One of our CUBERS, Ashwin Saddul founder of mobile strategy agency, Better Than Paper shares his time between his start up and a Charity. The charity has just been featured on the BBC and it focuses on helping street children in India.
If you would like to get involved, we have christmas cards at THECUBE.
Why did you start the charity?
- After spending many years in advertising, the realisation my job will never make the world a better place
- To make a visible difference to people who really need it by focusing on one particular cause instead of many
- Had to create a balance between giving and taking
- I have Indian heritage with family in India where poverty is a huge issue.
- After being exposed to very bleak poverty -seeing and hearing, first hand, the personal stories of human suffering & tragedy, we became even more emotionally connected to the cause
- To come back to England after our experience and continue as normal would be a travesty – to help educate people at home and give them a channel to contribute was the right thing to do
- We met with like minded people who had similar experiences to us and wanted to continue their support in some way when they returned to England – this made it easier to motivate us all to do something. Easier said than done !
2 How does giving back influence the business ?
- Not much influence yet as we’re in the early stages of launching both
- The charity and my business are entirely separate at the moment – this means separate conversations with different clients or donors. There are no mentions of the charity on our company website yet.
- As we are a new business, our client relationships are only starting to develop. Although some of my clients have donated, generally I don’t feel comfortable discussing it with them otherwise i feel i might be trying to off-load too much too soon or emotionally blackmail them ! One strategy would be to start donating a small percentage of profits back to the charity – but we’re a long way from that yet.
- From a personal point of view, i feel more emotionally balanced and confident when approaching clients - the charity gives whilst the running our business means a lot of pitching which is one-sided to a certain extent.
3 How is change generated ?
- Broad question, depends on the type of change desired and where it is directed. From a business and charity point of view: Its about value exchange / mutual benefit. If you can communicate with clarity so people understand the immediate benefits of how a change in their behaviour (could be a change in purchase behaviour) could benefit everyone then i think that is a powerful tool in generating change. There are obvious mechanisms to achieve this such as advertising ( there – advertising isn’t so bad after all is it ??!)
We always encourage CUBERS to do something else along side their enterprise to keep the brain open and scanning for new things. It is all well and good to stay focused on the goal, however this often creates tunnel vision, which can lead entrepreneurs to miss opportunities.