Trading For Good
At the Business in the Community AGM last week, Kay Allen OBE was named as a game changer, and it is very well deserved.
I came to know Kay whilst researching and scoping the business giving programme as part of the Innovation in Giving Fund. Kay is the founder of Trading for good, a free to use social media platform designed to showcase the good work that small businesses do in their community.
Small businesses set up their own profile page on the Trading for good site where they can upload details of their responsible business activities, helping them to secure consumer loyalty and competitive advantage. It aims to encourage SMEs to be more socially responsible, demonstrating that good business practice can help grow profits.
It fits a different and important niche.
We know that small businesses make up an ever increasing proportion of the private sector, and play a hugely important role in the areas in which they operate.
What we don’t know is the different levels and types of giving and exchange; there is very little known data on the behaviours of SMEs in the local giving space. In fact that has been the fundamental challenge that I’ve faced in designing the business giving programme.
Trading for good fills a critical gap and it will be an important part of the forthcoming programme. We are proud to be supporting the platform with a grant from the Cabinet Office, which will be matched by funding and resource from Santander.
I’m really looking forward to working with Kay and her team in 2013 to utilise Nesta’s reach and influence and ensure that Trading for good fulfills its potential as a real game changer.
Posted by Lynette on December 11, 2012
The Sharing Economy Goes Global But UK Consumers Miss a Trick
It’s a busy time for the Sharing Economy as this week sees the first Global Sharing Day take place on Nov 14th with 161 partner organizations and a reach of over 60 million people in 147 countries. Created by The People Who Share, the day will see millions around the world come together to share resources, ideas, skills and knowledge from 1-2pm as part of The Greatest Share on Earth.
The People Who Share have united the leadership of the Sharing Economy including Shareable Magazine, Mesh Labs and OuiShare with partner support from collaborativeconsumption.com to put the Sharing Economy on the global stage.
But despite the fact that the emerging Sharing Economy is now reported to be worth over £310 billion globally, UK consumers seem to be missing a trick. Research commissioned by The People Who Share, carried out by Opinium and released today reveals that Britons make and save £8 billion a year through sharing but the potential is far higher.
Research among 2,000 UK adults over 18 reveals that on average UK adults save £99 and make £335 a year, primarily through sharing services such as selling second-hand goods booking or share or swap childcare services or sharing a ride. But super users of the Sharing Economy report that by using innovative tech sites like compareandshare.com Airbnb Whipcar and Love Home Swap you can save thousands.
I for one, have seized the opportunity to share and am saving £20,000 a year. The advent of sharing sites enables the savvy to live a shareable lifestyle, by using the things that you don’t need, to get the things that you do.
Times are tough, people need to do more with less and for anyone who isn’t maximizing their resources they’re missing out. We have the technological ability to share the world; we just need to make it easier to share than not to.
Benita Matofska is Founder and Chief Sharer of The People Who Share, the company behind compareandshare.com the first aggregator of the Sharing Economy.
The full research paper can be found here: http://www.compareandshare.com/global-sharing-day/partner-activity/UK-Consumer-Earnings-from-Sharing-Survey2012
Posted by Lynette on November 14, 2012
Award-winning innovations – brief reflections from the inaugural digital fundraising awards
Last week I attended the inaugural Blackbaud’s Digital Fundraising Awards in association with UK Fundraising. The awards are designed to specifically recognise and celebrate the people / organisations that are using digital tools to fundraise in the most effective way with awardees being decided by a combination of expert panel reviews and public voting – with over 8,000 people submitting their votes. From an Innovation in Giving Fund perspective, we were delighted that a number of the innovations that the fund is backing were recognised and short-listed.
Timto, Pennies and Blue Dot were all recognised in the ‘Most Promising Digital Tool’ category and we were delighted that Timto won the overall award, with Blue Dot being highly commended. Although, all three of these innovations are focused upon different areas of giving – gifting, micro-donations and alternative currencies for positive social action – what they have in common is the ability to embed giving deeper into everyday life through tapping into different motivations.
In Timto’s case, it seeks to tap into the established motivation of giving and gifting to celebrate special occasions, whilst Pennies enables customers to donate small sums seamlessly as part of everyday transactions and Blue Dot incentivises giving through reward and recognition. Indeed, embedding giving into everyday activity was a theme, with a number of awards being made for innovations that facilitate this, for example Acorns and Aston Villa Football Club’s Text to Donate campaign.
The other clear theme to emerge from the awards was a strong reminder of the importance of holistic integration of technology with other aspects of strategic planning, product development, marketing, and communications in maximising the impact of digital giving innovations.
The importance of this was further highlighted in Visceral Business’ Social Charity 100 report which was presented at the awards and provides a comprehensive overview of social charities in the UK. It presents the clear take away that effective performance depends upon picking the right portfolio of platforms, tools, offline support and technologies to suit organisational brand and personality.
This is an area that we really recognise and are constantly striving to support the innovations that are backed through the Innovation in Giving Fund to cultivate and grow through tailored non-financial support, networking / partnership development and possible follow-on funding for promising innovations.
In addition, through the Open Innovation Programme we have bought together 28 well-known charities with a number of giving innovations (many of which are backed through other strands of the Innovation in Giving Fund) and it has been fascinating to observe how partnerships come together and witness, first hand, how organisational focus, values and long-term objectives have influenced charities decisions regarding who to partner with and how in order to develop their proposed solutions for their organisational giving challenges. As phase one of the programme has just ended, we look forward to supporting some of these partnerships grow and develop in phase two.
Posted by Lynette on October 24, 2012
Standing Out From The Crowd
One of my favourite things about these amazing Olympics has been the Games Makers. That’s the 70,000 or so volunteers that can be seen across Central London and at Olympic venues all over the country.
Whether you like the colour or not, there is something inarguably cool about a bunch of ordinary people standing out from the crowd in their Games Maker kits (kudos to Adidas). You know there’s no pretensions, no cynicism – just great people giving up their time for someone or something else.
Are they motivated by the chance to be part of something bigger; to be a part of the greatest show on earth? Of course they are and there’s nothing wrong with that.
These people are literally making the games possible by giving up their time to do everything from directing the flows of people at tube stations to mopping up the sweat on the badminton courts. It’s social action on a massive scale.
What’s even more striking is how the rest of us respond. We smile at them in the street and say hello, I’ve seen people stand on crowded trains to offer their seats to weary looking Games Makers on their way home and they’ve even got battle-hardened commuters like me having conversations early in the morning as we eagerly ask them what venue they’re at and what it’s like.
A few months ago I was in Cambridge town centre on what happened to be the day of Race for Life. That’s another huge display of collective social action, as hundreds of thousands of women run 5k to raise much needed funds for research into cancer. It is though, much more than a fun run. The runners dress in a uniform of pink and wear on their backs the names of the mums, aunties, sisters and friends who have suffered that disease. It is a collective act of solidarity with intensely personal motivations on display. Too easily taken for granted, it is a remarkable thing.
That morning we went for brunch and again I was struck by the way that the “rest of us” reacted to the runners as they started to arrive for some well-earned food. As each woman in pink arrived, the owner of the restaurant welcomed them with a glass of fizz on the house and a little cheer went up across the dining room.
So what do the Games Makers and Race for Life have to tell us about social action and what are the lessons for the many innovators that are trying to find ways to get more of us to give our time and money to causes we care about?
First, we need to look at the potential for collective action to engage new people in giving their time for causes they care about. It’s a reasonable guess that many of the Games Makers and Race for Life runners were first time volunteers (if anyone’s got the data, let me know) and now that they’ve taken some social action, it’s more likely that they’ll go on to do something else.
The catalyst that got them giving might have been the excitement of being part of the Olympics or the pain of losing a loved one, but the effect is the same: they have taken social action and that will have changed their perceptions of themselves (see Timothy Wilson’s excellent book on how this happens).
And you don’t need an event as big as the Olympic Games to harness the power of collective civic acts. New York didn’t win the Olympics and it didn’t stop them mobilising an army of volunteers through Mayor Bloomberg’s City of Service initiative. They famously called on citizens to paint over 1 million square feet of the cities roofs white to help reduce carbon emissions from air conditioning. Now hundreds of cities across the US regularly mobilise an army of ordinary people to take social action together.
Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t happen here. Team London has been around for a few years now and is building a British version of the US Cities of Service in our capital. Perhaps it is time we created Team Swindon, Team Leeds, or Team Calderdale?
Alongside mobilising people to do some good together, we need to think more creatively about how we make giving visible and celebrated. Games Makers and the Race for Life deploy the very simple technology of clothing – a uniform that signals to the world that you are giving your time for others. It’s an incredibly powerful mechanism, but it’s not the only one.
Increasingly we all define ourselves to the world through social media. Innovations like Givey and Blue Dot are exploring the potential for these new social identities to capture information about our giving habits and make it part of the story we tell to the world.
Is there a possible future where alongside telling the world about our education, jobs and favourite films, social media platforms like facebook prompt us to say what social action we’ve taken?
Posted by Lynette on August 8, 2012