One key part of being a well managed and focused good cause is to have a Golden Thread that goes through everything you do. This Golden Thread is all about your true purpose and what ‘North’ means to you. It’s a way to ensure you are staying the course and can navigate purposefully ahead in complex waters. However, it assumes that you really do know your purpose. In my experience, that is not always easy to define and can involve a great deal of discussion with twists and turns along the way.
When four of us started TheGivingMachine a number of years ago, we wanted to build a machine that generated a free source of funds going back into the community via good causes like the ones we were all connected to personally. We thought that larger charities would love the mechanism too and help us grow it into a large scale.
However, along the way we learned a few interesting points:
- Large charities often have professional fundraisers who tend to utilise large scale fundraising tools/mechanisms to generate funds and find it easier to just ask for money rather than use something that feels new or untried.
- Smaller local causes that don’t have professional fundraisers often have a limited audience to approach for support and can’t keep asking the same people for more money. They are therefore more open to utilising innovative giving mechanisms and be wary of asking too much.
So we were pulled into local communities via schools and other local causes and that’s where we’ve grown. We’ve come to know the amateur fundraisers quite well and learn about the amazing projects they work on and the disproportionate difference they make. This has led us to better define the WHY we feel we exist:
Because Every Good Cause Matters – Especially Yours
For our team, we are passionate about ensuring the lowest barrier possible to enabling everyone to become a philanthropist and to choose where to make a difference – and what could be lower than being able to give for free? Recently we’ve been asked to talk in local schools and our Golden Thread comes in handy here too.
Several local primary schools where have asked us to talk on our philosophy of giving. Typically we’ll highlight several smaller local causes that they may not have heard about and the benefits they give to the community. To make it interactive, we give every child 2 tokens and ask them to choose a couple of these local causes via voting jars to help us give away a small sum of money to help them make a difference. It’s all about giving, how it makes you feel and beginning a proactive journey to contribution – not just a passive responder to fundraising requests.
In the next talk I’ll be giving locally, the highlighted causes will include a cafe run for young people to go to after school where they can get support and help, an injured hedgehog rescue organisation, a winter night shelter for those without a roof over their heads and a local food bank which has seen a significant rise in usage. No matter what your age, it’s important to become aware of where the gaps are in our society and celebrate those that are working to patch them up.
The other part of the request (more for primary schools) is that I come dressed as I was for the 2018 Bishop’s Stortford Carnival – purple top hat and purple beard. My team has assured me that anything to help the message be remembered and enjoyed is a good thing but I’m sure I’ve heard the odd laugh or 2 behind my back!
CEO & Founder TheGivingMachine