What we’re often asked about money, funding, zero budget and volunteering.
I’ve read about your Goal, I love your Methodology, and want to support See Through News.
Wonderful, we’d be delighted to have you on board.
How can I donate to See Through News?
That’s so kind of you. You can volunteer your time, talent, social media network or other non-financial resources.
I’m a busy person. How can I support you financially?
Sorry, you can’t.
We don’t have a bank account.
You still there?
Yes, just a bit confused. How does See Through News make its money?
Currently, it doesn’t. So far, See Through News is zero-budget. Everything we do is done by volunteers.
But some things require money.
You’re a social media network. Reaching people costs money.
Not if you exploit the free infrastructure and algorithmic vulnerabilities of our Silicon Valley Overlords.
Not sure what that means, but one way or another, surely you have to pay for advertising, to reach people.
We’re happy with our ‘organic’ rate of growth, without paying SVOs to boost our reach.
How fast is your ‘organic’ reach growing then?
Double-digit growth per year, without paying Facebook/ Google a penny? Impressive.
Not per year. Per month.
But…you must have real costs, like website hosting fees, software licences and such.
Currently we’re on the cheapest tariffs, which individual volunteers are paying directly.
But if you’re growing that fast, won’t these costs start to skyrocket?
For sure. Plus, many of the projects we’re developing will require massively larger server space, bandwidth and processing power.
You’ll need serious money for that, won’t you?
Less actually. Zero, to be precise. A cloud computing company with pretty much limitless such resources has volunteered to supply them to See Through News for free.
The same reason anyone volunteers. Because they want to support us. Other corporate supporters have offered free use of their software licences too.
What do they want in return?
So far, nothing.
You mean, these commercial operations, with obligations to shareholders, are just giving you stuff for free?
You’re starting to sound pretty naive, grasshopper.
Possibly. But some companies are run by smart, aware executives with children and grandchildren who they know will have to face the consequences of our fossil fuel addiction.
Are you trying to make me sound naive now?
Not at all. Things are actually changing at last. Some companies have embraced the urgency and importance of climate action, and are taking it.
Why and how?
They want to prove to their employees they’re helping doing some good in the world, which they’re doing va established corporate volunteering mechanisms.
That ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ malarky, right?
These days it’s mostly called Environmental, Social and Governance. ESG is the new CSR, don’t ya know. But yes.
They do this with no strings attached?
Hence ‘volunteering’. They volunteer access to their employees.
You mean, they publicise See Through News projects to their staff?
Even better – they actively encourage them to them to volunteer for See Through News projects.
Like doing the Superhero Drawing Competition, a See Through Education screening, or How To Live Without Plastic project at their kids’ schools, doing a 1 Sunday Morning, 4 Films community filmmaking project in their own community, or using other STN open source resources?
You have been doing your homework! Yes, or encouraging their software engineers to help code our complex, bespoke STN platforms & apps, like See Through Games, The Magic See-Through Mirror, or Climate Action Index.
But don’t they want to own the rights to the software they develop, or insist on using your brand to promote themselves in some way?
That wouldn’t be ‘volunteering’. That would be business.
But corporations are commercial enterprises, and need to turn a profit and ‘own’ what they create.
Not always. Specifically, corporate ESG programmes set aside a certain number of days per year for staff to volunteer, which are designated for no-strings-attached volunteering.
And they can point their staff towards your projects to fulfil their ESG promises?
If they approve of our Goal and Methodology, yes.
And they’re happy to just give valuable online, physical and human resources away for free?
That’s the essence of…
…volunteering. I see how that could work now...
You appear pensive.
It just sounds too good to be true.
You mean, it feels like there has to be some kind of catch?
Corporations want to help their communities, motivate their staff and protect the environment. See Through News provides projects to facilitate that. Is it that surprising?
Now you put it like that…
But it’s true STN’s approach can induce suspicion and confusion.
What are you suspicious and confused about?
Not us, the companies.
Being radically transparent, STN is crystal clear about what we do. It’s just that most charities, NGOs or Non-Profits need to raise funds, so charge companies for their services.
You mean companies are used to paying charities to deliver ESG programmes, and they’re confused why yours are free?
Yes. It seems there aren’t many zero-budget NGOs.
Tell us about it. Gift Horse Distribution turns out to be a tougher business than you might think.
You’re saying not having money is an advantage?
Money can be a lubricant, but it can also be sludge. See Through News benefits from the friction-free speed conferred by operating without it.
Charities spend a lot of their time and energy fundraising, applying for funding, waiting for funders to give them money, justifying how they spent their money etc.
True. Funding involves a lot of box-ticking.
And ticking a funder’s boxes usually means diluting or compromising what you originally wanted to do.
So you’re saying not involving money…
…makes us fast, highly responsive and focused on our Goal. Also, being a zero-income non-profit gives us a clear, credible message.
I’m starting to see the power of zero budget.
Us too. ‘Follow the Money’ is usually the shortest route to understanding what motivates any organisation.
But a dead end when there’s none to follow.
Precisely. We’re doing fine so far with zero revenue and are enjoying the benefits, so why stop?
Zero-budget integrity doesn’t come cheap.
Nicely put. We might use that.
So you never want to generate any revenue?
Never say never, but money creates problems too. Our growing reach gives us various monetisation options, but for the moment we can’t see any pressing reason to pursue them.
You’d have to set up a bank account first, anyway.