General ramblings

The DoNation

October 19, 2014

Today, we have an interview with Harriet Rockliff, part of  the fab team behind the DoNation.

DoNation1

What is the DoNation I hear you cry? Find out below!

1. Tell us all about the DoNation!
What is it? How does it work? And what does it aim to do?

The DoNation is a platform where people can make, measure and share personal pledges, to do things like recycling, switching off lights or sharing with neighbours. It’s all about showing people the small things that we can do to make a difference in the face of climate change; and about empowering people to engage in those healthy and environmentally friendly habits, which together add up to make a bigger difference.

It works in two ways:

  • Donate by Doing is a sponsorship platform, much like JustGiving, but instead of donating cash, people ‘donate’ actions. For example, Shem runs a marathon and asks all his friends and family to ‘sponsor’ him by choosing an action to pledge on The DoNation. They do the action for two months. Shem collectively raises 52 pledges and saves 3,478kg’s carbon.
  • Do Good for Business is an online programme for employee engagement in sustainability. Teams of staff compete against one another to make the most pledges and save the most carbon. For example, ERM are running a competition across 8 different offices in the UK. So far, they have raised 682 pledges and saved 32 tonnes of carbon. Moreover, 41% of participants said that their experience with The DoNation made them proud of what ERM was doing to tackle sustainability.

2. Who are the people behind the DoNation? And why are you so passionate about sustainable living?

Hermione Taylor-Founding Director

Hermione Taylor

Hermione Taylor- Picture from The DoNation

Hermione completed an MSc in Environmental Technology, learning the ins and outs of the global environmental scenario and international climate policy. Her thesis acted as great market research for The DoNation – it was the first comprehensive analysis of the role of climate change pledge schemes on environmental behaviour change. How handy! She’s always known she wanted to work in the environmental field and has a diverse range of experience, but she had never dreamt of setting up her own business… it all came about rather by surprise.
Hermione’s a big ideas person. Her expertise in environmental policy, behaviour change, and her unyielding enthusiasm for saving the environment is the (bio)diesel engine driving DoNation forward and beyond

Harriet Rockliff-Chief Operating Officer

Harriet Rockliff

Harriet Rockliff -Picture from The DoNation

Harriet joined Hermione in 2012 fresh out of a Master’s in International Studies. After writing her thesis on the individual’s responsibility in the face of climate change, The DoNation was the perfect fit.
Harriet: “For me sustainability isn’t just about the environment or ‘saving the planet’. Sustainability is an approach to life which encompasses both these things and more; it’s about living in a balanced way which means we can prosper as a species: environmentally, economically and socially. When you look at the selection of DoActions on The DoNation, they often have a number of benefits e.g taking the stairs instead of the lift (Step Up) doesn’t just save that tiny bit of energy; it’s gets you healthier and fitter too. These types of behaviours just make more sense overall, and that to me is what sustainability is all about.”

Richard Parker-Business Development

Richard Parker-Picture from The DoNation

Richard has a background in retail sales management, business psychology and communications. He moved to London from from Chester and has fallen in love with the vibrancy and culture of the city and tries to explore on his bike as much as he can.
Richard: “I really believe sustainable living isn’t just a greener way of life, it’s a better way of life. Who doesn’t want be healthier by riding bikes instead of taking the car? Who doesn’t want less reliance on expensive oil  and coal from other countries by having our own sustainable energy? Who doesn’t want better and cheaper public transport? Locally sourced, fresh, affordable food? Closer and more sociable communities? The solutions to climate change are the solutions to living in a better world and by all making a few positive steps we can move forward together.”

Martin Warne-Chief Technical Officer

Martin Warne-picture from The DoNation

Martin Warne-picture from The DoNation

Martin joined DoNation in February 2014, taking on front and back end development of our new platform. His passion for UX, sustainability, and behavioural change makes him much more than a ‘techie’ and a real asset to the team.

Jesy Corell-Design and Communications

Jesy Cordell-picture from The DoNation

Jesy Cordell-picture from The DoNation

Our very own digital art expert. She puts the spice into our websites and products, giving a truly unique DoNation feel to everything we churn out.

You can find out more about the lovely team behind The DoNation here.

3. What is the story behind the DoNation, and how did it come about?

 Hermione started The DoNation back in 2009 when she decided to cycle from London to Morocco. She wanted to raise support for the cycle ride and dedicate it to the cause she was passionate about: the environment and sustainability. She realised however, that the environment needed people’s action more than it needed their money and so she went about asking people to ‘donate’ simple, environmentally friendly actions (not cash) for her big challenge.

The idea was a hit and developed into Donate by Doing. In three years, it has cumulated over 6000 users, nearly 10,000 pledges and some solid experience on creating long-lasting behaviour change.

After two successful years running Donate by Doing, The DoNation’s second product began to develop, almost by accident. ‘Do Good for Business’ arose from a need in the market – a need from businesses who wanted to engage and inspire employees in sustainable habits.

4. I understand you have a Crowd Funding campaign taking place at the moment-can you tell us a bit about it, what you are raising funding for, and how people can get involved?

For a while now we have really wanted to scale up The DoNation. In order to have a bigger impact we really need to reach more people. Our business programmes have been a great step in the right direction; we have been able to reach out to thousands more, changing attitudes and behaviours.

However, in order to continue this great work, we need to connect with many more businesses and further develop our platform.

We are currently raising £150,000 of investment which will enable us to expand our sales, marketing and product development team and thus reach more companies and create greater impact. We are already 52% of the way to our target, so if you’d like to become part of our journey take a look at the campaign here.

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You can also watch the video which explains it all here

5. What is your favourite DoNation “Do”? ie what has been your favourite challenge that someone has done.

 Wow, this is a tough question as there really has been so many! You’ll definitely have to take a look at our Doer of the Month page as there are some fab people on there! (Did you know you can also win a year’s supply of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream be being out top doer?!)

DoNation2

One of the challenges that definitely stands out is The 5000 mile Project. Dave and Katharine Lowrie ran the entire length of South America to raise awareness of environmental issues and conservation. They are seriously inspiring and well worth checking out!

6. Do you have any top tips for sustainable living?

 Hmmm, I certainly know of some DoActions that people could start with! There are some great videos and tips on those pages which help people out with a number of behaviour shifts toward more sustainable living.

I think the important thing is to do what you can and to share and spread the word with others. The more we talk about sustainability the more prevalent it will become; and the more people we know live this way; the more mainstream it can become!

Thanks so much Harriet, for telling us all about the fabulous work of The DoNation-what a brilliant and inspiring concept!
Very best wishes for the crowd funding campaign.

Lovely blog readers, if you like the sound of the DoNation, and the work that they are doing (and why wouldn’t you?!), please do consider giving them a helping hand by contributing to their crowdfunding campaign 🙂

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