Between 12-2.00pm every weekday it appears that every working Londoner pops out to Pret a Manger, EAT or M&S for lunch. And there’s a new one opening each week too. It’s quick, easy, gets you a ten-minute breath of fresh air and only sets you back by about £5.
Philanthropy is a concept many think is only for the super rich, the Bill Gates or the Richard Bransons of this world, or at least those with a nice house and a couple of million in the bank. But as I learnt from my experience of working with BeMORE this is far from the case.
BeMORE pairs up a group of strangers, asks them to donated £10,000 collectively, or about £1,000 each, and finds a core donor to match this amount. A mentor guides them through a process to decide on which charity to donate the money to.
Sounds like a lot to give away? It works out at about equivalent to £3.85 per week day, a bit less than that take out lunch.
Though this experience I have met a highly talented and interesting group of people that I would never have met otherwise. The group members include a charity founder, a tech start-up entrepreneur and an academic. Not the stereotypical philanthropists I had in mind!
In April 2014 I met my group and we’ve met every 4-6 weeks since. We have challenged each other, learnt from each other, relied on each other, turned from a group of strangers to a group of friends and we’re working to give £20,000 away to an amazing charity.
It’s taken us to unforeseen places; we have been invited to the House of Lords, been to a cocktail party on HMS President and attended a networking event in a Victorian Mansion on the banks of the Thames (and the basement of Somerset House!)
We have come up with a strict criteria for selecting the charity that we have all contributed to and now we have the job of finding the perfect charity for our donation.
We will work with the selected charity to discuss what impacts we will be able to have with this money, where they most urgently need funds and ensure their business model is well adapted for long-term success. This may include volunteering or offering strategic advice.
Overall The BeMORE experience has given us all a far more in depth and critical perspective to donating to charity, we have met new people and learnt a huge amount in the process.
£3.85 well spent!