How Only One Percent can make the difference

How Only One Percent can make the difference
Himalayan mountain view.

"We both said: we're doing pretty fine. We have everything we need. How much of that can we give away?", Christian Hofmann still remembers well the evening when the idea was born to found his own non-profit organization. Together with his good friend Lucas Mertens - it was around Christmas - he was looking for ways to get more socially involved. "We thought, how can I give away some of what I have without really noticing? What wouldn't hurt us all at all?" is how the 45-year-old sums up the basic idea. In 2016, the two friends fom Düsseldorf therefore jointly founded the association Only One Percent.

Small contribution, big impact

The idea is simple: You donate just one percent of what you have to social projects and can still achieve great things in the end. And you can do it together. The Sales Representative at DKV Mobility is certain: it works - and for one simple reason. "If you go shopping for 100€, then in the end it doesn't matter to you if you pay 101€ instead. Or if you go to the movies and end up putting down 80.80€ instead of 80€ - you don't even notice." And that's where Only One Percent comes in. With this easy principle, Hofmann and Mertens want to make donations a matter of course and integrate them into our everyday lives. "It's the masses that make the difference in the end," says Hofmann. He is sure that most people want to contribute in certain ways. They just lack the impetus, he states.

Christian Hofmann and his friend Mertens

Hofmann and Mertens want to give that impetus. The association is a project close to their hearts. Instead of giving money to large organizations, such as UNICEF, they focus on smaller, private projects and initiatives. Projects where they know exactly how and for what the donations will be used. They often know the initiators personally. In no case should the money seep away into the administration - in the end, exactly the amount that was donated should arrive - without any detours.

Knowing where the money goes

The association is currently supporting four selected projects. One of them is a school project in Gambia. The initiator here happens to be a DKV Mobility colleague. When she told Hofmann about the project, he immediately was hooked. The project enables children who have not had access to education due to a lack of financial resources to attend school. One year of schooling for six children costs €1,800 per year. This includes uniforms, pencils, books and all other materials. For the father of two kids one thing is very clear: "This was exactly what we wanted. Concrete support and a very concrete project." The association has now been able to cover 95 percent of the project costs. The children regularly send photos as thank-you gift, like photos of themselves proudly posing in their new school uniforms. For the association, the happy children are the most valuable feedback.

Those who would like to donate to Only One Percent can either choose a project directly via the homepage or donate to the association itself, which then distributes the money to the projects according to need. Currently, Only One Percent is collecting donations for an orphanage in Cameroon. A car is urgently needed to take the orphans to school. In addition, the development of a cancer center in Tanzania and a township project in Cape Town are being supported.

Christian Hofmann has big plans for the future. His goal: not only to realize his own projects, but perhaps someday to have someone who even takes care of the association full-time. "That would really be a big dream."

Spontaneous support for Ukraine

But it's not just through their their NGO that the two try to help where they can; they also lend a hand in their private lives as a matter of course. Like most recently at the beginning of the Ukraine conflict. Christian Hofmann spontaneously collected a few donations of clothes and supply goods and drove to the Polish-Ukrainian border together with his brother. "That moved us so much", says the Düsseldorf native. The two did not only drop off relief supplies in the border area, but also helped four Ukrainians to travel from the border to Germany.

Still quite overwhelmed by the impressions at the border, the duo directly takes care of further support - this time organizing a whole bus to again transport relief goods to - and people from - the border area. "We collected so many things, we could have easliy filled two buses", says Hofmann. He is particularly impressed by what can be achieved together. He is convinced that most people just need a push. And that's exactly what he wants to achieve with his association. To make help a self-evidence, he has a grand vision: a credit card, from which one percent is automatically donated with every purchase. "We're all doing very well. We don’t lack anything and have the capacities to support other. We just need to overcome the obstacles in our minds. To me, helping and getting involved just makes sense."

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