised in the next month alone for charity.

SH: I’m sure you have a million amazing stories, but what’s that one story that kind of sticks with you?

Eric Sedransk: The one that I always seem to go back to is the First Tee of Savannah. The reason that it’s important to me is that I first created this company when I was at my mother’s house in Hilton Head. Savannah and Hilton Head, it’s kind of that similar area. 

What happened with the First Tee of Savannah is they actually collapsed in 2018, due to lack of funding. The executive leadership team just wasn’t really doing a good job. Think about all those kids that would have learned to play the game of golf that no longer did. I forget what it was, maybe a couple of months after my initial COVID auction, I got connected with the new leadership team of the First Tee of Savannah. We sat down, we played some golf, and we got to know each other. And they launched an auction that raised over $140,000 in one week. That one auction in one week through A Member for a Day paid for their entire year of services. Now they’re in their second year, we did a second auction with them that raised basically just about the same amount of money. So in two years, we’ve raised just shy of $300,000 for the First Tee of Savannah. And it’s so cool, because a couple of months ago, I went back and they were having camps, and kids were playing golf, and I was taking photographs. You talk about experiences and having an impact. Like there are now hundreds of kids in Savannah that are playing golf and learning the game of golf and learning the discipline around it that wouldn’t have beforehand. And so that one’s really important to me.