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Cécile DUFFAU founder of the association Un Rien C'est Tout

24 May 2023 Portraits / Podcasts

Find below the course of our Alumni Cécile DUFFAU!

1. Can you introduce yourself in a few words?


My name is Cecile, I am 47 years old and I created the association Un Rien C'est Tout in 2016.


In a few words, I am rather determined, often angry against the injustice and inequality of the world, always committed and never discouraged. Because I am convinced that if I can help even one of my fellow citizens to live a little better, then my time on earth will have been worthwhile... because Un rien, C'est tout!

2. In 2000, you graduated from TBS Education, what did you do next?


When I left school, I was looking to move back to Bordeaux to enjoy my aging grandparents, my family and my parents, with the goal of moving abroad. So I started working in a bank, because there are banks all over the world. I was absolutely terrified of growing up, living, and dying in the same city, which is like taking 10,000 steps in one square meter, a handkerchief compared to the immensity of the world. But I met the father of my children, and I stayed. So I worked for years in banks, then in asset management, until I met The Client who broke all my locks. His intolerable pun ("I am homeless: without financial difficulties") was a real trigger, I quit.


I was separated, a mother of two, and I knew that my freedom had a cost, but it was priceless. I would do odd jobs to feed my kids if I had to, but I was finally done with this dichotomy between my professional life and my personal beliefs. I knew in my heart that I had to put my skills to work for the less fortunate.

3. In 2016, Un Rien C'est Tout was born, how did you get the idea?


I knew I wanted to be helpful, to be a halfway decent example for my kids. I also knew I had all the ingredients, but I didn't have the recipe yet. My ingredients: to get money since it was my job, to have an interesting network, no initial investment, and then above all, this visceral fury against myself when I looked at the distress and the misery of people, in a developed country like France. I think it was this anger at my own inaction that became unbearable and allowed me to take the plunge.


And then one day, on the morning market of a posh village, I was looking at the customers who kept buying a tomato at 5€, 3 melons at 20€, and I immediately thought, "if each of these people, when they buy something during the day, would add 1€ more to their purchases, they could always have dinner in the evening, but if I would get back all these 1€, I could certainly help lives which are only 1€ away". And so was born the concept of my association, Un Rien C'est Tout.

4. How did the creation of this association come about? What does this association consist of?


Between the idea and its implementation, I benchmarked for a year. There are very few players in this market, no non-profit associations. I didn't want to force people to give out of misery, I wanted people to give because they wanted to do something for others, but it had to be accessible to everyone, especially to young people who don't necessarily have the means, who are sensitive to solidarity issues, who buy a lot online, in short, I wanted a system that was simple, easy, almost playful. 1 click, 1 euro, 1 project.


So I immediately thought of contacting the Fnac, because it's in these departments that I like to hang out, indulge myself, buy books. So I contacted Alexandre Bompard who received me one evening in his office at the Fnac headquarters at the time, I had absolutely nothing concrete, just my idea, and a lot of stress. He immediately agreed, and told me, "let's go"! I couldn't believe it, I answered, but how do we go about it? I've never done that, I've always been a salaried employee, it's like asking me to build a house, I know exactly how I want it, but I've never touched a mason's trowel. 3 months later, we were online on their site. I owe him everything.


As for the functioning of the association, it is very simple, we propose on the e-commerce sites which are our partners (SncfConnect, Fnac, Cdiscount, La redoute, Carrefour, Lulli sur la Toile, Billetréduc, Carrefour, Rent a Car...) and some in store (Conforama, Leclerc, Darty...) to add 1€ to their purchases for one of the 4 great causes which we support: the right to dignity (for the poorly housed, malnourished, victims of violence...), health, childhood and the environment. I also wanted to let the customers who donate choose the project that is closest to their hearts. Then, we recover these 1€ and finance for other associations very concrete, embodied, budgeted projects (purchase of meal packages, maintenance of beaches and forests, renovation of rooms in pediatric wards of some hospitals, financing of heart operations, tutoring... I'll stop here, because since 2017, we have carried out over 200 solidarity projects.

5. Are you looking for volunteers? How can someone get involved in a Rien C'est Tout?


No, we only work with volunteers in very exceptional cases. However, if you want to get involved in Un Rien C'est Tout, I can suggest that you set up a monthly transfer to our site of 1€, that's 12€ per year and that helps us a lot. But we are also opening a new axis of development dedicated to small and medium-sized companies that do not have a CSR department or a foundation, but that wish to make an impact, that have understood that there can no longer be profit without social justice, but that do not know who to turn to, nor how, and that lack the time for these issues. To this end, we accompany them throughout the implementation of their philanthropic strategy, from the workshop that serves as team building with their employees, from the search for a project tailored to them and their team to the return of impact, with or without a salary commitment.

7. How has your TBS Education background, helped you in your professional career?


So it's funny, because I'm from the Promo 2000, and I had chosen as my 3ᵉ year specialty "Cultural and Humanitarian Management". I might as well tell you that we were at most 3 business school students in this specialty, but it proves that these are values that have always carried me.


TBS allowed me to acquire several essential things: firstly, a spirit of synthesis necessary to the head of a company, because yes, managing an association is like managing a company, without the lucrative side, but we must in the same way set development objectives and analyze the most effective means to achieve them. Working in a team and understanding the state of mind of the company managers who are my interlocutors, and finally, a network of former employees on which I often rely to develop my contacts.

8. Do you have any final words for our readers?


Obviously, if you can, don't hesitate to do a small gesture for others, because as you surely know, we are richer from what we give than from what we receive.

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