B4BIT believes it can make an impact by helping charities that are solving the hardest & biggest problems, such as poverty, famine, environmental issues, mental health & integration. We believe that our best bet to do the most good is to help these charities transform in the digital age.
B4BIT supports charities in two ways. The first is by offering a free tech consultancy program to improve admin automation and work productivity. The more efficient a charity can work, the more resources they have to increase their impact. The second is by connecting charities with each other and documenting their best practices. During our research we noticed that charities are often not well connected and reinvent the wheel over and over again. On this page we want to summarize some of the key messages we strongly believe in.
You might think that only the big donations from philanthropic super stars such as Bill Gates, Jack Ma & Jeff Bezos make a difference. “My dollar is not going to do anything” is a phrase often heard in first-world countries. And that’s how we used to feel too - until we learned how much even a modest donation can accomplish a lot when given to the right organizations.
The thing is, the most important problems in the world are so big, that there are no diminishing returns. In other words, for some projects the social return on each additional dollar will not decline as people give more to the charity.
This means that:
The wrong donation can accomplish nothing. The case of PlayPumps, a charity that installs merry-go-rounds that double as water pumps in Africa, is illustrative. PlayPumps received a lot of positive attention from the media, celebrities, and the international aid community. However, after PlayPumps were installed in villages across a number of African countries, it came to light that the PlayPumps weren't all they were intended to be: Children found playing on the PlayPumps exhausting and women ended up having to push the merry-go-round around themselves to pump water; the PlayPumps were more expensive, pumped less water, and were more challenging to maintain than the hand pumps they had replaced. Luckily, there has been a growing focus on collecting evidence for the impact of Charities. By offering charities the right digital & reporting tools, we hope that they can better demonstrate their impact so that more donations will go to the charities that actually work.
Impact should be defined as a change in an outcome caused by an organisation. An impact can be positive or negative, intended or unintended. It is the difference between what happens as a result of a charity’s actions and what would have happened otherwise. In the example of Karma, an app that helps to reduce food wastage in London, Paris, and Sweden, the impact should not be measured by how much food was saved through their platform. They should also consider what would have happened otherwise, if people did not buy food through their app. To measure impact correctly, a charity has to use multiple forms of evidence that combines micro data such as randomized controlled trials as well as macro data such as broader country-level trends. Unfortunately, collecting evidence like this is expensive & complex. This is why many well-funded, well-executed, logical programs were not able to measure or prove their impact. As a result, charities raise money based on their ability to market themselves and fundraise, as opposed to their ability to change lives. By using the framework and building blocks from the Impact Management Project, we help our clients to better understand what their real impact is.