Innovation In Giving

‘Donate by Doing’ is a new form of sponsorship that replaces cash with action, enabling people to actively engage their friends in doing social and environmental good.

Donate by Doing works like existing sponsorship sites, but when a ‘doer’ commits to a big challenge like a marathon, instead of asking for money they ask their friends to support them through simple actions that make a positive social impact – this could be anything from eating local seasonal food or cycling to work, to washing clothes at 30°C.

The value of their ‘donations’ is calculated in terms of how much CO2 it saves, with the potential CO2 savings published alongside their pledge on their friend’s sponsorship page. The sponsor also receives helpful advice and reminders about their action throughout the sponsorship period – which is two months long. Here’s an example:

The idea is to encourage sustainable living in a way that’s simple and fun, while demonstrating how lots of small changes can add up to a very big change.


Since its launch in May 2011, more than 600 people have raised sponsorship for challenges ranging from running the London Marathon to a 24-hour busk; skiing to the South Pole to taking part in Tough Mudder.

Having launched with ‘Donate by Doing’ as the focus, in mid-2013 the organisation launched a new revenue-generating arm of The Donation: Do Good for Business. This uses the same platform (albeit in a very different way), to run employee engagement programmes within organisations – encouraging employees to embrace more sustainable lifestyles.

The programme uses friendly team competition to motivate and reward employees for doing good, by making simple changes to their travel, energy, waste disposal and eating habits. The online tool attracted more than 6,700 pledges in its first year, saving around 192 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Founding Director Hermione Taylor says: “Our mission is to make sustainable living mainstream and in order to do this and reach out to hundreds more users, we are working with these companies to help spread the word.”

The award:

The DoNation was awarded £49,800 in the first round of the Innovation in Giving Fund, to integrate more social ‘DoActions’ onto the site and develop key partnerships to increase the number of people participating.

In 2013, the DoNation secured further funding through Wayra UnLtd, an accelerator programme set up to nurture startups which are making a positive social impact.

Contact details:

Hermione Taylor, founding director


“I love the idea that lies behind The DoNation. Doing one thing often leads to another, and inspires others to do the same. The power of one becomes the power of many – and that’s exactly what we need today.”
– Johnathon Porrit, Founder of Forum for the Future.

Related projects

Related links


  • No public Twitter messages.