Members' Stories - Kofi | BeMore

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Members’ Stories – Kofi

I believe that giving is one thing everyone can do, whether it’s time or money. When I first heard about BeMORE, I liked that there was a set-up where there were less rules attached to how you give. And it really appealed that you can give much more money by collaborating than you could by yourself. If you give £1,000 to charity, that’s a nice donation, but is it really going to help the organisation? By giving together in a BeMORE group, you could give £20,000. There’s much more benefit in the power of the team than in giving as an individual.

BeMORE is a collaboration of people doing good. The really interesting thing is that you can collaborate with people from such different backgrounds. I’m a guy from east London, living in the urban world and working in social enterprise, with a corporate background. I was in a group with people working in the City, from the mining industry, people who’d set up organisations. Our group had a mix of people from all different industries, all collaborating together and getting along. I have found them some of the most wonderful people – they make me laugh all day long. And we’re such different characters, it’s unbelievable!

It made the early days really interesting, when we were deciding what cause to give to. Our different backgrounds brought different perspectives. I looked at what good we could do locally in London, while other people thought much bigger and internationally. We discussed things like whether we should do something that could benefit people longer-term or straight away, and how we could help most people. There was lots of moral debate – should we invest in technologies and ideas with the potential to benefit millions in the future, or projects that were helping people right now? These discussions were the most interesting part for me.

To help us decide, our group drew up a list of criteria. We decided we wanted to fund a project where our own skills could support the charity or social enterprise as well as our money, to help it grow. We felt that was a massive thing because we all wanted keep in touch with them long-term. Drawing up the criteria was challenging, because we were coming from different perspectives, but really interesting.

We each suggested different organisations that we felt met the criteria, then voted in secret. The vote resulted in ID UK. What was great is that when we talked to ID UK, we learnt they could access match funding if we donated to them at a certain time, so they’ll actually receive double the amount we’re giving them. I’ve come from a social enterprise background, so I know what a struggle it can be to get funding and how much that amount could help. Our beneficiaries have been ever so grateful.

Our mentor Rennie helped our group and was essential really, because he’d already been through the process. He helped us decide how we would operate and how we could form and frame things.

We also made the effort to get to know each other in our group. We went out together, and had meetings at places we could eat and drink. That meant it didn’t feel like we were preparing to give away money – we were making friends. It’s much easier to do these things if you all get along. I feel like I’ve made some friends for life. We were also sympathetic to each other’s time commitments – if some people had to travel or couldn’t make meetings, no one judged them for it.

The greatest thing I learnt is how people from all different backgrounds and careers can come together to make something work well. That kind of collaboration is a challenge to society generally, but it was really cool in our group.

BeMORE is not just about giving money – you’re making new friends at the same time, and making a long-term connection with a charity. You are helping people who are going to help more people. And you realise that there are people out there who actually care, which isn’t always how society sees things. I think it’s really cool and I would recommend it 110%.

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