About Sumthing

Where does your money go?

By
Gijs
published on
July 30, 2023
4
min

We make money through the Sumthing fee: for every €5 that you donate to a project, you pay €1 extra to Sumthing so projects can use the platform for free to raise funds. 

The Sumthing fee covers everything: the costs required to build and grow our platform to ensure nature receives even more donations, the technologies we use to externally validate donations, and ultimately even profit.

We don’t think profit is a dirty word, but we have seen how it can become a goal in itself and shift purpose-driven companies away from their original mission. That’s why we secured our mission and profit allocation in our corporate structure through steward ownership.

Let’s talk about effectiveness 

Here’s a simple but sometimes overlooked fact: every organisation, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, has to deal with certain costs they need to cover. They need to pay salaries, marketing or customer acquisition fees, and other costs essential to run the organisation. Therefore, getting 100% of your donation to nature simply doesn’t exist - although we think it’s a good ambition to work towards getting as close as possible! 

The thing is that a lot of organisations are not too upfront about this, or at least not about how much of your donation is covering the overhead. You might find it somewhere deep in a website, or on page 302 of the impact report.

We think it’s important to be transparent about how much of your donation is directly going to nature, as it provides good insight into how effective the organisation truly is, and makes it easier to compare across organisations. If you want to compare us - just think that a donation works like this:

  • €5 project donation, meant for nature* (83%)
  • €1 Sumthing Fee, covering our overhead (17%)

*each project also gives a break-down of their spending!

Shortening the chain

Nowadays, there are a lot of organisations where you can donate to nature restoration. Some of these are directly executing the work, others are collecting donations and work with partners that restore nature (a bit similar to us). 

Because our goal is to maximise the amount of money that goes into nature itself, we only work with projects that are actually restoring nature themselves, and avoid any extra middlemen. We think digital technology can help us to make the chain as short as possible, getting your money more directly into the projects. 

Boosting project effectiveness further

When it comes to the projects we do support; we aim to find the most effective projects out there that are eager to work more transparently. Although we have a preference for working with nonprofits, we also accept commercial companies if they’re doing an extraordinary job. This is all factored into our due diligence framework; the Sumthing score.

We ask all our partners to be transparent about pricing and give a breakdown of where your donation goes, including things like fair wages, other overhead and yes, even profit if that’s the case.

The more we scale our platform, the bigger and more stable the income stream we provide to the projects. With this income, projects should be able to get their heads down and do what they do best: restoring nature. That might ultimately mean they have to do spend less on IT costs, marketing and fundraising themselves, which in turns grows the nature bang your buck can have!

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