Steve and I started Be One Percent as an experiment, so as we approach our birthday I have to pinch myself to believe that we have really have raised over £340,000 in the past six years.
It’s a journey that’s been fantastic all along the way. When we first came together in 2011 we were trying to find a different way to raise money to relieve poverty in the developing world. We explored lots of options and eventually landed on the idea of getting a bunch of friends to donate 1% of their income. In our first month of fundraising we convinced eight friends to give and we still raised enough for malaria treatments for 332 people. The main driver for me in those early days was the feeling of being involved in something that was greater than the sum of its parts.
We’ve refined the concept a little since then. Put simply, individual people give 1% of their income each month to help end poverty. We gather this money through standing order or online banking. As a board of trustees we work with a select number of charity partners who excel in their field. Each month we pick the most efficient and effective project we can find and donate everything raised. Through our monthly email we are transparent in ensuring that our members know exactly how much was raised and where their money is going. Core business donors cover our overheads, so every single penny donated by individuals can go to help the world’s poorest people.
We now have over 200 members and to date have donated £341,575.61 to projects which genuinely save lives and improve the livelihoods of people who need it the most. Working with all of our charity partners is a complete privilege. It feels like some of what we do is the easy bit and the sheer complexity of what they try and do is so impressive. Their incredible work makes our members proud to be involved and makes me incredibly proud for the part I’ve been able to play. In the last year alone we have provided 190,000 meals, drilled a well, employed 96 health workers, bought beehives, protected nearly 5,000 people from malaria and much more… all with just a modest group of people donating 1% every month. There was a marker of our fifth birthday when 150 people attended an event to celebrate with us and it was just amazing to see this small movement was capturing people’s imagination.
If you are reading this as a donor, THANK YOU for entrusting your giving with us. We know you have a choice to invest in a whole heap of fantastic organisations and we feel really honored that you choose to give through us. We find that the movement grows not necessarily by advertising campaigns or by press but actually through word of mouth. If you are with us on this journey we really encourage you to do what you can to persuade others to join up, even if just for a month.
If you aren’t already involved, now is the time. Joining Be One Percent means that you are part of a community that is committed to ending poverty. You are seeking to make a difference and our job is to provide you with some of the best options we can in where to invest your money as effectively as you can. So rather than you having to spend time trying to find out which is the best charity out there, leave it to us and join the 200+ committed members who have helped me realise that the experiment we started six years ago is one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Matt Johnson, Be One Percent Co-Founder