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TAKE ACTION: Pledge action, not money, with DoNation

Ben Hudson

8th November, 2011

If money's tight, but you still want to 'do something' why not join DoNation's growing army of action volunteers to help create a low-carbon society

You get off the train and are immediately greeted with a Poppy appeal, you leave the station and have to the run the gauntlet of luminous jackets, charity collectors and clip boards, sponsor a child, save a whale, stop deforestation, help the blind - name your cause - the bottom line is that they want your money. While you probably recognise that these are worthwhile causes, like many of us right now you don't have much room for another monthly outgoing in your tightly balanced budget book.

It is no secret that most of these charities spend your well intentioned money on salaries, administration, marketing and yes, more fundraising. The whole process of charity in this respect seems very circular. This is something that Hermione Taylor (pictured below) realised in 2009 when she decided to cycle from London to Morocco with her friend Sara MacLennan to raise awareness about environmental sustainability.

‘It was the beginning of the credit crunch and I didn't feel comfortable asking my friends for money, Hermione explains ‘I realised it was a bit inefficient to ask people to donate money that I would then give to a behaviour change campaign, which would in turn try and encourage those very people to change their behaviour.' Hermione had one of those light-bulb moments - instead of asking for money, she asked for actions. 216 people sponsored Hermione by pledging environmental actions such as cycling to work, not eating meat or planting trees, things that had a real impact. Over the course of their 40 day journey, Hermione and Sara's supporters saved the equivalent of 83 flights to Morocco in CO2. By involving other people in their challenge in this way, some of the supporters began to think and do things differently. Hermione's thrilled that she inspired a real behavioural shift: ‘some of those early supporters are still doing what pledged in 2009, which is quite an achievement.'

The Do Nation was launched earlier this year and works in much the same way as normal sponsorship, except you pledge actions not money. Anyone can create a challenge page or join one of the 83 current challengers to show their support. With over 600 ‘doers,' The Do Nation calculates that it has saved almost 80,000 Kgs of CO2 to date. While this figure is impossible to verify, what has emerged is a spirit of collective action.

‘The main thing is that everyone is doing something together,' Hermione says, ‘it's critical we get more people living sustainably - now is as an important a time as there ever will be to start making some changes, we all need to do everything we can to inspire those around us and help them to make some changes - there's no hanging around. We've got to get on and do something now.'

Explorer Mark Wood is using The Do Nation to gather support for his upcoming expedition to solo ski the North and South Poles consecutively - a world first attempt. Mark encourages people to pledge their support ‘log on to the expedition and see the pain I'm going to be going through and let that inspire you to act.'

TAKE ACTION by doing in The Do Nation

Create a challenge page or pledge your support

Set yourself a challenge and get your friends to sponsor you with actions not money or show your support to Doers by doing yourself.

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