In April 2017 we started an information service «Dobrovolitsy» (female volunteers) – and it was active until December 2018. When enlarging the service, the costs of operating activities (mainly quality control to minimize the risks of poisoning) grew exponentially, and it made us look for other models. Under the Dobrovolitsy project more than 500 volunteers occasionally and permanently have helped at least 200 people in need. More than 3 000 times volunteers have arranged hot meals.
The volunteers of the project and their beneficiaries still stay in touch even after the end of the project – developing the cooperation and friendliness was our main goal.
While we were testing the models, we realized that the majority of people were ready to be involved in charity activities and would gladly do good deeds, especially if they had a suitable opportunity.
With the project many people will be able to gain confidence in their future. This will improve the quality of their life, significantly reducing stress and anxiety.
Our goal is to establish a chain of social kitchens providing meals for people in need (fighting hunger and poverty), cooking from saved food products* (ecology), that we buy in supermarkets with a discount just before they expire.
Social inequality in Russia is very severe, and many people live below the poverty line and don’t have money for food.
% of the population in Russia
lives below the absolute poverty line
million Russian people
have income that is lower than the official wage rate
of poor people are senior citizens
% of senior citizens
are at high risks not compensated by their life chances
(according to the experts of the Institute of Social Policy of HSE 2019)
In order to be stable (and not depend on grants or donations) and help those in need, we want to create an ecosystem of businesses that directs profits to charity.
OUR IDEAL PLAN (we realize that everything can change and we will adjust our plan accordingly):
Just now we launched the BONO service in Kaliningrad – service for ordering food from restaurants, profit from which goes directly to the partner NGOs. We are hoping that people will follow the idea described in the motto: “IT’S ALL THE SAME, SO CHOOSE A SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS SERVICE!” (menu, prices, meal preparation and delivery time are the same as in other food delivery services and the restaurant’s offers).
If the socially-oriented core of our audience is big enough to create a comprehensive high-quality IT system that will be convenient for you to use, we will work on engaging major donors and stakeholders (people with capital who are close to the idea or restaurants which now have to pay up to 35% commission on each order to existing services (Vedomosti 2019)).
If we don’t manage to get the major donors involved, we will launch a crowdfunding campaign.
After launching a full-fledged service for food delivery from restaurants, we will use the profit from it for establishing a chain of eating places providing meals for people in need all over Russia, solving problems of ecology and poverty.
Strategically we see enormous opportunities for development:
Firstly, it is creating other marketplaces with low expenses at the start, as there will be a basis in the form of IT-system and users. New market spaces will be chosen by voting on the users’ requests.
Secondly, there is a realistic possibility of entering foreign markets through the Ashoka international network of social entrepreneurs.
* what does the term “saved products” mean? About 1/3 of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste ((FAO UN 2019). Starting from the end of 2018, supermarkets cannot return the unsold products to the manufacturer (: State Duma of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation 2018). To avoid public outcry and the cost of expensive disposal, chain stores are ready to sell food on its sell-by date with a significant discount, provided that they are used in favor of verified deprived people – we know this for sure, as in April 2017 we worked on the previous model of the Dobrovolitsy project with the basic idea of “while cooking for yourself, make one more portion for your neighbor in need".
We want to emphasize that the “saved” products are good quality products, but to minimize risks, they will be cooked on the day of purchase, and people in need will be getting ready cooked meals.