Growing in the State of Missouri

Author  Sarah Putnam   on  06/08/2023 - 4:14pm

Spare Key began helping families in 1997. In the last 26 years, we have grown throughout the nation and expanded our mission exponentially. We now help more people facing medical crisis with more financial assistance than ever before.

But how does that type of growth happen?


Missouri Growth


It’s not fast… and it takes a lot of work.

Especially for a team of four.

When Spare Key’s Chief Financial Officer, Alexia Sebesta, joined the team back in 2019, her first major project was facilitating the process of getting Spare Key registered in all 50 states throughout the nation. (Read how she tackled this project in her blog: Registration Across the Nation.) This process took months… and months… but after a LOT of paperwork, signatures, and one crazy trip on a leaky pontoon down the Mississippi River by Spare Key’s past Executive Director Erich Mische during a global pandemic, it became official.

In 2020 Spare Key became registered in Louisiana, the 50th and final state so that Spare Key could proudly say that we now serve families facing medical crises across the nation.

But that was just the first step.

Now that we were registered in all 50 states across the nation plus the District of Columbia, how do we ensure families and donors KNOW about Spare Key’s Help Me Bounce platform across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia?

This is where the hard work really begins.

So what does it take to start from scratch and grow Spare Key’s mission in a new state? Well, we’re still learning… but we are working hard to answer this question so we can continue helping MORE families “Be Seen. Be Heard. Be Found.” by donors across the nation!

There’s the obvious…social media, Facebook ads, and other ecommerce strategies for growth. But, as a small nonprofit with a limited budget, it’s just as important to look at more grass-root strategies and rely on our network to continue to grow.

Knowing this was going to need to be a state-by-state project, we decided to make Missouri one of our first states of focus.

Lucky for us, Spare Key is incredibly fortunate to have the MOST supportive Board Members, many of whom reside right here in Minnesota where we were founded. However, as we’ve grown, we’ve also expanded our Board of Directors to have representation in more states throughout the nation. In 2020, Spare Key welcomed Rebecca Yonaka of NewRez to our board! Rebecca lives in Missouri and has been essential to spreading our mission throughout the state. Her dedication and passion for our new way of giving through our Help Me Bounce program shows in every interaction and conversation she has about Spare Key.

Having a board member so passionate about our mission has been vital to spreading our mission throughout the state. Rebecca shares Help Me Bounce with companies, partners, other nonprofits, and SO many more individuals in her network. Just one example, of many, is her introduction of Spare Key to the Mortgage Banker’s Association of St. Louis!  Thanks to this introduction, we are unbelievably grateful to be partnering with this organization for the second year in a row to raise funds for our nonprofit during their Annual Golf Tournament in October!

Then, while in St. Louis earlier this year, Rebecca and I had the privilege of meeting a couple incredible individuals at Children’s Hospital of St Louis who run the social work department within the hospital. It was amazing to meet with those individuals who work day in and day out with families in need of our assistance. We were able to explain how our mission has evolved, how we are able to serve families, and answer any questions about our nonprofit. We then set up another introduction with the full team later in the month so that if any social workers had questions about our nonprofit, we could answer them firsthand!

And the rest of my trip was just as productive with Rebecca at my side! We had additional meetings to introduce Spare Key to other corporations based out of Missouri. Plus we met with two women working with another nonprofit in St. Louis that Rebecca is involved with and learning more about their impact in the community was so inspiring.

Since this handful of meetings and introductions, we have already noticed an increase in families applying for aid in Missouri! Social workers have been incredible in sharing our mission with families facing the unimaginable. And it is an honor for us to be able to share these family’s stories on our Help Me Bounce platform as so many of them are in desperate need of assistance from our community of giving. You can see all Missouri families here that need your assistance!

Ultimately, growth takes time. It takes patience, and a LOT of dedication to setting up meetings, contacting people, and helping families successfully set up their campaigns on Help Me Bounce. But the more families we help in Missouri, the more people throughout the state begin to see the impact of our nonprofit.

Everything we are learning in Missouri, we will pass on to ensure growth in other states until we are a household name throughout the nation. Families in every single state across the nation should know and understand our mission and how we can help if the unimaginable happens.


Sarah Signature




Sarah Putnam
Executive Director