I remember watching Simon Sinek’s seminal ‘Start with Why’ Ted Talk for the first time. I was probably 21 or 22. It struck a chord with me, like it does with most young entrepreneurs.
I set about reverse engineering the ‘Why’ into the business I was running at the time. It didn’t work and I struggled to find a genuine ‘Why’. I think this is normal.
Actually, I would go beyond this and say that you can have an amazing business without ever finding an awe-inspiring ‘Why’. Though, having that purity of thought definitely helps.
With roundups, I consider myself fortunate because our ‘Why’ is crystal clear. The wording of our vision or mission statements may have changed a few times since our launch in October (and they likely will again) but that’s just a case of finalising semantics.
The narrative is pretty simple. Just a few years ago, people would regularly give loose change to fundraisers, charity boxes or homeless people. Nowadays, nobody carries cash so nobody donates pennies and the result is that donation boxes all over the country are empty. Ask your local shop keeper the last time he or she brought the donation box at their till in to the bank.
The upshot of this seismic behavioural shift is that charities and not-for-profits are losing millions every year. An estimated £80 million to be precise.
This is a serious problem.
The good news is that there are some fantastic initiatives using technology to help plug the gap –more about that in a later blog post– but with roundups we are really trying to change societal behaviour in a big way.
Imagine you donated a penny every time you tapped your contactless card.
Imagine the 2 million people that use the tube every day donated a penny every time they touched in.
That would equate to £120,000 every week. £6.2 million per year.
We are trying to drive a new behaviour in which tiny charitable penny donations are like a voluntary tax on purchases. As regular as contactless payment. Omnipresent. Mainstream.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, I’ll get back to defining our ‘why’…
WE STARTED WITH THIS MISSION:
To generate new revenue streams for nonprofits by facilitating, encouraging and growing the widespread practise of micro donations.
To facilitate over £20 million in new donations every year by serving 1,000,000 happy users on the roundups platform.
AND THESE VALUES:
NOW, WE SIMPLY SAY:
We want to make penny donations mainstream (again.)
I’m under no illusions. I appreciate the magnitude of creating this sort of behavioural change. I know that many people – probably smarter and better-connected than me – have had this exact thought process many times before.
Nevertheless, I think the timing is right to make it happen,
Wish us luck.