Empowering communities & our partners through a new Track Your Impact

Words by Thankyou
05 June, 2018

Hey, I’m Pete, Thankyou’s Chief Impact Officer. I get to do what I think is the best job in the world - overseeing Thankyou’s impact in communities around the globe!

At Thankyou, our vision is to empower humanity to help end global poverty.

It’s why we exist, and it drives everything we do day in, day out.

What’s awesome is that since 2008, thanks to your support, we’ve given more than $5.8m to impact 780,000 people across 20 countries.

It’s always been our dream to connect you with the life-changing impact you’re helping to make, and to flip charity reporting on its head. So, for the first time, high-level reporting wasn’t reserved for multi-million dollar donors.

In 2012, we launched Track Your Impact - a world-first system that delivered on that dream with a unique code on every product that allowed customers to see the project their product was assigned to fund. With it, we were able to give our tribe detailed insight into the impact they’d make by purchasing a single Thankyou product.

As it turns out, that makes for a pretty complex system, with input needed from suppliers, manufacturers and our impact partners. While we’ve always believed in this system 100%, the truth is how Track Your Impact has worked up until now has come with some challenges – challenges that we needed to overcome to help us be the best possible funder for our impact partners.

That’s why we’re making a change to the Track Your Impact system.

Before I sound any unnecessary alarm bells, the Track Your Impact system we know and love will still exist. But the new system does have one fundamental difference.

To help explain that difference, I’ll quickly unpack how we’ve worked with our impact partners up until now. At the start of each year, we commit an amount of funding to specific projects based on our forecasted profit for the year. We then pay off the commitment each quarter over the next 12 months. This is all done in advance, which has allowed you to see the project your product will fund, the moment you track.

But where things get challenging is it can sometimes be difficult to perfectly line up our commitment and profit forecast. This is because as Thankyou has grown, things have become a little more complex. One of the greatest challenges we've faced has been predicting the future. Yep - trying to see 12 months into the future (and committing that money in advance to our partners) for over 55 products stocked in thousands of retail outlets in Australia and soon in New Zealand.

With the current model, if we get a prediction wrong, it can mean we'd need to delay a payment to partners. In our history we've had years where we've smashed our forecast (super exciting) but other years, like last year, where we've had to roll commitments into future quarters. What makes predictions hard? Everything from competitors doing crazy things, through to the complexities of growing a business. Last year we released this report, Better Before Bigger, which gives you an in depth look at the kind of challenges we faced.

When the timing of our commitments don’t line up, it can make things challenging for our impact partners. This unpredictable process can complicate future planning and ultimately, it can be disruptive to our partners’ work serving vulnerable communities day in and day out.

We realised that changing the way we fund our impact partners would empower them to plan better for achieving long-term, sustainable impact.

So, here’s the change. Rather than committing funds before they’ve actually come in, we’ll wait until the end of the year (when we know exactly how much we have to give) to commit funds to our project partners. So we’ll be committing funds and giving them to our impact partners at the same time.

What does this mean for Track Your Impact? We’ll still connect you with your impact; but it’s just going to take a little longer than it used to.

As I mentioned, we’ll be funding projects with profits from the previous year. And like any company, we need to allow time for auditors to review the year’s financials. When the review is complete, we’ll then commit the funds. Based on this, it’ll take up to 17 months for us to connect you with your impact – depending on the timing of your product purchase and track. That’s why it’s important to sign up, so you can get a notification once your product is assigned to an impact project.

We’re excited about this change because after 9 ½ years, we’re more passionate about our vision than ever. We’re driven towards making great products and committing 100% of profits to sustainable programs that lift people up from poverty. And, of course, connecting you – our customers – with the impact you’re helping to create.

From myself and the entire Thankyou team, thank you for joining us on this journey of impact.

As Martin Luther King Jr said, “All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

That’s the work we’re doing and you are a massive part of it. We can’t wait to keep partnering with you and connecting you with the impact you’re helping to make every time you buy a Thankyou product.

We know that together, we can empower humanity to create a world without poverty.

You can track your impact at thankyou.co/projects. We’d love for you to jump on, give it a go and post any feedback or questions in the comments below!

To learn more about our focus areas, visit the Thankyou Global Impact page.

— The Thankyou team