So it started just over 4 years ago. We signed our first cheque as a charitable foundation for £72.97p (we’d actually raised a total of £689.64 between 36 donors when you included all donations through Just Giving that month, but it was significant that £72.97 had come formally through the charitable foundation for the first time)

It started out so small, 8 people originally giving 1% for malaria treatments, and it just grew step by step. We didn’t need to try hard, our excitement about the potential of the idea was enough to encourage new people to give 1% to eradicate poverty.

First just 8 ambitious 1%Members then 13, 34, 36, 40, 49 etc. within 6 month we were giving over £1,000 a month. We felt that we were already winning. The challenge for us was really to understand and research how to best use this funding, to find the best partner charities, with good reputation, governance and with quantifiable impact.

Over the following months (and years) we formalised (and annually review) criteria for partner selection so we can fund the very best poverty alleviation interventions. Essentially, while not without room to evolve, we try our hardest to do the most with the least every month.

Four years on our intent has not changed. We want to build a network of givers to contribute towards the eradication of extreme poverty. We’ve had a few growing pains going from amateur status, to registered foundation and to registered charity. We’ve taken steps forwards and steps backwards too, but I suppose that’s normal for anyone trying to build anything. We are still working with a ‘100% model’ ie 100% of the 1% Donations go to projects and we fundraise for any of our basic running costs separately (more recently through an incredible network of businesses who support our admin costs as 1% Businesses)

This model sets us apart from most fundraisers, when you give through Be One Percent it is not an empty donation to a big pot, the money is partnered monthly for a very specific purpose and outcome and not a penny is spent on marketing/admin or staff costs. We are striving to continue with this model as the charity grows. What you donate gets used for a specific purpose and outcome every month and the campaign achievement is summarised in your monthly member email.

What continues to blow my mind, as our membership slowly grows (one of the downfalls of not having a marketing budget!), is how much can be achieved from only a small network of givers.

In the last month we have reached a milestone. Be One Percent Members have now donated over 20 Million Pence (£200,000) to poverty alleviation projects. We are proud of every penny, because every penny goes to poverty alleviation projects. Not a penny less.

183 people giving 1% can achieve a surprising amount, and you might be surprised at what your 1% could do. To give a few examples: we now annually fund school meals for over 1,500 children across 3 schools in Malawi and Liberia. We fund treatments against Tropical Diseases for over 10,000 people each year and we have now funded long-life nets to protect 17,000 people against malaria.

If you are a 1%Member, thank you! We are achieving so much, so much more than can be properly communicated through monthly email updates. What we are part of is a small commitment to a big change and though our interventions are often small gifts the overall impact is life changing and sometimes life-saving. We can change the world together. Please share this post on your facebook and twitter.

My only ask, if you are not a 1%Member, is if you would consider trying giving 1% with us for a few months and see how it goes!

You can start fighting poverty with your 1% now:


Thanks to all our 1%Members!

Steve Pilgrim – Be One Percent Co-Founder and Trustee

05 May 13 Mary's Meals