The DoNation puts the Do into donating: it’s a unique site where you raise sponsorship through action, not cash.
A propos de vous
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
I've always been passionate about the environment and dedicated to pursuing a career in sustainability. Whilst I had never dreamt of running my own business, I absolutely love it.
I studied an MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College, London, with the aim of going into corporate environmental policy. But towards the end of this course I came up with a truly innovative idea that motivated 216 friends to start living more sustainably, and I couldn't let the idea die.
I had decided to take on the challenge of cycling from London to Morocco, and I was determined to use the opportunity to raise support for the cause I am passionate about: sustainability. However, I didn't like asking friends for money, and I knew that the environment needed people's action more than cash. Thus was born the concept of The DoNation.
I combined expertise from my MSc thesis on behaviour change and pledge schemes with practical and business skills, demonstrating innovation in conceiving the idea and overcoming the numerous hurdles that we've faced along the way. I have shown great dedication and passion not only in cycling from London to Morocco, but also through spending the last 2 1/2 years determinedly building The DoNation. I have developed and strengthened my leadership and entrepreneurial skills, as evidenced by the great 'Do' team and extensive support network that we've built up. The fact that we have not only survived, but managed to significantly grow as an organisation throughout a tough economic climate is further testament to this.
Since starting The DoNation in 2010, I have been named as one of the Future 100 social entrepreneurs, a Shell LiveWire Hot 40 Young Entrepreneur, and as Jaqueline Gold's 'Woman of the Week'. I have also been nominated as a fellow of the RSA and chosen as one of their first Social Enterprise Spotlight participants. Finally, I have been awarded a place on the UnLtd Futures program, offering invaluable training and development for game-changing social entrepreneurs.
A propos de votre organisation
Royaume Uni, LND, London
Pays dans lesquels ce projet crée un impact social
Royaume Uni, XX, National / global impact
Votre organisation est-elle une
organisation à but non lucratif
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Le besoin : quel problème tentez-vous de résoudre ?
1 Behaviour change
If everyone in the world were to live like us, we’d need 3 planets; our lifestyles threaten environmental, social & financial wellbeing, yet mobilising behaviour change is notoriously tough. People are more effectively influenced by their friends than distant organisation’s campaigns, but there are few tools to help people positively & proactively engage others.
2 Fundraising fatigue
In the UK, the model of fundraising for causes through sponsorship is hugely effective & popular, but people are getting tired of being asked for money.
By simply donating money to a charity, donors build no connection to the cause & their contribution is short lived. Cash isn’t always the best solution, especially when behaviour change is at the root of the problem.
La solution: quelle solution proposez-vous ? Soyez précis !
Our solution is to put a big twist on the traditional model of sponsorship by replacing cash with action, enabling people to actively & directly engage friends in living sustainably. Instead of asking people to donate money when you run a marathon (for example), through The DoNation you ask them to do something – a DoAction.
By making the site social & upbeat, building it on a model that people are already well accustomed to, we can reach far wider audiences than traditional campaigns. People raising sponsorship do the hard ‘campaigning’ and outreach for us – making it far more effective and low cost than if we were to do it ourselves.
We provide information & advice on each DoAction, but Doers make pledges to support a friend, not us. This personal connection means that 84% of Doers feel more committed to their pledge and 80% say they were more honest about it.
The current focus is on environmental actions, but we plan to expand it to incorporate broader social actions too.
Le système : décrivez un exemple spécifique montrant de quelle façon votre initiative fonctionne ; indiquez vos principales activités.
The DoNation is an online sponsorship platform that works much like JustGiving or VirginMoneyGiving, with the simple difference being that there’s no money involved.
People can use it for all sorts of events or challenges, from marathons and expeditions to knit-a-thons and wedding gift lists. For example, a team from Forum for the Future signed up to a triathlon and created a sponsorship page on The DoNation (http://ow.ly/9qOTO), outlining what they were doing & why they wanted support. They set a target of saving 10,000 kgCO2, and then asked their friends and colleagues to sponsor them, sharing the page via online and offline media channels.
Their friends read about their challenge and browsed the DoActions, which range from eating local seasonal food or cycling to work, to using less plastic packaging or installing solar panels, and chose ones to Do. They answered a few simple questions so that the impact of their pledge can be calculated, currently measured in kgCO2 saved over two months. Their pledges were then published on the sponsorship page, and their carbon savings added to the triathletes’ sponsorship total. This allowed them to see how much they were contributing, helping them to see how all the small actions add up to make a big difference.
Their sponsors received a few reminder emails over the two-month sponsorship period, with helpful info & advice. At the end of the 2 months they returned to the site to confirm how they got on.
Overall, 88 people sponsored them saving almost 15,000 kgCO2.
Sue Armstrong, one of the triathlete’s mothers, sponsored them by starting to cycle to work. As a result, she cycled 480 miles, saved £93 in train fairs, felt happier & fitter, lost ½ stone, and six months later is still cycling to work. She’s even persuaded two colleagues to join her! Three of their sponsors are now also raising sponsorship of their own.
Le marché : qui sont vos collègues et vos concurrents ? Identifiez les autres personnes qui travaillent à répondre au même besoin et indiquez ce qui vous différencie d'elles. Comment ces concurrents pourraient-ils influencer votre réussite ou votre croissance ?
Our competition comes from three main areas outlined below. However, their approaches are so different that they pose only indirect competition, or in fact often offer strong opportunities to collaborate.
1. Sponsorship tools: JustGiving dominates the fundraising arena, but less than 1% of funds raised through it are for environmental charities. This model of fundraising doesn't work so well for environmental causes as health charities because the beneficiaries are less tangible.
2. Environmental campaigns (e.g. 10:10, Do The Green Thing & WWF) tackle the same problem using very different means – none use our model of scalable social action.
3. Employee engagement tools will compete for CSR budgets, although none use the same interactive and socially driven approach as the DoNation.
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for 1-5 years
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
138 challenges have used The DoNation to raise sponsorship. The main benefits to them are increased motivation and greater engagement & ability to engage others in green issues.
1251 people have supported these challenges with 1779 pledges. Eg. 210 meat-eaters have eaten 9104 vegetarian meals and 121 people cycled 42031 miles. 71% returned to confirm that they successfully completed their pledge.
The CO2 saved over the 2 months is automatically calculated: currently it’s 170 tCO2. However, the real impact is far broader & longer lasting: 85% of Doers continue their action in the long term; 65% feel better about themselves; 34% save money; 18% improve health & fitness.
There is also qualitative evidence of positive attitude changes towards sustainability and philanthropy.
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
Our key challenge is reaching significant scale fast enough. We have ambitious targets to have ½ million sponsors by 2015. Our specific strategies for achieving this are:
1. Launch subscription packages for group and organisation use
2. Increased marketing, primarily through strategic partnerships and ambassador programmes
3. Increase interactivity & social integration of site
4. Broaden the appeal beyond core environmental focus, with DoActions addressing wider social issues.
Success of these aims depends on building the capacity of Do Team and investing more into the website.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
The DoNation’s core aim is to engage the wider population in social & environmental sustainability. To ensure long-term success, we recognise we must do this in a financially self-sustaining way.
- Costs kept low thanks to extensive pro-bono support and network of ambassadors & partners, and the inherently viral sponsorship model, whereby Doers do critical marketing for us
- We’re only seeking grants to cover start up costs, enabling us to develop our main revenue streams: affiliate marketing & subscription packs
- We’re currently piloting the subscription packs with several companies & schools, who value it as a powerful tool to actively engage & educate their stakeholders in sustainability in a measurable and social way
- All DoActions have environmental benefits: they reduce CO2 emissions, save water, reduce waste, conserve resources, and/or biodiversity
- Shifts attitudes, bringing sustainability into everyday discourse in a positive and proactive way
- Most DoActions also have social benefits: they improve health & wellbeing, save money & time, and support communities
- Creates an inclusive method of giving, available to all irrespective of wealth or status
- Empowers people, enabling them to raise and give direct support and build stronger connections to the cause
- School & charity subscription pack costs will be subsidised by corporate packs
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
Tackling social problems faced in developing countries from an entrepreneurial approach will help to break the cycle of dependency on aid, enabling them to create jobs in a sustainable way that they can take real pride in. To use the old cliché: it’s better to give a hand up than a hand out.
Entrepreneurship allows for greater innovation & flexibility, so that solutions can be shaped by the local people to address the local needs, and evolve rapidly as these needs change. This is in contrast to traditional aid, where bureaucracy often hinders flexibility of programs on the ground.
Social entrepreneurship provides a fantastic opportunity for developing countries to learn from the mistakes of developed countries: that businesses need to incorporate environmental and social sustainability into the core of their business models from the outset. They should embed this notion into their economy whilst it’s still developing.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
Bringing together such a range of people from across Europe and Uganda will create a hotbed of innovation and learning which everyone involved will gain huge value from.
Seeing the real change that the people of Uganda are making to their communities, despite such limited resources, should be incredibly inspirational. It will also put our apparent struggles in stark perspective, and motivate us to continue making the most out of every opportunity given to us.
To be in a country that is already suffering from climate change, and that has a very different outlook on sustainability and climate change will challenge our current Western perspective, bringing into question the scale of our work and impact. No doubt, I will find this challenging, but it will hopefully only help to drive us to be even more ambitious and scale our impacts far faster.
We may well also be introduced to some great new solutions to incorporate into The DoNation.