Pat and Reuben are the faces behind One Percent Collective, a Wellington-based charity that’s pushing a generosity movement in Aotearoa. One Percent has grown from being a “small hack it all together yourself charity” to one that has raised over $335,000 from 300 Collective donors.
In building a community, One Percent has picked up donors, founders, contributors and an award winning director, all to back some pretty epic charities right here in New Zealand. We chat to founder Pat to find out more.
In the beginning
Pat’s personal motivation to foster a giving culture grew out of a volunteering trip to the Thai / Burma border. He spent six weeks working with migrant and refugee children who had fled the military regime in Burma. “I saw the hardships they face and saw how privileged a life so many of us get to live, we won life’s lottery!” This realisation led Pat to co-manage the small charity he had volunteered with, so started his journey into the world of giving and generosity.
Funding the cause
One of the tough realities of running a charity is that it needs more than positive outcomes to survive; it also needs cold hard cash. Funding a new charity is even more difficult. As Pat realised, “you have no track record of impact and really just an idea and a story to inspire people with.”
Pat needed about $40k to build his dream into a reality and operate for one year. His friend came up with the “Founding 40” model; 40 people donating $20 a week for one year. “After many many emails to wealthy business owners who all said no, it was my friends and family who all said yes, they believed in me and in the idea and helped us bring the Collective to life.”
“The Future 50 concept continued this model with 50 people at $20 a week, it provides most of our current funding, alongside support from Trade Me, The Original Cocoa Traders and Namaste Foundation.”
Growing a Collective community
The One Percent Collective is all about starting a movement of giving. For Pat, the most effective way to achieve this goal has been about keeping it real, relatable and tangible. “It’s really about us being human, getting out there and sharing our dreams, our challenges, our stories and ultimately how simple the 1% model is.”
Pat also understands the importance of his networks, using connections from past roles to help push the Collective into the future. “We’ve held many events with charities and generous NZ musicians, we inspire people through our free Generosity Journal and we share many impact stories through the world of social media.”
The Generosity Journal
One Percent regularly distributes The Generosity Journal, “the free journal of humanity, creativity and mighty fine people”. Pat sees the Journal as an incredibly powerful storytelling tool and a way to create a ripple effect of generosity. “One of my favourite stories was about a lady who walked into her dentist appointment in tears as she was so touched reading all the stories in the waiting room, she said it reminded her of all the wonderful people she had met in her years of volunteering in the community.”
People who give a shit
The first time I jumped on the One Percent website I couldn’t help but notice its marketing angle was a little, well, unconventional. “We find that so much of the language in the charitable world is very PC or very dry, it doesn’t grab people and it really doesn’t fit with the way many of us talk on a day to day basis".
In exploring ways to draw in an audience, One Percent has sought feedback and guidance from the 300+ people that make the Collective possible. “It’s not that we decided to come up with an edgy way of writing that would work with our brand guidelines, it was simply us saying things as we would if we were talking to our friends.”
A word of advice
Pat has not only founded a charity, but works closely with other charities to help them succeed. His advice to someone who is considering whether to start their own charity? “Starting a charity is extremely hard work and will take a huge personal commitment of time, energy and your own money.”
“My biggest advice to start would be to see if anyone is already doing what you want to do, get involved with them and see if you can join their mission, that will save duplication of ideas and will save you all the legal, financial and personal challenges that come from setting up a charity from scratch.”
It is clear that Pat has achieved just that through the Collective. You can join Pat and Reuben in fueling the generosity movement here.