An award-winning Cardiff tech start-up is offering help to charities whose funds have been depleted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Charities have, between them, lost millions of pounds in income from bucket donations, sponsorship from events, and the income from charity shops since the lockdown began in March.
Now, One Million Steps is offering charities and their corporate business partners the chance to launch their very own Million Steps Fundraising Challenge for free, with no onboarding costs, consultancy fees or long-term contracts.
The pro-version package with landing pages, social media templates and other promotional material would normally cost around £800 per charity or business. Any charities or businesses wishing to register an interest can do so here: https://millionsteps.typeform.com/to/bakJnj.
Cardiff-based founder Ranjit Ghoshal said: “We have been taking calls from worried charities and the sector is expecting a devastating drop of 48% in their fundraising as the spring, summer, and autumn events are cancelled.
“Businesses want to engage staff who are working from home, keep up their morale and health and wellbeing, and now see the opportunity to bring their collective power to help the charity sector, especially to support local charities who provide vital community support.
“As a social good business, we at Million Steps felt strongly that now is the time to rise to the challenge. People who needed support before the pandemic, still need support today.
“The world has not stopped turning. And every minute, life carries on and new support needs arise too. The knock-on effects of the pandemic will persist for months as logistics struggle to re-organise events. So, this is our chance to help where we can.”
One Million Steps, recently a shortlisted finalist for The Great British Entrepreneurs Social Good Award Wales, hopes to help raise millions of pounds for UK charities of all sizes.
Unique in its sector by offering both bespoke pedometer and app, Google fit and Apple Health signups with integrated fundraising pages, Million Steps vision is to create a level playing field so the smallest community groups and business to biggest corporates and non-profits have the same powerful tools as the launch challenges.
Ranjit says: “The beauty of it is, once approved, it takes just a few hours for a charity or business to launch a challenge. The logistics run in the background and your staff and supporters sign up, get their pedometer or connect via Google fit or Apple iHealth.”
The innovative mass challenge is the first Welsh start-up to win a place at Google Launchpad London, winning awards from UnLtd, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the Fairwood Trust, and invited to NatWest Accelerator and Seedbed Incubator.
Participants walk an average of 10,000 steps a day for 100 days – one million steps or 500 miles. Research shows the average Briton walks only 3000 to 4000 steps a day with one poll showing, for many, it could be as low as 2000 steps.
Another feature that will help with social distancing is the inclusion of leaderboards. Participants can take the challenge solo and follow current CoVid-19 guidelines but follow their friends and push each other to success.
Ranjit came up with the idea when he injured his knee training for a charity challenge. Coming from the non-profit sector, he realised the need for a platform based on social innovation principles and health campaigns that ensured that the product was accessible, acceptable, affordable to participants and organisations.
Ranjit added: “My mission was a mass challenge event that businesses and charities of all sizes could launch by promoting to staff and supporters anywhere, costs less than travelling and taking part in a big event like a marathon and allows charities to scale their fundraising efforts easily. Critically, integrated fundraising pages save charities the huge headache of chasing participants to set up fundraising pages.”
The CoVid-19 pandemic brings new stresses, but physical activity can be extremely effective in improving health and wellbeing at this critical time. People can benefit from a defined challenge to keep up their spirit and moral. And what better way than to take part at home, in their local area and yet with their friends, even if they live anywhere in the world, through leaderboards?
Participants who sign up get a Million Steps pedometer or connect via Google Fit or Apple iHealth and use the bespoke app which records steps, distance, and, importantly, active minutes.
Extra content, including mindfulness practice and strengthening exercises, is provided to meet the NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/?fbclid=IwAR2z8Y9iHWLVEhhoNa7xzgJmE6ZuYdfnwZzPbPvYhK2JlSwRHykMp1lwWbg) and the US Centers for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/resources/recommendations.html guidelines for physical activity. (https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm)
How it helps businesses and staff
Businesses are being asked to get behind the Million Steps challenge to engage with staff during the pandemic while fundraising for charities and social good who desperately need their support
Ranjit said: “Many business owners want healthier staff. Encouraging staff to support a charity and walk a Million Steps provides greater motivation and can help businesses to help local community projects.
“Company branded landing pages, integrated with a charity the business supports, mean staff have just one place to visit, sign up, and set up fundraising profiles. With content on mindfulness practice, everyday exercises, the benefits could be huge for staff well-being.”
A recent study by XpertHR found that employees take an average of 2.8% of their working days off sick. While the current CoVid-19 lockdown presents a unique situation, encouraging staff to take The Million Steps Challenge and support a charity gives them the nudge to get active and helps businesses fulfill their corporate social responsibilities.
How it helps charities
The challenge is an ideal tool for charities to scale their fundraising activities both locally and nationally at a time when social distancing and lockdowns prohibit large gatherings, events have been cancelled.
Ranjit said: “The world of fundraising challenges has been thrown into a crisis. Even before CoVid-19, smaller charities struggled to organise local events and often the passion is not translated into a return on investment from limited resources.
“Big overseas events are great but fundraising levels are high and the cost of golden tickets in major athletic events are often beyond the reach of many charities. Everything has changed. The critical thing is what’s next. And how non-profits can quickly launch an event, with little effort, and fundraise to provide critically support to many vulnerable people whose support needs have not changed.
“These factors helped us model the Million Steps challenge to ensure as many barriers were overcome, and health and fundraising was the big goal. Now, we as a social good business, we must rise to the challenge by offering our support to the sector.
“Participants may be doing the challenge locally but can compete with friends anywhere in the country encouraging a viral sign up as friends and colleagues team up.
“It will also encourage people who worry about their fitness levels to get involved, get fitter, make a social good difference and then take on much tougher challenges.”
The Million Steps platform streamlines event management by providing integrated fundraising pages, Gift Aid collection, charity landing pages and participant sign-up, and the ability to embed explainers or videos in customisable pages with easy-to-use templates.
For further information, or to arrange an interview with Ranjit Ghoshal, please call Maria Williams on 07840 933009. Visit the website https://millionsteps.com.
For expressions of interest from businesses and charities please contact [email protected].