Aussie toilet paper subscription startup Who Gives a Crap has seen a 1000% increase in sales since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and it’s donated $5.85 million of its pandemic profits to sanitation charities.
Since it was founded in 2012, Who Gives a Crap has donated half of all profits to charities that work to provide access to clean water and sanitation in developing countries.
For the financial year 2019-20, the spike in sales related to COVID-19 panic buying has meant the social enterprise has been able to donate $5.85 million — a 750% increase on the previous year’s donation.
It’s also more than double the amount the startup has raised in all previous years, combined.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
In a tweet, founder Simon Griffiths called the donation a “huge milestone at a much needed time”.
“Hygiene and sanitation has never been more important,” he said.
I’m incredibly proud of @WhoGivesACrapTP ‘s donation of $5.85 million AUD this year
8 years after our crowdfunding launch, this is a huge milestone at a much needed time. Hygiene and sanitation has never been more important.
Thank you to *everyone* that‘s made this possible! https://t.co/loIEkMLDJ2
— Simon Griffiths (@simongriffiths) July 9, 2020
He also noted that the startup is 100% bootstrapped.
“So making this donation whilst being debt-free has made it even sweeter,” Griffiths tweeted.
The funding will support six non-profit organisations, including WaterAid, Sanergy and International Development Enterprises.
For perspective, according to Griffiths, the donation makes the Aussie startup WaterAid’s third-largest corporate donor in the past two years, behind HSBC and Pepsi.
Speaking to SmartCompany back in March, when the toilet paper panic-buying phenomenon was just ramping up in Australia, Griffiths said the online brand was selling as much as 10 times its normal amount per day.
Ultimately, the team had to declare the startup out of stock, in order to be able to service its existing subscribers and business customers. Since then, it has cleared a waiting list of 500,000 customers.
However, Griffiths saw the opportunity to use the panic-buying spree to raise awareness of some of the issues Who Gives a Crap was founded to tackle.
It presented an opportunity to talk about the bigger picture.
“We’re panicking about not having toilet paper. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the 2.3 billion that don’t even have access to a toilet,” he said.
“That results in 700 deaths of kids under the age of five every day.”