Impact Journalism Day by Sparknews: A better world - No. 43

Small streams make big rivers

microDON already has a brand awareness rating of 30 per cent in France, and has received a number of awards.
microDON already has a brand awareness rating of 30 per cent in France, and has received a number of awards.PHOTO: MICRODON

PARIS • Ines is passing through the checkout at her local Franprix supermarket. The cashier asks if she'll accept to round up to the nearest euro. She agrees. Instead of paying €39.27 (S$59.60), she pays €40. Effortlessly, Ines has just donated 63 Euro cents to the French Red Cross or to French Popular Relief, two charitable groups selected by microDON.

This method of collecting donations, dubbed the checkout round- up, is based on the concept of embedded generosity, which involves integrating the process of giving into day-to-day activities.

The pioneer of this system in France is Mr Pierre-Emmanuel Grange, who launched the start-up in 2008.

The 63 cents donated by Ines might seem like a tiny contribution but the accrued sum of all donations last year to microDON's clients was at least €1 million, and the money was redistributed among more than 350 organisations.

Building on this success, microDON has diversified, implementing the salary round-up. It has persuaded more than 40 companies to adopt the practice, including Henkel and PepsiCo.

 

The system is essentially the same as the checkout round-up, with two small differences. The employees can choose the organisation they're donating to, and the company can agree to match the employee's contribution. There is also an online round-up system with Alloresto.fr, as well as a round-up on bank statements with BNP Paribas.

Since microDON redistributes 100 per cent of donations to charities, it funds itself by providing legal, fiscal, accounting and communications consultation services. But it is still not breaking even.

However, microDON already has a brand awareness rating of 30 per cent in France, and has received a number of awards.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Small streams make big rivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe