Design Engineering
Showcase

Ember

Students
Anusha Sonthalia, Gareth Jones, Michael Hofmann, Frederic Macher & Rowan Dixon
Course
Design Engineering MEng
Supervisor
Dr Pelin Demirel
Theme
Breaking Barriers

What if giving to charity was as easy as buying a cup of coffee?

Ember reinvents charity fundraising by empowering donors and allowing charities to build honest, long-term relationships. Through a product-app combination, Ember makes giving a daily habit. The sleeve tracks when users buy a hot drink and allows them to give 25p to their chosen charity. Through the app, donors can find vetted charities, set goals, and see the impact of their donations.

The charity-side digital platform helps man- age goals and enables volunteers to create marketing content. Ember is a cost-effective substitute to traditional fundraising and dig- ital marketing. The service lets charities ac- cess potential donors, currently out of reach, by integrating seamlessly into their lives.

 — Ember

The Problem

Charities are heavily dependent on public fundraising to run. However, the decline of cash and the death of the high street means traditional fact-to-face fundraising techniques are no longer effective. This issue coupled with holiday donation surges results in an unstable income for charities, especially smaller ones, and means they cannot plan effectively or focus on their causes.

"In 2017, nearly half of charity income came from the public, totalling £22.9 billion." -UK Civil Society Almanac 2019

"In 2015 we were able to raise £1000 a day per bucket collection, today that is down to less than £300." -St Catherine's Hospice

Giving to charity isn’t part of young British culture. With over 185,000 charities to choose from and a decline in trust in the charity sector, it can be difficult for donors to find the right organisations to support. Moreover, outdated donation mechanisms can make regular giving a tedious process and income constraints can make larger, one-off donations difficult.

"Only 24% of the UK population gives to charity every month and for those aged 25-44 that value is even lower at 20%." -CAF UK Giving

"I don’t donate because I’m unsure exactly how the money is spent. I haven’t been able to research to find the right charity." -Market Research Questionnaire

 — Ember

Our Journey

It all started with a passion. Five students who wanted to make a positive impact put their heads together to come up with an idea to help support charities financially.

In depth research and interviews of charities, donors, volunteers, and business illuminated the inner workings and fundamental issues in fundraising operations.

The newfound insights laid the foundation for developing a revolutionary system allowing the public to truly support the causes they really care about.

The relationships built in developing the charitable enterprise also stressed the importance and impact of small, local charities and businesses.

Ember was born from one core mission statement: to make giving meaningful and effortless, enabling charities to focus on what really matters.

With the first iteration complete, the team launched the testing phase to validate and perfect the product; creating an elegant solution to a complex problem.

After six months of hard work Ember is finally here! Join today to make a difference in your community and support the causes you really care about.

The Team

Ember was co-founded by a small but mighty team of masters students at the Dyson School of Design Engineering within Imperial College London. Coming from a diverse set of backgrounds and having followed our own educational journeys, each of us brings a unique set of skills to the table. Yet since we are all Design Engineers, we speak the same language. The synergies in the team allow us to join forces and work towards a single mission.

 — Ember

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