Non-traditional fundraising benefits businesses
One Percent Collective is a Wellington charity with a non-traditional approach to fundraising and a simple method of giving. Founder Pat Shepherd opens up about the benefits for businesses who support it.
One Percent Collective is a Wellington charity with a non-traditional approach to fundraising and a simple method of giving. Founder Pat Shepherd opens up about its uniqueness and the benefits for businesses who support it.
NZB: What inspired you to create One Percent Collective?
PAT: I spent some time volunteering with migrant and refugee children on the Thai/Burma border and that really introduced me to how small amounts of money can absolutely change people’s lives.
I then read Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save and was inspired by his thinking.
I brought together my creative contacts from my design world and small charities that were doing amazing work and hatched a plan for how we could inspire more Kiwis to give one percent of their income to causes they care about on a regular basis.
NZB: How hard was it getting a charity off
PAT: It was extremely challenging. We aren’t your regular charity and so we don’t fit into grant funding opportunities. Some might call us a ‘meta charity’, where we exist to inspire generosity and to simplify regular giving so that other organisations can thrive.
We were lucky to have Ben Irving, now COO at Mons Royale, produce a funding model that helped us launch. We called it the Founding 40 – that’s 40 people donating $20 a week for one year, which meant $41,600 for us to launch and run the organisation for a year.
This model evolved into our current Future 50 funding model, which is similar in style, with 50 people or small businesses. However, it’s not time limited like the Founding 40 model.
NZB: What’s so unique about One Percent Collective?
PAT: We are so incredibly focused on the user experience, from the sign up process to how we talk to and treat our donors once they join up with their one percent. Once on-board we never ask for more funding; we simply work to share stories on the impact our one percent’s collectively are making, plus invite them to Collective events when possible.
We hear a lot of donors saying that they’ve never felt such human warmth when they’ve given to charity on a regular basis – yet for us, being human is really the easiest way we can connect with people.
We’ve created a giving experience that means people donate for many years. This then means our partner charities can forecast and plan better, which ultimately means they are working more on the impact and innovation side of things, rather than always thinking about where the next dollar’s coming from.
NZB: You seem to attract a young donor audience; more than 50 percent are millennials. Why is the Collective so appealing to this demographic?
PAT: The language and marketing methods we use are quite different from many of the traditional fundraising methods of larger organisations. A younger demographic relates to this approach. They can tell when they are being marketed to. If we can relax the approach to giving and let people see what a positive impact they’re having, while also making the experience as easy as possible, I think we’ll keep appealing to how they like to be treated.
However, Gen X or Baby Boomers also come to our events, or learn about how we’re doing things differently. They absolutely love our approach too!
NZB: How have you managed to attract businesses and maintain their support?
PAT: Our Future 50 funding model is a way to ensure 100 percent of people’s donations go to charity, as that model covers our running costs. However, when it was time to slightly expand the team, we had to look into where that funding would come from.
Early on we built great relationships with businesses such as Trade Me and Flick Electric Co. as we shared our story at staff events, and were lucky enough to have some of their staff volunteer their skills. So when the time came to expand, we reached out to these businesses to see if they’d be interested in getting behind the movement. We were extremely open with our plans, our financials and what impact their support would make.
Now we are lucky enough to have Trade Me, Flick Electric Co., PaySauce and Wellington Hospitality Group as our Superhero sponsors and The Original Cocoa Traders, Klim Type Foundry, Sam Newble and BizDojo as Hero sponsors.
NZB: What are the benefits of businesses supporting One Percent Collective?
PAT: We have a number of businesses who are part of our Future 50 and many small businesses who donate their one percent to our partner charities. For our sponsors the main thing is to make an impact in the community; I believe the days of just doing it for logo placement are over.
Companies see the positive impact it has on staff when they get behind a cause and with many of the businesses who support us that has been such a huge part of it. The staff share their knowledge to help us and our partner charities to do more, and by doing so it means even more people are helped.
NZB: Why is it important that businesses demonstrate corporate social responsibility and support charities?
PAT: There’s strong evidence to show businesses financially benefit when they focus on their CSR and support the community. I feel that the most important element is the impact on staff – every day they are working not just to make some shareholders wealthier, but to have an impact in the community. After all, if a business isn’t surrounded by a healthy community, that business will likely not thrive.
NZB: What are your future plans and goals for One Percent Collective?
PAT: It’s a really exciting year for us as we edge closer to the million dollars raised milestone and our goal of more than 1,000 donors by the end of 2018. We have incredible supporters working with us on an upcoming video campaign, our next ‘Generosity Journal’, as well as other opportunities to help spread the word on our one percent ethos.
With our tiny marketing budget we have to get ‘crazy creative’ in order to maximise every dollar we spend on comms, and we work closely with our Collective donors and supporters to spread the word far and wide.