Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.
I was first introduced to B1G1 Business for Good through Carol Pearce at Naked Specs. You may recall how Carol’s company donates five pairs of glasses or the equivalent funding amount for treatment, such as cataract surgery, when a purchase is made in her online optical store. She uses B1G1 to ensure that the charities and projects that Naked Specs supports are completely vetted.
Before I had the chance to contact B1G1 on Carol’s advice, I had an email in my inbox thanking me for the mention of B1G1 in my post about Naked Specs. It was from B1G1’s Chairman, Paul Dunn. While he was in Cambodia on the 2014 B1G1 Study Tour, he noted that we should connect when he got back.
B1G1 is based in Singapore. As the website notes, “B1G1 Business for Good is a collective brand for businesses who share the vision of giving back and making a difference in our world.” When Paul and I finally connected via Skype (on an evening for me and a morning for Paul, due to the time difference), the first thing I noted were the large letters on the wall behind him: Impact Habit Connection. When I asked about the words, Paul told me those words are what drives B1G1.
So how does B1G1 work? The following screenshot from the website explains the program.
B1G1 is a membership-based company. When your business joins, you can choose which high-impact projects you want to support. As a member you can use the B1G1 logo and share your impact with your clients and/or customers. (See how a B1G1 member is sharing its impact here.) You can also create a gratitude certificate to give to your clients / customers so they know their purchase made a difference. Paul shared the story of a man who gave extra money when he paid his accountant for doing his taxes, just because he knew he his money would be going to a good cause.
B1G1 does not take a percentage of donations, so 100% of members’ giving goes directly to the charities and projects they support. You can find out more about how the program works and how the organization is structured. There is the social enterprise side that works with businesses, and the nonprofit side that works with the worthy causes.
The causes and projects that are the recipients of the donations are put through a strict selection process that looks at three key elements: impact and efficiency; transparency and integrity; and uniqueness and scalability. If you are wondering about impact, you can view this neat interactive map that shows the participating businesses and the projects they support all around the world. According to the website, they work with nearly 1,000 businesses from over 20 countries, with members creating over 30 million micro-giving impacts since 2007.
So how did B1G1 come about? The story is actually quite amazing. Watch this video to hear founder Masami Sato tell the story of how she overcame some incredible obstacles while making her small business work and how it led her to let go and imagine a world that was full of giving. It is 17 minutes that is worth your time. (Particularly if you are a mother, as I know many of my readers are!)
Prior to being involved with B1G1, Paul (who, by the way, was one of the first ten people in Hewlett-Packard Australia) tells me business was all about adding value and having fun. Today, business is all about giving back.
If you are not ready for B1G1 Business for Good, there is also a personal giving side of B1G1 called Giving Life. Giving Life allows you to tie basic everyday activities to giving. You can create your own giving journal, track your impact and share with others.