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Social venture helps you transform your meh into magic

social media

19 October 2020

We’ve all been there – signed up for a gym we don’t go to, got a subscription we never use, impulsively bought a ginger slice we didn’t really need. The team at Give Better describe this as ‘meh’ spending – “spending that doesn’t add much joy to your life” – and they are on a mission to transform it into something better by helping you repurpose joyless spending into joyful saving and giving. Using their app, you can calculate how much you’ve saved by avoiding ‘meh’ purchases and put it towards your personal savings or a charity you believe in. They say, “It’s better for the world, but it’s better for you too. You give more, save more, and learn to savour the moment.”

Give Better is a social venture founded by Bachelor of Laws (Honours) alumnus Selwyn Coles. He was inspired to pursue social entrepreneurship when he realised that while he enjoyed law, he wanted something else. “A sense of pulling together with a team to reach some distant horizon. Of setting bold dreams, and then failing, and learning, and picking yourself up again to get one step closer to achieving them.” He describes himself as a “hopeless idealist who wants to do some good in the world.”

Selwyn set off on his entrepreneurial journey as a “lone voice in the wilderness,” sharing his “crazy, half-baked” idea on social media – and it paid off. He says, “Miraculously, some fantastically talented people with the right skills and big hearts got in touch and committed huge amounts of time almost entirely voluntarily to getting the show on the road. As we’ve built up our momentum, more and more great people have wanted to join.” He recognised early on that his strengths were in thinking and talking, so he sought out a team whose skill sets would fill in the gaps.

The New Zealand-wide lockdown that began in March 2020 delayed the launch of Give Better. They also had to rethink their messaging around impulse buying so as not to discourage people from supporting local businesses. However despite the disruption, Selwyn identified the lockdown as an exciting opportunity to give back to those who were struggling. “While many were hit hard by Covid, some of us were more fortunate. We might have actually saved a whole lot more than we realised by not spending at cafes, bars, gyms, commuting to work etc.”

So, Give Better launched their Give Back campaign which was designed to make it easy for people to calculate how much they saved during lockdown and give some of it back to charities like the Auckland City Mission, Youthline, and Women’s Refuge.

Michael Harrod, Technical Lead at Givealittle, says “Selwyn came up with a really novel concept and delivered on the first iteration in a short space of time – something that large organisations with loads of resources can struggle to do. He has some obstacles to overcome but is refining his approach based on data he’s gathered so far, networking with the right people, and planning more experiments to test ideas in the market. This is exactly how innovation happens, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes him.”

Being a social entrepreneur has been a “crazy ride” for Selwyn. He describes it as “hands down the most challenging thing I’ve done in my career so far, and I find my brain hurts even more than when I was trying to get my head around some tangly legal problem! Entrepreneurship has been something quite new for me, so there have been learnings — sometimes hard lessons — every day and week.”

But despite all the challenges of running a social venture, Selwyn perseveres thanks to an incredible partner (“Who has backed me even when I didn’t back myself”), an amazing team, some great mentors and above all – the vision behind Give Better. He says, “I’m really head-over-heels compelled by the Give Better dream: a total revolution in our relationship to money that will make us so much happier, more financially secure, and will unleash a tidal wave of generosity. I’m compelled by a world where we buy only what truly brings us joy, freeing us to save for the best rather than settling for less. And above all, to delight in giving so much more than we ever thought possible.”

Selwyn recommends that young people in law who are wondering about careers outside of a traditional law path ask to work four days a week, freeing up some time to experiment with something else. “That’s what I did, and I’m hugely grateful to my bosses for being open to it. It seemed like a huge risk when I decided to leave my job, but I’ve had no regrets. Just do it. Give it a go when you’re young. You’ll learn loads, it’ll do nothing but good for your career (even if your venture ‘fails’), and you will have a ball.”

Download the Give Better app today to transform your meh spending into joyful giving and saving. Available on Google Play and App Store.

Nicholas Bing
Nicholas Bing

social media

19 October 2020

We’ve all been there – signed up for a gym we don’t go to, got a subscription we never use, impulsively bought a ginger slice we didn’t really need. The team at Give Better describe this as ‘meh’ spending – “spending that doesn’t add much joy to your life” – and they are on a mission to transform it into something better by helping you repurpose joyless spending into joyful saving and giving. Using their app, you can calculate how much you’ve saved by avoiding ‘meh’ purchases and put it towards your personal savings or a charity you believe in. They say, “It’s better for the world, but it’s better for you too. You give more, save more, and learn to savour the moment.”

Give Better is a social venture founded by Bachelor of Laws (Honours) alumnus Selwyn Coles. He was inspired to pursue social entrepreneurship when he realised that while he enjoyed law, he wanted something else. “A sense of pulling together with a team to reach some distant horizon. Of setting bold dreams, and then failing, and learning, and picking yourself up again to get one step closer to achieving them.” He describes himself as a “hopeless idealist who wants to do some good in the world.”

Selwyn set off on his entrepreneurial journey as a “lone voice in the wilderness,” sharing his “crazy, half-baked” idea on social media – and it paid off. He says, “Miraculously, some fantastically talented people with the right skills and big hearts got in touch and committed huge amounts of time almost entirely voluntarily to getting the show on the road. As we’ve built up our momentum, more and more great people have wanted to join.” He recognised early on that his strengths were in thinking and talking, so he sought out a team whose skill sets would fill in the gaps.

The New Zealand-wide lockdown that began in March 2020 delayed the launch of Give Better. They also had to rethink their messaging around impulse buying so as not to discourage people from supporting local businesses. However despite the disruption, Selwyn identified the lockdown as an exciting opportunity to give back to those who were struggling. “While many were hit hard by Covid, some of us were more fortunate. We might have actually saved a whole lot more than we realised by not spending at cafes, bars, gyms, commuting to work etc.”

So, Give Better launched their Give Back campaign which was designed to make it easy for people to calculate how much they saved during lockdown and give some of it back to charities like the Auckland City Mission, Youthline, and Women’s Refuge.

Michael Harrod, Technical Lead at Givealittle, says “Selwyn came up with a really novel concept and delivered on the first iteration in a short space of time – something that large organisations with loads of resources can struggle to do. He has some obstacles to overcome but is refining his approach based on data he’s gathered so far, networking with the right people, and planning more experiments to test ideas in the market. This is exactly how innovation happens, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes him.”

Being a social entrepreneur has been a “crazy ride” for Selwyn. He describes it as “hands down the most challenging thing I’ve done in my career so far, and I find my brain hurts even more than when I was trying to get my head around some tangly legal problem! Entrepreneurship has been something quite new for me, so there have been learnings — sometimes hard lessons — every day and week.”

But despite all the challenges of running a social venture, Selwyn perseveres thanks to an incredible partner (“Who has backed me even when I didn’t back myself”), an amazing team, some great mentors and above all – the vision behind Give Better. He says, “I’m really head-over-heels compelled by the Give Better dream: a total revolution in our relationship to money that will make us so much happier, more financially secure, and will unleash a tidal wave of generosity. I’m compelled by a world where we buy only what truly brings us joy, freeing us to save for the best rather than settling for less. And above all, to delight in giving so much more than we ever thought possible.”

Selwyn recommends that young people in law who are wondering about careers outside of a traditional law path ask to work four days a week, freeing up some time to experiment with something else. “That’s what I did, and I’m hugely grateful to my bosses for being open to it. It seemed like a huge risk when I decided to leave my job, but I’ve had no regrets. Just do it. Give it a go when you’re young. You’ll learn loads, it’ll do nothing but good for your career (even if your venture ‘fails’), and you will have a ball.”

Download the Give Better app today to transform your meh spending into joyful giving and saving. Available on Google Play and App Store.


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