‘Go the extra mile, because it’s usually empty’: Why you should Do it Now Now

How @DoitBayo is bridging the gap between who people are now and who they want to be Click To Tweet

Do it Now Now is a crowdfunding platform that has the social development of Africa at its core. Founded by Bayo Adelaja, a research assistant at the London School of Economics, Do it Now Now helps supports social entrepreneurs in their quest to make a positive impact across Africa.

Bayo also hosts frequent StartUps for Africa events on Google Campus, in the heart of London’s Silicon Roundabout. We caught up with Bayo to find out a bit more about the Do it Now Now journey and the importance of social entrepreneurship right now. 

Where did the passion for entrepreneurship come from?

I love working at the LSE, the work is great and so are my colleagues but I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit within me. The only way I could do that was by stepping out of my comfort zone and saying this is who I am, who I want to be and I’m not going to let anyone talk me out of it.

I had been talked out of it in the past when a company that was trying to buy another start-up I had tried to steal my idea. At that point I wasn’t good at saying I needed help or a support network to guide me on the journey. I realised that most people don’t have that support. They also lack the skills, knowledge and connections.

I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if I could help people to bridge the gap between who they are and who they want to be?

What is Do It Now Now?

Do it Now Now is a crowdfunding platform with an incubator attached to it. We help people raise up to £10,000 ($12,000) from their friends, family and other interested parties. Do it Now Now helps businesses organise their campaigns, their perks and rewards, the marketing, the budget, everything. We work with the startup from A to Z, giving them all the support they need over the course of a year to help them build a healthy, scalable and sustainable business.

We help people raise up to £10,000 from their friends, family and other interested parties Click To Tweet

My job at the LSE has helped a lot as. I saw that there was a gap between the amount of work that aid organisations can do and the amount of development needed on the continent. Social entrepreneurs and start-ups can be more flexible, quicker on the ground with more local knowledge of the community that they’re in.

That’s a huge advantage, and an opportunity for them to link up with other organisations in Africa who might be able to support them in one way or another. We also partner with incubators on the continent such as the Kumasi Hive, working with tech entrepreneurs in Ghana.

Bayo Adelaja herself
Bayo Adelaja herself

How does the fundraising process work?

You raise money with us and we help you grow. Then, we expect you to donate 20% of your gross income or £500 ($600), whichever amount it higher, to the charity that you chose at the beginning of your campaign. Do it Now Now collects commission that enables us to run the programme.

We also have Startups for Africa, the free version of the programme which brings together people who are interested in growing their businesses, fostering collaborations and getting a conversation started. We want to show people that it is possible to be a purposeful, conscious person and have a business that is not just about the money, but about people and causes; it’s a heart thing.

Money is great but being part of a community that cares about people and supports you is so much better.

How can social entrepreneurs be successful on the continent?

Do it Now Now is based on this principle: start now, plan now, do it now and do it well. Get on your feet and keep moving. So many of us have a good ideas that will change Africa but we spent too much time planning and researching. We’ve been relying on potential for years, if not decades.

I want people to see that it’s not difficult at all to be a purposeful business. Social entrepreneurship is a fantastic way to support Africa’s development and still support yourself financially. I’m not here to simply line my pockets and die rich, I’m here to help people and improve life on the continent.

I want people to see that it’s not difficult at all to be a purposeful business Click To Tweet

If we have businesses that are strong, healthy and doing positive things it becomes good PR for Africa. Be passionate about your business, your people and the rest of the world will see it too. We need to recognise who we are, where we come from and build what’s needed —no one is going to do that for us. Africa is not a token, it’s not something you do on the side, you need to treat it with the respect that it deserves.


How do you balance a full time job and running Do it Now Now?

Well, I work about 80 hours a week: I wake up at 5am to build my business then go to work at 10am. Then I sleep and do it all over again, because I’m super passionate. Someone once told me ‘go the extra mile, because it’s usually empty’. If we just pivot the purpose of business we can make a truly sustainable and long-lasting impact.

‘Go the extra mile, because it’s usually empty’ - how to make your mark Click To Tweet

How can a budding social entrepreneur get started?

Pick a problem and pick it wisely. It has to be something you’re passionate about, otherwise you’ll quit. You’ll quit quickly and you’ll leave people in the lurch. Pick something small and specific, then you can then blow it up and make it big. Always work with other people and look out for collaboration opportunities.

I go to as many meetings as possible because you never really know who you’ll meet. My favourite saying is; ‘you can’t see the holes in your own head’. You have no idea what the gaps are in your business because you’re too close to it, so you need others to step in and provide a different view.

Share your idea. I saw an SLA instagram post that said ideas alone aren’t worth very much. And while that may be controversial, it’s true. There are so many ideas you can have in a day, what counts is the implementation, your passion, your network, your influence and how you communicate.

Just make sure that you’re able to share the idea, because without people your ideas are nothing. Realise that you don’t have to fix every problem, you just have to start with one, and if it expands, fantastic.

Without people your ideas are nothing. Here's how to build your social entrepreneurship business Click To Tweet

…And what do you do with what’s left of your free time?

My sisterhood! I love hanging out with my girlfriends, chatting, having a coffee and chilling but then I’m back to work.

There are also many things I want to do and grow in —hiking, learning French, Mandarin, Korean, reading. I also love music, someone once told me that I have 132 playlists on Spotify! Above all I love working, because I’m passionate about it. I simply do what I love.

Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.

How to beat the rewards system

shehive nairobi she leads africa rewards

As someone who has been working in this crowdfunding space for quite some time, I have had the opportunity to have incredible conversations with people who run crowdfunding platforms and people who run campaigns on crowdfunding platforms.

As you can imagine, the information you gain from both sides of the coin, while different, is necessary for a complete understanding of the crowdfunding scene.

Before I decided on exactly what I wanted Do it Now Now to be, and the kind of support we would need to offer our campaigns, I did a lot of research into what it takes to run a successful campaign and what support campaign founders need.

Let’s talk about perks/rewards

Yes! You got the money, congratulations! But now, you have to deal with sending everyone that pledged an amount of money to you, the things you promised you would give them.

If you have raised $23K and you have 380 backers who have each donated between $10 and $1000, you are going to have to gift 380 people a gift corresponding to the amount they donated.

That means, you are going to have to design or purchase the gift and send it to their individual addresses. To some of us, this seems pretty straightforward.

im-sorry-im-confused gifHowever, for people like myself who need to break stuff down, consider this.

What is your donation percentage?

The first thing to consider when deciding which perks you are going provide to your donors, is how much of the donation is going to go to perks.

Most platforms offer a 5% (or more) commission on the amount raised. After that, they add the transaction fees (usually between 3 and 4%). The problem with pledges, is that not everyone has the money in their account when it is time to collect. Factor in the cost of failed pledges.



We suggest you factor in another 2% to cover this. So, before you factor in perks at all, you have just paid out 10% of the amount raised on each donation. So far, on each $100, you are making $90. Not bad.

What is your attraction percentage?

Now, how much money do you want to spend to attract someone to donate to your campaign? This includes any kind of advertising (Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc.) you want to use.

We don’t actually suggest you pay a ridiculous amount for advertising a campaign. Say you spend 50c on each $10 donation, that isn’t too bad. So far, on each $100, you are making $85. Not bad.

What is your perk percentage?

How much do you value your donor, in each donation bracket? Think about this purely monetarily. Your perk percentage reflects how much of the donation you want to spend on the physical or non-physical perks, the shipping of the physical perks, the design costs, etc.

We suggest as an individual campaign, you spend no more than 15% of your raised amount on perks. There are different rules, depending on the type of campaign you are running. If you already have a product you are trying to sell, and you have a RRP, then by all means use your existing merchandise!

You have already paid for it, and if you are making a small mark-up on the cost-price of your merchandise you are doing well. However, if you do not have existing merchandise and you actually need to make some money to create merchandise, this 15% maximum budget is for you.

The 15% includes the physical items, and the packaging and shipping of those items. Note that with the state of most platforms, people expect a lot as a reward.

We suggest you get really creative so that you don’t end up spending 50% of your raised amount on perks (trust me, it happens!). You are now at $70 for every $100. Not bad.

Keep on budget and you will get a good amount back!

the-windMake sure you factor in the quantity of each perk you want to offer. What will your community actually donate? Are you surrounded by $10 givers, or $100 givers? What do you think your $100 will want to receive?

Try talking to your community. If you make them a part of your decision making process, they are much more likely to respond to your campaign.

What is your administration cost?

Think about your opportunity cost. How much time are you going to spend on the post-campaign administration? How much time are you going to spend on marketing and organising your campaign?

Most campaigns take 10 hours a week to run, and most campaigns run for 8 weeks. Post-campaign administration is about 3 hours each workday for a month (approx. 60 hours). Factor in a salary that makes sense for whoever is going to be dealing with this part of your campaign.

You are looking at 140 hours at an average wage of $5/hour; $700. Factor in 3% of your fundraising amount as a guide, if you don’t want to have strict time/cost constraints.

These estimations depend on the number of backers and the type of perks you have —the more personalised the perks, the longer it is going to take to organise properly. It is not impossible to do this well.

There are actually a number of print and ship on demand platforms that you can look up. There are also a number of crowdfunding support companies that handle all of this for you. They usually charge between $3-5 per physical item for shipping and handling post-campaign.

If you plan and budget carefully, and you do as much of the work yourself and try to use as much readily available merchandise as possible you could be at $67 for each $100 donation post-campaign. Not bad at all.

There are benefits to donation/reward based crowdfunding, and there are obvious benefits to no-reward donation based crowdfunding. You need to think about what type of crowdfunding best suits what you are trying to do.

Merchandise based campaigns with ready merchandise should go for Indiegogo or Kickstarter. Cultural campaigns (particularly the UK based ones, should consider Crowdfunder UK), and people who want to raise very small amounts of money to help solve a specific issue, should consider Go Fund Me (their commission is higher, but no need for rewards).

The other option

Do it Now Now is very different from other platforms out there because we have a number of innovations in our donation based models, with the addition of something we like to call our “universal perk system”.

The rewards system of donation based platform is undoubtedly the most confusing and often the most stressful part of the entire crowdfunding process. We decided we would do our best to ease the stress.

We provide all the perks and rewards on our platform. And in some cases, we work with our campaign founders to create “speciality perks” that are specific to their campaigns and resonate with their communities/following. We support charitable initiatives, start-ups, fundraising individuals, and creatives with a project in development.

If you are interested in what we offer over on Do it Now Now with our “universal perk system” and our “admin cover”, feel free to contact me.