What is the main mission of Better?
Marie Logé: Better starts from an observation: while the number of donors increases yearly in Belgium, young people remain on the fringe of this movement. Why?
Millennials (25-45 years old) are not less generous than their elders. On the contrary, they are aware of our society's major challenges and are willing to contribute to them. What they lack is of another order: a tool adapted to their way of doing things. These young professionals respond more to digital invitations (the most widely spoken language of this generation), images (they read little) and that require little effort (they have little time), as well as to inspiring proposals (they are idealistic), collaborative (they are aware of the strength of the collective) and rewarding (they like to know they are making a difference).
If this generation could be introduced to giving today, it would increase both the number of small donors in Belgium and the contribution of the active philanthropists of tomorrow. Better is challenging them and providing a solution to this projection: a donor-centric digital solidarity subscription.
How does your project fit into the Belgian philanthropic landscape?
Marie Logé: The overall amount of money donated to philanthropic initiatives each year is increasing in Belgium, as is the number of donor households. Still, the average amount donated per household is decreasing. So Better is jumping on the bandwagon. The organization intends to broaden this groove by contributing to the democratization of philanthropy.
- First, against the idea that giving is reserved for a small number of actors with large amounts, Better wants to show that any amount, given over time and collectively, already brings a change. Therefore, Better proposes a bottom-up model of philanthropy alongside a top-down model.
- Second, alongside a traditional model offering advisors for large, individual donors, Better is gathering many small donors and positioning itself as a digital advisor for collaborative philanthropy.
- Finally, against a view of giving done out of guilt or obligation, Better wants to make giving a habit and a pleasure, driven by inspiration.
What does Better actually do for philanthropy?
Marie Logé: Better intends to offer three things to the world of philanthropy: a new audience, new practices, and statistics.
- First, Better speaks the younger generation's language and intends to bring this eager but not yet giving audience into philanthropy with a solution tailored to their needs.
- Second, philanthropy is sometimes falsely perceived as an environment governed by established structures, constraining procedures, and dated means of communication. Better counters this perception and brings to philanthropy everything a startup can offer: digital devices, simple and automated processes, and engaging communication.
- Third, the evolution of philanthropy in Belgium is held back by a lack or absence of effective measurement tools and data. Compared to France, the Netherlands, or the UK, few systematic studies exist on philanthropy in Belgium. In the absence of reliable information, the tendency is to extrapolate, which makes the work of initiatives - that aims to professionalize the sector - very difficult. Better wants to make a difference and has implemented robust metrics to provide the philanthropic ecosystem with relevant statistics. Once Better reaches a critical mass of users, the anonymized data produced can be used for the sector as a whole.
Marie, what was your motivation for taking the lead of Better?
Marie Logé: The challenge is ambitious, and that's what I like! I believe in it. Our generation wants to get involved, and we are delighted to give them the right tools. I am passionate about building a community of donors united around the renewed pleasure of contributing to a fairer, greener, and more open society and associations that receive the means to achieve their ambitions.
Theproject is exciting because it is moving into action. In six months, we have already created a platform that works. From there, we will iterate, improve and listen to associations and donors. And we have lots of ideas for the future. For example, the Better subscription is emerging from the Beta phase. It is now online. We are working hard to have 5,000 members within a year. However, the subscription is just the first step in an iteration that will be guided by user feedback and best practices from the startup world. First, Better plans to use artificial intelligence to refine its subscribers' profiles and offer them increasingly tailored associations to their preferences. Eventually, Better aims to position itself as a digital management platform for all of its users' donations.