Open Goodness – Why I’m behind WeTogethr

Hello! My name is Theo Chung and I’m the Head of Development at GradTouch, a startup based in Manchester. Recently, I’ve also been planning and building the website for WeTogethr.

My current commute to work is a mile or so walk through Manchester and over the past year or so I’ve really started to notice that although the city seems to be booming, there are many in society who aren’t feeling this effect. I’ve always donated money to people and causes that need it on an ad-hoc basis but in the past I’ve been left feeling frustrated in not knowing exactly what impact my direct contributions have had.

When Zac approached me with the idea of WeTogethr I really felt like I could get behind something I believe would change society positively and bring good things to people who struggle on a daily basis.

The basic premise of WeTogethr is to use the money we generate through memberships fees to buy things that will improve the quality of people’s lives. This could be specially designed wheelchairs through to a piece of kit called an Eye Gaze which is similar to the device that Stephen Hawking uses to communicate.

One of our core values at WeTogethr is complete transparency. Call it an open source organisation if you will. Everything we collect and everything we spend is open to the public on BareMetrics. To start with at least 75% of our funds will be going directly towards helping others. As we grow we will be looking to reduce our running costs and aim to increase this number to 90%.

Being from a technical background and having a passion for Technology, I really understand the benefits of being open to society. Many open source technologies have been the foundation for massive platforms we use on a daily basis.

We want to be open because too many businesses, charities and even Governments like building an information wall preventing access to key stats. Only with continual full transparency can you have trust, honesty and truly do something to have a large positive impact on society.

If you are passionate about doing good and want to support those in need, please sign up here and join our community.

Why I started WeTogethr

Hello strangers and friends alike,

I’m Zac, and during the day (and definitely during some evenings) I run a business called GradTouch, which I set up with my university friend, Joe. It’s been a bumpy journey so far, but *touches wood* things are really starting to pick up and I’m more confident about our future than ever before.

Over the last few months though I’ve made the time to work at the weekends and during the evenings to set up WeTogethr with Lizzie (the awesome girl who has stood by me the last 9 years) and Theo (one of my closest friends and also a work colleague).

Two years ago, Lizzie and I began volunteering for The Christie, a cancer treatment charity in Manchester. I’ve never really been involved with one particular charity over the years. I think it’s probably because I’ve never felt like I’ve had a connection to any particular cause. Sure, I’ve donated small amounts of money from time to time, but I’d never say that I was consistent with it.

Volunteering for the Christie was a great experience and something I still do today. It opened my eyes in a real way to the fragility of life but also, just how amazing people are.  Half the Volunteers at the Christie either had or were still living with Cancer and they were just some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I can’t even start to describe some of the stories people told me as my words would only be an injustice to the experiences they went through. It puts a whole new meaning on the word “perspective”.

From my experiences at The Christie, it also became apparent that whilst money can’t solve all of life’s problems, it can go a really long way in solving a lot of them. A lot of the problems that people face either during or after an illness whether they’re born with that illness or it develops over their life time, can be abated with life-enhancing equipment and services. For example, this might be as simple as a custom wheelchair that’s fit for purpose and enables its user to get around more easily.

It’s at this point that I really started to think about the problems that people face on a daily basis and how their lives could be made so much better if they had the money to buy the thing that would improve their quality of life.

This really is where the idea of WeTogethr came from. Using money to buy things that would improve the quality of people’s lives. I remembered thinking to myself that if this could be achieved on scale, imagine the impact it could have. The amount of lives you could touch and aid was something to get excited about.

But then reality dawned.

I rarely give to charity, so how am I going to convince others like me to do so as well.

So, when we set up WeTogethr, we agreed on a few key principles, principles which we hope will help us grow.

Firstly, we want to show the world as much as we can. This means we’re going to document, film, and write about all of the people we are going to help. We want to be able to really tell their stories and to use these stories to inspire others to join our cause.

Secondly, we are going to be completely transparent. We’ve created a live dashboard showing how many members are signed up and how much money we should be making, but we’re also going to update our members every week with a breakdown of our finances. Warts and all.

Thirdly, we’re not going to pretend like we have all the answers. We want WeTogethr to be shaped by the community that contributes to it. This way, we believe we will create an organisation that will have a huge impact.

Finally, we’re going to be upfront about asking for money and we want you to give £4.99 a month. We know it’s a lot, but hopefully our transparent approach coupled with the impact the money will have will convince you to put your hand in your pocket and help improve the life of a total stranger.

Thanks for reading and please, click here and sign up today.

Why I’m supporting WeTogethr

Hi everyone, I’m Lizzie, I’ve been working in finance since I graduated from University almost 6 years ago. In recent months I’ve been dedicating my evenings and weekends to a very exciting project with Zac and Theo, WeTogethr.

As an individual, I donate to charity in two ways:

  1. Sponsoring close friends and colleagues who are completing a challenge for charity;
  2. Donating my time by volunteering at charity events, mainly for The Christie Hospital in recent years but in my school years I spent summer holidays and free lessons at school volunteering with disabled children, which I absolutely loved;

LizzieI get very emotional when I see people I wish I could help and often find myself having a good cry when I see an appeal video on social media. Despite feeling this way, I have never actually signed up to a monthly charity direct debit. I’ve often thought about it when talking to the charity representatives on Market Street in Manchester, but why have I never committed? I will sign up to a gym membership for example with much less thought, despite this costing more.

I guess my nervousness with giving to charity month on month is the fact that I don’t truly know what will happen to my money. I need a close connection to feel comfortable with donating.

When Zac proposed the idea of WeTogethr to me, my excitement was definitely around the numbers. Being completely transparent about where money is going with the live dashboard would definitely give me the confidence to sign up, and if I would sign up, then I was sure many more would too. Regular articles and videos from those receiving help would keep me and hopefully others engaged too, and with the power of social media, I believe this could grow and grow. With this growth comes more positive change, making more people’s lives better.

Please join me at this early stage in the story that is WeTogether, and sign up! Together we can change lives for the better, and with everything disclosed to you, there really is no catch!