Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match! Find me a find, catch me a catch!
Surely you’ve all seen Fiddler on the Roof? If not, I strongly recommend that you remedy that situation. For our purposes, the only really relevant part is the song referenced above, aptly called “Matchmaker.” Given that February is upon us and Valentine’s Day is almost here, it seemed appropriate to think about making matches—but in this case, I’m not talking about romantic matches. This week’s blog post is all about the importance of matchmaking in the context of an incredible nonprofit organization, 1% for the Planet, which encourages companies and individuals to commit to contributing 1% of their income to environmental causes. It’s truly an amazing endeavor, and one with which Sip Wines is so thrilled to be affiliated.
But first: Let’s get a little context on the ancient tradition of matchmaking and why it’s becoming popular again, because it actually has a lot to do with how 1% for the Planet operates and why it’s so important. Also, it's just an interesting topic, oh so on brand for Valentine's Day, and who knows, maybe you'll learn something useful.
Matchmaking seems so old school. Historically, it's another term for arranged marriages, which were quite prevalent in most societies at one point or another and still are in many cultures today. Western societies tend to struggle with the idea of arranged marriage, which seems to go very much against our deeply embedded notions of personal freedom, but in reality arranged marriages (not to be confused with forced marriages, a very different and terrible thing) can be incredibly happy and harmonious. It's all about perspective: Successful arranged marriages are the result of viewing marriage as a business arrangement in which the broad interests of the parties are considered—financial, professional, values—on the understanding that compatibility on these points is critical for a successful union. In these arrangements, matchmakers are very often brought in as consultants or experts, and it's their job to assess the interests of the parties and evaluate the proposed match. Get all the pieces lined up, and happiness often follows.
Let’s face it: as much as we might want to find a life partner on the basis of that spark, romance, passion, a feeling of finding a soulmate, that can be incredibly difficult to find and more often than not doesn’t correlate to a successful relationship because those feelings don’t necessarily align to critical shared values and life goals. A major contributor to that misalignment is the reality that many people don’t actually have a good sense of their own needs, wants, values, etc., even if they think they do, and/or that many people don’t have the time to do the real work that this approach requires. This is where a third-party professional is key, and it’s the reason why more and more people are ditching traditional and online dating and turning to professional modern matchmaking.
Ok, that was a long enough tangent. The point is, there’s a TON of value in having a third party make matches—and that’s where 1% for the Planet comes in. Think of them as a philanthropic matchmaker whose goal is to facilitate bringing as many people as possible into the fight for the health and future of our planet. Huzzah!
Really, I can’t tell their story any better than what’s on their website, so I shall once again liberally poach:
"It all started when two businessmen met and bonded over their shared love for the outdoors. Realizing their responsibility to protect our planet, they decided to give 1% of their sales back to the environment—whether or not they were profitable. In 2002, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, created 1% for the Planet and started a global movement… The idea was simple: because companies profit from the resources they take from the earth, they should protect those resources.”
“The intent of 1% for the Planet is to help fund these diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful source in solving the world’s problems.”— YVON CHOUINARD
In many ways, 1% for the Planet (let's call them 1% for short) is akin to obtaining certification for sustainability, or for organic farming, in that membership in 1% requires and demonstrates a commitment to contribute financially for environmental causes. It’s a method of accountability as well as visibility. Hopefully you agree that this is a very cool concept, but you may be wondering, why did Julia go on for so long about matchmaking if we’re just talking about donating to charities?
I’m so glad you asked! See, the 1% founders didn’t just come up with a way to encourage large-scale philanthropy. They also realized that one of the major impediments to effective philanthropy, particularly at the individual level, is a lack of transparency and information about the myriad of nonprofits out there. Many of us would like to donate more to important causes, but we:
i) don’t know how to find the nonprofit that best aligns with our values;
ii) don’t know where our money actually goes once we donate;
iii) hear stories on the news all the time about nonprofits diverting funds for personal profit and other shady stuff, and those stories deter us;
iv) don’t have a clear sense of what is being accomplished with our donations/by the nonprofit; and then
v) get overwhelmed by all of that and busy with life and just don’t end up donating at all.
Huh, sounds kind of like all the pitfalls of online dating.
Here’s how the 1% model fixes all that, in four easy steps (also lifted from their website):
Join: Individual members join our network, pledging to donate 1% of their annual salary to environmental nonprofits through monetary and/or volunteer support.
Advise: 1% for the Planet provides partnership advising, pairing members with environmental nonprofits that make the biggest impact possible and which align with their personal values.
Donate: Individual members support their chosen nonprofit partner(s) and we help make the connections.
Certify: 1% for the Planet certifies all member donations—having individuals self-report annual salary and by reviewing donation details.
[It works similarly for businesses who join 1%, committing to donate the equivalent of 1% of gross sales through a combination of monetary, in-kind and approved promotional support directly to environmental nonprofits.]
In a nutshell, they do the work for you. They thoroughly vet every nonprofit with which they affiliate, they provide a curated database of philanthropies, and they make the connection. The end result? Charitable matches made in heaven.
It’s seriously cool along with seriously easy, which is why it was a no-brainer for Sip Wines to get involved. It's another way in which we can embody our mission of "conscious consumerism," by making sure that a piece of your wine purchase will have a positive environmental and social impact. We’re proud to publicly commit 1% of our gross sales as just one of the ways that we aim to reduce our environmental footprint and preserve our beautiful planet. We hope all of you will consider joining us in this pledge.