The Humanstate group, which includes PayProp and whose founders also founded charity crowdfunding platform GivenGain, 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, employees across PayProp and the GivenGain Foundation 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. Keeping generosity at the heart of our company culture requires constant work and engagement at all levels. Here are some of the ways we’ve encouraged our 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 PayProp employees are allowed – in fact, encouraged – to take one extra day of leave each month to volunteer with a charity of their choice.
It’s an ambitious programme, but one that we’ve found makes a huge difference to both our social impact and 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 benefits of volunteering are twofold – 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 in which Humanstate group companies operate. 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 serves as a founder and director of 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 other employees.
Making it happen
PayProp's charitable culture is to some extent self-reinforcing. Because giving back is now such a normal part of life at the company, employees regularly share their own personal fundraising projects with their coworkers through internal communications channels to ask for support. For the individual fundraisers, it’s a great way to earn donations – but it also has the effect of normalising fundraising, volunteering and giving.
However, maintaining that culture still requires work. Day-to-day, this means sharing regular reminders about the company’s charitable activities. All new employees are told about the Humanstate Heroes programme during induction and reminded about it through regular updates (and a little good-natured team competition). While employees are proactive about sharing their fundraising projects, we also try to identify inspiring stories to share through weekly internal news bulletins as well as the Humanstate blog and social media.
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 even at a distance. Our answer was to launch our most ambitious social impact event yet.
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 PayProp, we look forward to continuing to make a difference – and to making more of an impact every day.