As an initiative that focuses on helping businesses create a giving habit, a dilemma we experience can be when we have to discontinue or pause fundraising for some projects. This doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen occasionally.
We know change is sometimes required for progress in any business. This principle applies to the development work of our Worthy Cause Partners as well. The desire to create change in a given community sometimes requires a shift in the strategy or approach. Also, in a situation where funds raised for a project surpass the required funding level, pausing the fundraising for the project may be required too.
While this is totally reasonable, we see a potential challenge here. If any of our Business Members have created a long-term giving plan — like setting Giving Stories or Goals — with the discontinued projects, the change could disrupt their plan.
So, let’s look into this topic a little deeper to understand the reason behind any project status change and why it’s necessary (and beneficial), and how we can handle the project changes effectively.
HOW WE SELECT B1G1 PROJECTS
When we first assess the suitability and impact of projects proposed by our Worthy Cause partners, we ask questions like:
- What is the objective of this activity and what impact have you created so far?
- How long have you been running this project?
- Do you have clarity in your cost breakdown for delivering this activity?
- How many beneficiaries do you have? How do you intend to scale it?
The second question is particularly important in B1G1. We do not raise funds for brand new activities — even when they seem to be great. We usually recommend other fund-raising platforms for start-up ideas. Kickstarter, for example, might be a great place for a new solution that needs start-up funding to make the dream come true.
B1G1, on the other hand, focuses on long-term projects — things an experienced organisation has done for at least three years and for which it can show positive results.
We also make sure that the activity is currently being funded by other sources of income. Small giving coming from small businesses around the world can amalgamate to grow into great support. But there is no guarantee that this will happen. B1G1 is more organic. Our members choose what they want to support, so not all projects become popular immediately. Hence, we look for projects that need extra funding to do more of the great things they are already doing, while making sure that sustainability of their activities does not depend entirely on B1G1.
In other words, B1G1 can potentially provide great additional support for projects that have already passed the initial trial phase.
And this leads to the next point.
EVOLUTION OF PROJECTS
The work we put into selecting the right projects upfront makes our listed projects more sustainable and stable. But we also encourage continuous reviews and improvements. Doing exactly the same thing in the same way continuously might not be the key to transforming the real issue.
We have an annual review process to make sure that the renewal of the Worthy Causes and their projects leads to a greater impact. We ask for their Annual Report and financials to ensure that they’re delivering results and that their activities are stable. We also make sure that their projects are reasonably funded in B1G1. If some projects didn’t receive enough support in B1G1, we suggest improvements for the project listing, or even sometimes discontinue the listing of the projects in B1G1. Although it might sound better to have an impressive number of projects, we’d rather have a list that we feel confident is useful for our members and effective for our Worthy Causes.
So today, our 500+ projects are more than 98% supported and we aim to reach 100% as we continue to update and upgrade our project listing and review process.
When we review our projects, we also do things like re-confirming the project delivery cost. Just like the cost of living increases gradually with inflation, the cost of project deliverables can also change over time. As you know, through B1G1, 100% of what you give gets passed on to the Worthy Causes. But if the costing gets outdated, the 100% might not be enough to deliver the same benefits. So we pay attention to that.
To keep these project status changes from creating any inconvenience to your business, we recommend a couple of important things when you are determining how to give.
1) SETTING A LONG TERM GIVING PLAN
When you decide on a Giving Story or a Giving Goal, it’s better to keep the idea fluid so that if there’s any project change, you can update your giving plan accordingly.
This means that for setting a permanent mission or long-term plan, you can either select a type of giving that can easily be replaced with other similar projects, or you can contact us to check how to go about crafting your message before you proceed (especially important if you are placing that message on a large quantity of printed collaterals).
For a giving idea like “we plant a tree for every copy of this book we sell,” you can even give for the entire print quantity upfront when you do the printing. So, if the cost of project changes or if the specific project later becomes unavailable, you have already fulfilled your promise upfront. This also takes away the pain of tracking and remembering to give later.
We are also updating our Goal-setting feature to embrace a broader method to set your company goals, rather than tying your goal to a specific project. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
2) WORKING TOGETHER
Finally, the most important thing of all is that we are here to learn and make progress together.
Developing effective giving, just like the development of a sustainable business, is a long-term journey. To be successful, any strategy must be reviewed and adjusted over time. Along the way, many lives are transformed. And those whose lives are transformed will become the next leaders and givers to create a greater change in their communities.
We are grateful for the many partnerships we’ve made around the world to help achieve this mission — to create a world full of giving.
We look forward to learning even more together.