BeyondMe is a growing charity that’s servicing a hopefully growing need: professionals wanting to do more. We were told that people long to be able to give their maximum to a cause that they care about, but they’re currently unsupported with a lack of knowledge and resources.
BeyondMe offers professionals the opportunity to work together to service a cause that they’re passionate about. They invite people to solve a charity’s problem, by donating their time, skills and money over the course of a year, and the results are impressive.
Since its inception in 2011, BeyondMe volunteers have donated over 13,000 hours of their time, and a total of over £300,000 in value to worthwhile organisations spanning the majority of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
Last Saturday, I was invited to attend their bootcamp for prospective members. I arrived with a heavy head and low expectations, but left feeling inspired and resolutely determined to make a difference; to save the world entire.
The day was awash with inspirational and brilliant speakers, who taught us how much impact a single team can have, the value of robust information in the non-profit sector, and the skills and mindset that a successful charity venture needs. We heard from Emily Penn, who spends her life sailing around the world, raising awareness of the impact of our plastic waste in the ocean, and trying to clean up these precious ecosystems. We heard from Darshan Sanghrajka, the founder of Super Being Labs, who’s brilliant speech managed to get across some very serious points to consider and betrayed his background as a stand-up comedian. We were also lucky enough to hear from Hannah Goldie, who gave a short but insightful introduction into the power of data to hold charities to account and the importance of robust information.
By the time we left for the pub, not only had we shared our own passions for change, but we’d also learnt a lot, been inspired and joined like-minded people to become a team; to become a force for change.
But that begs an interesting question: how much of the day was necessary? Arguably, the majority, if not all, of the delegates were already interested and committed to changing the world in some way. Within this echo chamber, did we need to spend four hours being inspired? Did we really just need a collaborative session to meet each other and to form these teams? Could all of the training be delivered more cost effectively and efficiently electronically? Could we even have met each other virtually instead?
We could all come together on a Saturday morning in central London because we are all “professionals” (a horrible term, but that’s another discussion…) and because London is the metropolitan nucleus for our atomic country. But if, as it’s well documented, the best way to solve a problem is by having a group of brilliant and diverse minds, why are we limiting ourselves to Londoners? London certainly doesn’t have the monopoly on intelligence, as much as we may like to think we do, and we certainly aren’t that diverse. Couldn’t we add more value if BeyondMe targeted more people and took more advantage of the internet to reach a national or even international community?
These questions of reach aside, I am now part of a prospective team that’s passionate about creating more equal opportunities across the country and, in turn, around the world. After all, as we’ve already discussed, we will only really be able to solve the world’s greatest problems when we have everybody working on them.
We are currently setting up our BeyondMe profiles before shortlisting projects of interest, meeting the charities, and saving the world! (or at least spending a year making a dent in the armour of inequality)
Stay tuned for progress folks and wish us luck!