Jay Boolkin's New Entry

Jay Boolkin's New Entry: Harnessing the power of promises to achieve personal and Global Goals

Sydney, Australia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

You know how sticking to self-improvement goals is really difficult? Promise or Pay combines behavioural economics and philanthropy to help you stick to your goals by putting your money on the line for charity. In fact, 69% of people that use Promise or Pay successfully achieve their goals.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if by sharing your aspirations - you could help build a better world? What if by achieving your personal goals - you could improve the lives of others? What kind of world would that be? Let's find out.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

For Individuals sticking to health and self-­improvement goals is really difficult - whether it is to quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthier, or exercise more. In fact, only 1 in 10 people follow through on their New Year’s Resolution. For Charities, competition for public donations is more intense than ever. As a result, 80% of not­-for-­profits are constantly looking for new ways to generate funds.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Behavioural economics shows that the chance of achieving a personal goal increases by 33% if it is shared with others and by up to 72% if money is put on the line. Promise or Pay is an online platform that combines these two insights to help you stick to your goals by putting your money on the line for charity. If you keep your promise, your Supporters donate. If you break your promise, you donate. What makes this great is that regardless of the outcome money is donated to charity. By combining behavioural economics and philanthropy Promise or Pay ensures a win-win outcome and that you are left feeling good and doing good no matter what happens.


Optus Digital Life PitchUp Winner; Macquarie Foundation Kickstarter Finalist; Deloitte Social Innovation Pitch Competition Winner; The Guardian’s Tech Talent Day Honourable Mention; Sydney Genesis Challenge Best Social Startup; Social Startups MVP Winner
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1) You make a promise, which can be anything - to lose weight, to quit smoking or to meditate every day. 2) You choose an amount to donate and a charity that will receive your donation if you break your promise, e.g. 'I promise to quit smoking or pay $200 to BRAC'. 3) You put a time limit on your promise by selecting a date in the future. 4) You share your promise with all your friends and family (via social media) who become your Supporters. Your Supporters not only keep you accountable but further motivate you to achieve your goal by promising to make a donation if, and only if, you keep your promise. 5) If you update your promise to KEPT, your Supporters donate. If you update your promise to BROKE, you donate. It's win-win!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

To date almost 800 promises and over $40,000 in promised donations have been made. 69% of people that use the platform are achieving their goals and over $15,000 has been donated directly to charities. 15% of promises are from overseas, meaning this can be a truly international enterprise, and the feedback from users and charities has been terrific (testimonials available upon request).

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We want to combine social motivation and charitable giving to change the way people achieve their goals and the way charities do fundraising. The vision is to create the ultimate goal-setting platform that will inspire millions of people around the world to be the best that they can be, and at the same time, drive millions of dollars in donations to charities that are working towards achieving the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We will focus on capitalising on a widening consumer base (within both the self-improvement and fundraising markets), as well as building a strong partnership model to drive growth and revenue e.g. white-labelling for corporates and brands, and international licensing. Promise or Pay is also committed to a quick product development cycle, efficient operational structure, improved strategic sourcing and reduced operating costs.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Whereas current fundraising platforms focus on grand goals, like climbing big mountains, Promise or Pay helps people make positive behavioural changes. As a proven and effective way to help people achieve their goals, Promise or Pay is able to address the $650 billion fitness, exercise, health eating, nutrition and weight loss market, and simultaneously expand the number of potential donors for charities.

Founding Story

Driven by the desire to help others, Jay is passionate about positive social change and believes in the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. He is inspired by small actions that have the power to bring about big change and is committed towards building a meaningful career that reflect these values. Jay founded Promise or Pay while living in Cambodia as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. The idea was born out of his own struggles to achieve personal goals as well as his experience within the not-­for-­profit sector and the fact that 80% are constantly looking for new ways to generate funds.


Promise or Pay has, for the most part, been a one-­man show. Jay is the designer, marketer, customer service manager, and accountant. Promise or Pay’s success so far has been achieved with minimal funding and is a direct result of Jay's commitment, effort and willingness to take risks. Jay is currently building an awesome team - Designer, Developer, Marketer - individuals already shortlisted.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:
Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

While at university, Jay recognised that there was limited skilled social media advice tailored specifically to the needs of smaller, resource­ restrained not­-for-­profits. Believing that such organisations make the world a better place and wanting to help them make the most of social media, he founded The Yoke Project (www.theyokeproject.com). Between January 2011 and May 2013, The Yoke Project helped more than 30 organisations from around the world incorporate social technologies into their external communication efforts. For FREE. Most notably, by creating and maintaining a Twitter account on their behalf. Jay lead a team of 6 passionate, creative and hardworking individuals who gave their time and expertise to help not-­for-­profits take advantage of the significant and numerous benefits of social media.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Promise or Pay has an experienced and passionate advisory board who advocate for Promise or Pay; support Jay’s efforts, and act as a mentor to him; review and make recommendations on the strategic direction of Promise or Pay; and work to establish goals, monitor progress, and give support to Promise or Pay as it grows and develops. Jay completed a number of social enterprise programs, including Impact Academy, the School of Social Entrepreneurs’ Change Makers and Accelerator programs; INCUBATE Accelerator Program; and Young Social Pioneers. Through such programs, Jay has built an effective network of people who help him with ideas, support, business referrals and growth. These include designers, developers, serial entrepreneurs, and tech commercialisation gurus. Promise or Pay has also been recognised by a number of competitions, including awards from Deloitte and Optus, and is currently working in collaboration with these companies. Jay has personally received a 2015 Innovation Fellowship and funding from the Myer Foundation to further develop Promise or Pay.