Funding, Dec. 15, 2020, 8:16 p.m.



In a clear case of practising what they preach, employees of charity crowdfunding platform GivenGain and the Humanstate Group – from which it licenses its technology – have just completed a global employee fundraising campaign, raising close on R 180,000

Now the pair are challenging other corporates to step up too, with staff fundraisers and other ways of giving back to help struggling communities through a difficult festive season.


Culture of social responsibility

Since being founded in 2001, GivenGain has helped donors in almost 200 countries to support charities around the world – from Australia to Zimbabwe.


But the non-profit foundation, based in Switzerland, has always had a strong corporate social responsibility mission of its own to match. Originally established on its founders’ belief that “it is more blessed to give than receive”, GivenGain – and the Humanstate group, started by the same founders – encourages all its employees to donate their time, money and skills to good causes. Most uniquely, all employees are given one day of additional leave every month to volunteer.


This year, GivenGain and the Humanstate group launched their biggest employee crowdfunding programme yet. From October to November, they challenged all employees to take part in the first ever global One World Zero Barriers Challenge to fundraise for charities around the world.


Jannie Smith, Regional Manager: Sub-Saharan Africa at GivenGain, says the team felt it was the right time to make a difference.


“We’ve seen the impact that COVID-19 and the economic downturn have had on the most vulnerable communities and the charities that support them – both here in South Africa and around the world,” he says. “While GivenGain is not a grant-making foundation, we believe that we have a social responsibility to give back to those in need – and the One World Zero Barriers Challenge was our way of helping them at this difficult time.”


“The thing to realise about the festive season is that charities are greatly reliant on strong fundraising at this time of year to keep them going through quieter months. One in three donations is made in December, so end-of-year corporate fundraising events can have a huge impact.”


One World Zero Barriers

In the One World Zero Barriers Challenge, employees at GivenGain and Humanstate group companies from around the world competed to raise the most money for their chosen charities.


Teams battled for two prizes, one for the team that hit their fundraising target the quickest and another for the office with the highest participation rate, levelling the playing field and giving everyone an incentive to join in and try their best. Setting up fundraising campaigns and events, accepting donations and tracking impact was easy, thanks to GivenGain’s proven technology, says Smith.


In total, team members raised close on R 180,000 for 32 different charities over three months, with some standout individual performances. Humanstate Head of Brand Luke Menzel raised R16,584 by walking 100km in under 24 hours in support of teacher salaries at Zonnebloem Girls Primary School. PayProp mobile development team leader Alex Steinberg raised more than R6 800 to help Trinity Children’s Centre in the Cape Flats build a new classroom. Even after the challenge has ended, Jannie Smith is still walking 3km every day, rain or shine, to fund emergency food parcels in Stellenbosch.


























Better to give than receive

After the success of the One World Zero Barriers Challenge, the GivenGain team are already planning their next internal fundraising event – and throwing down the gauntlet to other companies to do the same.


Smith hopes other organisations will take inspiration from the One World Zero Barriers Challenge and stresses the positives of fundraising. “The challenge was a great experience for us. As well as the impact we made for charity, it really helped to bring our teams together in a year when that’s often been difficult. Fundraising is a huge part of our company culture and events like this are a great way to reinforce that.”


To boost their social impact, Smith suggests that companies match the fundraising efforts of employees.


“By setting up a donation-matching scheme and publicising it to employees, companies can massively boost their social impact while rallying employees around a common goal. It’s a lot of fun and makes a big difference – to the community and to team spirit.”


To start an internal fundraising event for your employees or for help setting up a corporate giving programme, get in touch with Jannie Smith at


For more information on PayProp and GivenGain, visit and