App deal-breaker for small charities

It started with the idea of applying smartphone technology to the concept of a ‘tin shake’. Many of us are happy to wind down the car window and give a gold coin to a volunteer raising funds at the traffic lights. But do we actually engage with the organisation we’re donating to or understand what impact it will make? It’s only a dollar, it barely makes a dent in your wallet. But these types of fundraising activities can raise thousands of dollars in just one day, and make a huge difference.

We asked Kate Atkins, Co-Founder of start-up one7days how they are making a difference and the story behind building their social enterprise.

one7days app harnesses the power of numbers by making it easy and affordable for just about anyone to give to charity.

The concept is simple; give one Dollar (or one Pound or one Euro) every seven days. We perform research and due diligence to feature a different type of charity each week. The user simply downloads the app for free, signs in via email or Facebook and subscribes to give $1 a week or $52 up-front. You only need to enter your credit card details once with Stripe secure payment gateway.

We also offer corporate sponsorship packages in which businesses can donate quarterly, half-yearly or yearly. This is a way for corporates to be socially responsible and give back to the community, adding a valuable positive image among clients and employees. one7days offers a unique and very simple way to give to 52 different charities each year instead of aligning with just one cause.

Push notifications, social media and email are used to engage with donors so they can see the collective impact of their dollar, learning about causes they might otherwise not be aware of, and seeing the funds being put to good use by the featured charities.

Why did we chose to be a for-purpose organisation vs not for profit?

Our ultimate vision is to see one7days grow into something truly ground-breaking in terms of fundraising large amounts each week and bringing humanitarian stories to people’s attention. We especially want to help smaller community based non-profit organisations who struggle to raise funds as they are run mostly by volunteers with little-to-no marketing budget.

How did we cover the initial development costs?

One7days is an almost entirely self-funded enterprise, except for a rather unsuccessful Indiegogo campaign early on which failed to gain any real traction. Fortunately our founder Amy Eade could afford to take some financial risk, and therefore we have been able to keep the passion alive! We would love to talk to any venture capitalists interested in helping us grow the business, as there is obviously a limit to what can be achieved on a restricted budget.

The app design, development, marketing, PR, relationship management, financial auditing and ongoing tech upgrades are performed internally where possible with the cost of any outsourced services coming from our own pocket. A 7% commission is retained for ongoing maintenance of the platform, but a high volume of active users is required if there is to be any significant return on investment. For each user that gives $52 in a year, one7days only retains $3.64 per ANNUM, therefore it is not expected to ever be a highly profitable business. We currently have other active business projects which are more revenue-focused. However it is possible that one7days will remain simply a ‘feel good’ venture, and our own unique way of actuating corporate social responsibility.

Will the platform be used for other purposes? 

We certainly do have some ideas to use the platform for other creative fundraising initiatives, in schools is one example… watch this space!

This Insight was written by Kate Atkins, one7days Head of Research and Marketing, and Co-founder.  Kate has over 12 years experience in the insurance and financial services industry in management, operations and marketing.  More recently, fulfilling her philanthropic interests Kate has been an integral part of the creation of one7days through her charity research and managing partnership relationships.