In a gentle way, you can shake the world
Setting up your own 500 Reasons group
The best thing about this model is how easy it is to emulate and adjust it to best suit the bespoke needs of the community you and your friends are trying to create. Remember, this is just a guide. Feel free to use what you want, improve or finesse anything you fancy and discard anything you don’t need. This is the way it works for us. It may be completely different for you?
We are a fundraising group NOT a charity. It’s a small but important distinction. We started as 5 mates, each inviting 99 other mates to make our original 500. We’re merely 500 mates that chuck a quid in the hat each week and decide on an individual, family or institution to send £500 to each week. As a fundraising group you are able to do away with a lot of the bureaucracy that might slow you down, just get your 499 other lovely, likeminded members and off you go.
Just two rules
We have found 500 to be the perfect, manageable number and our nominations can be for anything, but we only have 2 rules. Nominations can’t have a religious or political bias. We found that was most condusive to group harmony. We 500 may have very different faiths and political leanings but our group is merely the coming together of a very diverse and disperate group of people to stand shoulder to shoulder and do some collective good. Harnessing that digital community and working collaboratively and supportively to do some good each week is much easier if we avoid anything potentially divisive, but again up to you.
The premise is that you get 500 like minded people together who donate £1 a week into a bank account. You need a small group of admin people (our original group has five). We’d advise that those people are people a) you get along with b) are front footed doers and productive members (as you can’t admonish laziness when people are giving their time for free!) c) have different skillsets (someone who’s good with money, someone who’s admin savvy, someone who’s great at marketing and publicity and maybe someone web savvy?)
Set up a bank account in the name of the administrator/s who are going to have access to it. Once you’ve got a bank account number and sort code you will have reference point for people to set up their £1 a week standing orders to.
Weekly nominations and donations
Any member of the group can make a nomination. We have an email inbox that members can send their nominations to. Asking members to use the subject "Nomination " helps! We also use dropbox/excel to keep track of the nominations, when they came in, which are urgent and whether the £500 donation has been made.
We tend to encourage full nominations rather than crowdfunding pages and big charities. We have found that it’s rewarding to help those individuals/causes that need it most and often slip through the net for various reasons.
The admin group tend to talk through a WhatsApp group to agree the most deserving or urgent nomination each week. It’s based on trust, honesty and respect, in a group who can be totally honest with each other without taking offence or being personal. It can be quite emotional choosing the best recipient each week. Majority rules. We aren’t always unanimous but we always agree with the decision. Once we’ve decided the recipient through a vote we get in touch with the person who nominated them and let them know and get the necessary bank details in order to transfer the money over (we transfer in two payments of £250 each on separate days).
Keeping your group informed
We use a closed Facebook group, with all the members who are on Facebook added to this. When we announce the weekly recipient we post it here along with a copy of the nomination so people can leave comments. Not all members are on Facebook and as admin we all have a couple of those and we have a round robin E Mail separately with the news of the weekly recipient by copying and pasting the write up (depending on who the nominee is, the person who has them in their team normally do the weekly write up).
We’ve found Facebook to be the best focal point of our digital community. We also let the recipients of the money see the comments and wellwishes as we’ve found that almost as important as the money itself is the idea that 500 digital strangers have come together to support them.
The huge benefit of being in a group like this, we’ve found is that as members we’re more alert to where we might be able to help in our communities because we know we 500 potentially have access to £500 if we identified a worthwhile cause. Have a look in our who we’ve helped section to see the good our members have been able to do.
And that’s it! A lot of the success of this group is that when you’ve got the standing orders sorted, it’s super easy to maintain and keep running. Our day to day lives are hard enough so this is a really easy way to do a nice thing with your mates each week.
If you have any questions then we’d love to help you so drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org