How we build a company culture of giving

December 15, 2020
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At GivenGain, we often talk about the incredible potential of corporate fundraising. It’s a subject we’re passionate about because we’ve experienced it first-hand. Now we’d like to share how we put generosity at the heart of our company culture so that other organisations can do the same thing.

The Humanstate group, whose founders founded the GivenGain Foundation and which also includes rental payment processing platform PayProp, is a company with big ideals. From the outset it was founded on a shared philosophy that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.

Today, our people regularly volunteer and fundraise for a range of good causes, and the company’s charitable roots are often cited by interview candidates when asked why they wanted to join.

None of this happened by accident – it requires constant work and engagement at all levels. Here are some of the ways we’ve encouraged people to go out and make a difference.

A day a month to volunteer

The centrepiece of our corporate social responsibility mission is the Humanstate Heroes programme. After completing probation, all GivenGain, PayProp and Humanstate employees are allowed – in fact, encouraged – to take one extra day of leave each month to volunteer with a charity of their choice.

We’ve found it makes a huge difference to both our social impact and our employees’ sense of purpose and well-being. For many, Humanstate Heroes is one of the highlights of working at the company.

“I find it incredibly worthwhile being able to help those in need and I’ve gained invaluable skills to help within my role at GivenGain,” says Robyn Andrews, who uses her own Humanstate Heroes leave to volunteer with mental health charity West Kind Mind. “The charity gets the benefit of your time and skills plus you have the reward of being able to put something of value back into the community.”

The programme has produced inspiring stories in every market we work in. In Switzerland, the GivenGain Foundation’s Executive Director Marc Freudweiler spent a week working as a volunteer during the Special Olympics National Winter Games 2020. In the UK, Humanstate junior designer Michael Wilkins regularly volunteers his photography skills for a local hospice. In South Africa, PayProp Client Support Specialist Angelo Lawrence helped to found the Kylemore Charity Foundation, which raises money to support all kinds of local good causes.

Getting people from all levels of the company on board has been key to the programme’s success. By taking an active and visible part in volunteering and fundraising, business leaders model that behaviour to everyone else at Humanstate.

Making it happen

A culture of giving is self-reinforcing. Because giving back is now such a normal part of life at Humanstate, people regularly share their own personal fundraising projects through internal communications channels to ask for support. It’s not just a great way to earn donations – it also has the effect of normalising fundraising, volunteering and giving.

But maintaining that culture still requires work. Day-to-day, this means sharing regular reminders about the charitable activities going on. All new employees are told about the Humanstate Heroes programme during induction. We also look for inspiring stories to share through weekly internal news bulletins as well as here on the GivenGain blog.

Humanstate staff raised almost $12,000 in the One World Zero Barriers Challenge

One World Zero Barriers

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, organisations around the world have had to think hard about how they can maintain a shared company culture at a distance. Our answer was to launch our most ambitious social impact event yet.

The One World Zero Barriers Challenge

The One World Zero Barriers Challenge pitted Humanstate teams from around the world against each other in a friendly online fundraising competition. The first prize went to the team that hit their fundraising target the quickest, while the second was for the team with the highest participation rate, giving everyone an incentive to get on board. By the end of the challenge, 30 fundraisers raised a total of CHF 10,800 between them!

Prioritising our social impact has helped us to come together as a company, build strong teams and motivate employees to go above and beyond both at work and in the rest of their lives. Perhaps even more importantly, it’s also made a real difference to many different charities and causes around the world. At Humanstate, we look forward to continuing to make a difference – and to making more of an impact every day.

If you would like to find out more about corporate fundraising with GivenGain, please e-mail