NPO 023: Jaz Limos (Saints of Steel)

Today's Guest: Jaz Limos (email:
Jaz Limos is the Founder and CEO of Saints of Steel. San Francisco native, Jaz, spent her career in Silicon Valley teaching leaders how to strategically grow their performance and build successful B2B teams. Seeing the rise of homelessness and lack of resources for underserved communities in the Bay Area, she decided to flip her life upside down and dedicate her career towards building ecosystems that offered innovative solutions for people in need. 

Nonprofit Spotlight: Saints of Steel

Jaz founded Saints of Steel, a nonprofit that helps people become the best versions of themselves through the human connection of a haircut. Saints of Steel curates environments customized to support communities in need, organizing partnerships that take each haircut to a life changing place. Currently based in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Saints of Steel's next step is to go mobile, so they'll be fundraising for a van soon!

Lessons Learned:
In our conversation, Jaz shared so many great lessons for nonprofits. Here are a few that stuck out:

1. From her time at Apple, Jaz learned the importance of feelings for bringing people from one experience to the next. There were two clear examples of how she has applied this to her nonprofit work:

  • As she now works with communities in need (people who are homeless, LGBTQ, survivors of abuse and underserved families), she and her team hope to inspire feelings of confidence through haircuts. Using this as an entry point, they are able to get to know the person whose hair they are cutting and help connect them with other services.
  • For volunteers, Saints of Steel wanted to create an accessible opportunity for serving others and so Saints of Steel has intentionally created an atmosphere of fun and community around their haircuts that welcomes new volunteers and engages them in the activity. They use social media to help tell that story and attract new volunteers and also a live demo to get involved.

2. Partnerships and finding a unique angle: Saints of Steel doesn't try to do everything, but what they have done is identified a unique entry point to connect with different communities of need. This connection allows Saints of Steel to then connect their guests with existing services that could be helpful. 

3. Social Media: Jaz shared a lot of helpful tips around social media, so here are just some bullet points. Social media provides a great platform for free (or very inexpensive) marketing.

  • Videos- Don't have to be fancy, can just be a Facebook Live video or a "behind the scenes" video that show what's happening on a daily basis. If you can find ways to document the story or the growth of the organization, it increases transparency with donors and volunteers, but it also increases engagement with your audience.
  • Instagram- Saints of Steel not only found that barbers and stylists used instagram, but they then did some research to find out how they used that platform in order to interact and engage new barbers and stylists. 
    • Using business mode, you can access analytics. Identifying which posts get the most engagement and which ones get the best feedback.
  • Facebook- Because Facebook is easier to integrate links and donate buttons, Saints of Steel is planning to focus their attention on this platform during their fundraising campaigns. Facebook also has very easy to navigate targeting options that are relatively inexpensively right now.
    • Again, if you use business mode, you can access analytics.  
  • Snapchat- Filters provide an inexpensive way ($12 per day for a filter in a specific location) to have a branding presence in a place where your organization is not physically present. This medium is most commonly used by young people ages 12-24 and could be a great opportunity for other organizations targeting youth.

4. Using video for donor stewardship: If you can share directly to your donor a video of how their donation is being put in action, that could be very powerful. Videos don't need to be professionally curated and in fact, sometimes the live video style of the "view behind the curtain" makes donors feel like they're getting an inside scoop. 


Story of Good: Finding confidence through haircuts!
Jaz's dad made plans to leave for a long trek, but before he left, he asked Jaz to shaved his head. When he looked in the mirror afterwards, his posture immediately changed. It gave him the opportunity to have a fresh start where he could see himself for what he could be rather than what he had always been.