The simple way to giveEthical Business News & Features
This article first appeared in our Health Revolution issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 24 July 2020. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
If a penny from one year’s 34.6 billion UK consumer payments went to good causes, the world would be a very different place.
Loral and Eishel Quinn are the mother-daughter co-founder team behind Sustainably, which was named Richard Branson’s startup of the year in December 2019.
The free app micro-donates your spare change, so every transaction with retailers has a positive social and environmental impact.
‘We were inspired by new business models like Toms Shoes, where you buy something and do something good at the same time’, Loral explains. ‘We wanted to combine that do good, feel good feeling with payment automation like you see with Uber, where payments all happen in the background while you ride.’
The result is an app that builds positive change into everyday life; the process is so simple that users can make a real impact without even noticing.
Donate spare change
There are two major sections to the app; with Round Ups you choose a cause, connect your transactions to Sustainably (using open banking) and add a payment card. Then just live your life and see your impact.
Sustainably rounds transactions up to the nearest £1; when your Round Ups pot gets to £5 it’s transferred to your chosen charity. You can set a limit on how much you want to give each month to manage your giving.
With Monthly Happiness you choose a cause, an amount to give and a date. Your impact feed is updated every time you give, meaning you can see your impact instantly. You can also pause or change your giving whenever you like, so you remain in full control of your money.
‘You get impact points every time you give on Sustainably’, Loral explains. ‘Ultimately you will be able to cash these in for rewards – watch this space!’
Choosing a charity
Zero fees are charged on donations; Stripe processes payments for a fee of 1.2% plus 10p, so for every £5 donated you charity gets £4.84. If you add Gift Aid your £5 donation is bumped up by 25%, so your charity would get £6.09: £6.25 minus 16p for Stripe.
At present you can only support one charity at a time, but you can change it whenever you like. Ways to support multiple charities at the same time will be added in the future as Loral and Eishel continue to grow the range of ways to give.
New charities are joining regularly – which is no surprise – but if a UK registered charity you care about isn’t showing, you can suggest it in the app or on the Sustainably website and Loral and Eishel will try to get it signed up.
Sustainably is helping to make embedded giving a normal way to shop and spend. ‘Purchasing behaviour is a great, practical way to effect real change’, Loral tells us. ‘Huge change can start from the ground up, and we want to turn every financial transaction into a positive impact. By shopping smarter and doing your bit, you can make a difference to the causes you care about.’
Soon, any employer or retailer will be able to sign up to Sustainably and give to causes their customers and employees care about – in a really simple way. Brands can also hyper-localise and personalise their social responsibility, increasing engagement, visibility and impact.
‘We built Sustainably with scale in mind’, Loral says. ‘Ultimately, the target market is every single corporate, every single charity and every single individual in the world.’
Download the Sustainably app here.