For Paul Dunn, the question of why people do what they do is crucially important. For decades his focus was on running businesses that helped individuals and businesses achieve greater success, but in 1999, Paul’s ‘why’ started to shift.
He told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast that it was a conversation with his partner at the time that started a process of re-evaluation. They had just finished running a very successful training seminar for accountants at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago.
“We’re sitting in this place having coffee… and I said, wow, isn’t it great that we’re changing people’s lives?” says Paul.
“She looked me straight in the eye and she said, ‘maybe it’s about time you looked at yours… we are going to take a thing called a holiday’.”
That holiday turned into several years living in a eighteenth century French farmhouse in Provence, as well as time spent in Australia and travelling abroad.
In 2006 Paul travelled to India, where something happened that would change his life. He met a pastor who was caring for 12 children, all of whom had lost their parents in the 2004 Tsunami. The man needed money to send the children to school, and to Paul’s amazement, all that was required was $3500 each year. Paul was shocked at how much could be achieved with a relatively small amount, and organised the money.
That experience set in motion a passion for giving that would lead Paul to his current role as Chairman of B1G1.
“It came from this stunningly simple idea from a lady that I was mentoring at the time,” says Paul.
“She said, ‘imagine what would happen if every time business was done, something great happened. Just imagine that’.”
“So, for example, imagine if every time an email was sent – and by the way, 2.7 million of them are sent per second – imagine if every time that was done, a kid got access to education or water. Just imagine.
“Imagine if someone has their morning coffee. Well, imagine if that place they bought it from said ‘every time you have a cup of coffee, something great happens’, and they could determine what that something great is.”
This is the foundation B1G1 is built on. Every time a business that uses the B1G1 platform carries out a particular business action, such as selling a product, a giving action is triggered that supports one of B1G1’s charitable projects. So far, B1G1 has triggered almost 200 million giving impacts around the world.
Paul points out that giving in this way is not only good for the world, it’s good for business.
“There’s a very good business reason for looking outwards, and that is someone once said (that) there’s a particular way that you never have to advertise… what you do is you choose to solve a problem that a lot of people care about. And in a big way. And then when you do that, people will beat a path to your door… when we (take focus) off ourselves and (put it) on to others, interesting things start to happen and people become attracted to your cause.”
Listen to the full podcast interview here.
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