Our story is kind of surprising. Because in the beginning, we didn't think to change advertising world. We didn't know much about the sector. What we wanted was to raise a maximum amount of money for NGO's. And especially, to give the chance to everyone to help financially these associations.
Unofficially we set up GiveActions in 2017 when we were still students at ULB. In the first place, our idea was "only" to use advertising as a way to generate money for associations. We thought (and still think) that it could be a great method to collect funds in order to support the work of all these people giving everything to create a better society. This is why we launched a beta app in 2018. An app where everyone could come to watch ads in order to support associative projects
But we quickly noticed that something went wrong. That was cool to collect money for associations. Nonetheless, if it was to promote polluting companies was it really worth it? After brainstorming, the answer was a clear no. Because what we were doing could finally help those companies to do "greenwashing"
We then chose to select companies that could advertise on our platform. And use the money of their campaigns to finance associations. This is how the concept of positive advertising has been created. Subsequently, our app was officially launched in septembre 2019.
After 2 years of development, 45.000 users were registered on the app and more than 60 associative projects had been supported thanks to the advertising campaigns of more than 40 selected companies. At this moment, we realized that a greater challenge was in front of us. Because during these 2 years, we have understood that our consumption was at least as important as the support of associations. Changing it could have a much greater impact on our environment, our planet. And advertising could be used to change mentalities.
This is why we decided to expand our concept of our app to large audience channels such as medias. And to integrate our concept of positive advertising on these medias.. We had the abilty to change the sector and have a greater impact. This is far to be easy. But we are confident in the fact that we can succeed in spotlighting better products for our society. And in keeping collecting funds for associations. The rest of our story is still to write. With work, passion, values and time. Let's keep in touch to be in the first people to have news!
Transparency. This kind of word we see everywhere but for which we always have a doubt, isn't it? We don't want this with us. It is possible we sometimes disagree but we will always be perfectly honest and explicit. Let's start!
Let's begin with the more important point. As you probably know it now, we select companies who can use positive advertising. A choice that was in our hand when we only had an app. Now we work with medias, we had to revise the process.
The whole society is strongly based on advertisements. Thanks to them we have free medias, free website, free social medias, etc... Many jobs are directly or indirectly linked to advertising. It is then impossible to have a radical selection as it was the case on our app. We have to find a balance between the economic reality and the ethics we follow. This balance, we set it up thanks to the creation of an ethical charter. In this charter, we integrated two main conditions. First, companies that do some activities considered as refused by the charter can't use positive advertising. This is the case of activities such as oil extraction, aviation, use of animal fur in clothes, etc... Secondly, the advertising campaign must promote an activity that has a environmental, social or cultural impact. If the campaign of the company doesn't spotlight a positive activity, it will be refused. This charter is in constant evolution and will become more and more restrictive with time.
For sure, it is impossible to name all the activities that could be refused or accepted. As it is unimaginable to be 100% objective for each company or activity. This is why we chose to create an ethical committee that is responsible for the selection. The committee uses the charter as the central point of the selection and has to vote in order to choose if a company is eligible or not. It has also the objective to help the charter to evolve. In this committee, we reunited people from different sectors such as environmental and social, academical, marketing, advertising sectors, etc... With the goal of taking the best possible decisions.
Reports of the committee are public and posted on our blog. You can see why an advertising campaign was accepted or not. Refused companies are anonymous but the reasons of the refusal are given. The goal of all of this is to be fully transparent.
You can find below our charter (in French though) and some added explanations on our ethical committee
We were writing about transparency, we will then be transparent. We don't think we found the best business model. We have to find a way to integrate a very structured market. Not easy. Nonetheless, we can explain to you how we work for the moment.
On our app, it is very simple. 50% of advertising revenues is sent to associations and the other 50% are kept by GiveActions. As an example, if a company launch an advertising campaign for 1000€, 500€ goes to an NGO chosen and we keep the rest.
When we work with medias, it's different and that will depend on different factors. A part of the advertising budget goes to the media and its ads management. The other part is shared between GiveActions and the association. 10% to 20% is given to the association and we keep the rest. Most of the time, we have 20-30% of the total budget. This money is used to keep investing in GiveActions. It's important to note that medias and companies are all doing a financial effort in positive advertising.
As we said, this model could be improved in the following month and years. For a better efficiency. For associations, medias, companies and for us who have to live from our activities.
Later, we would like to share with you documents about our financial statements.