Frans Stroebel is the chairman of the GivenGain Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that manages all donations on the GivenGain fundraising platform. His diverse career background has stretched from an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa to a Diplomat at the European Headquarters of the UN in Geneva as well as a conservationist and CEO at the World Wildlife Fund.
1. Can you tell us about GivenGain?
GivenGain is a global online fundraising platform used by members of the general public (individuals or teams) to fundraise for charity. Charities also use our platform to ask for donations.
The business was founded in 2001 by two brothers, Johannes and Jaco van Eeden. No doubt about it, both brothers are born contrarians, and it’s an absolute privilege for me as Chairman of this foundation to share their vision and energy.
Our headquarters is in Switzerland, which was attractive to us as a federal republic, rooted in a long democratic tradition. It’s perhaps the only country in the world where one nation was formed of people ‘divided’ by so many different languages, religions and cultures. It’s a nation that evolved with great success over a long period of time to become one of the world’s most stable and secure democracies. Switzerland also has many international organisations, world-class banks, a sophisticated financial services industry and reliable high-speed Internet. These are all important elements of providing a cost-effective, highly-efficient global online donation processing platform.
The GivenGain Foundation, a nonprofit organisation in the group, manages all donations on the GivenGain platform.
As a nonprofit foundation, GivenGain is truly one of a kind. Usually, companies become commercially successful before giving back, but in our case nothing would have happened without the starting belief that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” As children of a pastor, one can understand this driving force of the van Eeden brothers. It is the guiding light of their mission to “boost nonprofits’ fundraising potential by giving them the tools to empower their supporters to fundraise on their behalf”.
GivenGain has helped donors and fundraisers in 193 countries to support charities in more than 60 countries. GivenGain has worked with some of the biggest charities globally, including WWF, Unicef, Habitat for Humanity, Missing Children Europe, Médecins Sans Frontières and many more.
2. In today’s digital world, there are several options when it comes to online fundraising. What makes GivenGain’s approach to fundraising different from the conventional approach?
There are three things make GivenGain’s approach stand out. First, we are part of a select few organisations that allow people from anywhere in the world to support a charity anywhere in the world. Most platforms restrict giving to select countries.
Second, our aim is to drive intelligent and discerning giving. We only allow fundraising for registered nonprofits – so no project can benefit the fundraiser personally and all donations are paid straight into charities’ bank accounts without passing through fundraisers’ accounts. These fundraisers receive an active no-cost fundraising page when registering with us. The platform operates in eight different languages and processes in nine different currencies.
Offering those two things and a variety of payment options has enabled over 150,000 donors globally to financially support a cause they care about in a way that is easy and familiar to them.
Last, while virtually all other platforms are run as income-generating vehicles, GivenGain does not make a profit on donations. We believe that this is the right thing to do. 100% of all donations are managed within a fully-audited and compliant nonprofit environment.
3. GivenGain was founded on a single idea–that it is better to give than to receive. How does GivenGain help fundraisers portray a visible connection between action and impact to redefine the meaning of fundraising to fit the founding principle?
Charities are a major focal point of the platform as are the beneficiaries of fundraisers’ and donors’ efforts.
To reinforce their presence, we give charities the opportunity to digitally connect with their supporters, no matter where they are in the world. The platform essentially enables them to build powerful, highly-engaged and attuned online fundraising communities – at a fraction of the traditional time and cost of doing so in the real world. It further enables activists to raise funds and awareness for these causes.
Each charity receives the data of their GivenGain donors [unless the donor wants to remain anonymous]. This allows the charity to continue building a relationship with its supporters and fundraisers.
By tapping into the power of social networking, we lastly enable charities to transform their passion into action in a very visible way. If the charity’s vision is exciting and visible enough, fundraisers and supporters will want to work together to make things happen. We believe that today’s “activists” are looking for meaning and purpose in their lives. They desire significance and want to accomplish great things. GivenGain allows them to create, join, and grow communities around their chosen cause, and to invest in ideas and people in whom they believe.
4. GivenGain’s stats are extremely impressive: $34M donations processed; 499,618+ donations; 12,072 fundraisers; 156,152+ donors; and currently active in 193 countries. As you keep growing and evolving, how do you believe GivenGain will make it easier for individuals to do their part to change the world?
Our next goal is to enable individuals to create “movements” through their networks. In other words, to support the causes they love. We recently added Teams to our stable of charitable fundraising tools in order to help drive this goal.
GivenGain Teams enables companies, sporting events, educational institutions, clubs and even families and friends around the world to fundraise together for any charity (or charities).
Notably, GivenGain Teams helps event organisers and corporate social investment [CSI] managers to leverage the personal networks of staff or event participants to fundraise together for their chosen charity. A Team-based approach allows fundraising to quickly increase an event or company’s social impact. The average GivenGain fundraiser raises $600+, so if a Team gets 1,000 supporters, it can raise $600,000.
Robert F. Kennedy said that “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
The GivenGain Teams platform allows each individual to see their social impact in one dashboard view, and to easily share it with the world, investors or team members’ personal networks, to drum up more support. In addition, it offers event organisers brand control over the fundraising already happening in conjunction with their event, as well as the ability to attract more entrants in future with the option to fundraise.