If giving is a blessing, GIVE.sg wants to make it easier to bless others by democratizing the act of giving.
I first met Aseem, Jiangguang and Raziuddin of GIVE.sg at the recent TwestivalSG, part of the global Twestival movement and Singapore’s first “Tweet.Meet.Give” event to raise funds for the Children Cancer Foundation. They were also there to raise awareness and funds for a mission to bring clean water to the homeless children in Taiwan devastated by Typhoon Morakot, and were more than glad to explain what GIVE.sg does.
Inspire To Give
“Each and every day, there are people who still struggle to get clean water or fill their growling tummies. That makes us frustrated. Why can’t we do something about making the world a better place when here today, all around us in Singapore are the technological means and the resources needed?”
This was the question that the founders of GIVE.sg asked themselves some 15 months ago, on 12th May 2008. The answer, when it came, says Aseem Thakur, one of the members of GIVE.sg who looks after business development, was simple – the problem is too big for a single individual. “(But) if we stopped acting alone but rather come together and join our efforts, the result would be a social movement that amplifies the impact we can make together and magnifies it beyond the sum of our collective individual effort.”
This formed the inspiration for GIVE.sg – a platform that matches the needs of charities with the resources of a community formed for a single, philanthropic purpose. After all, what one person gives can be negligible; when an entire community gives, the impact is felt.
“Every individual effort counts,” says Aseem. “We want to make fundraising easy, fun and convenient so anyone can take part. (We’re) opening up a world of rewarding and enriching experience such that everyone can make a big difference and experience the joy of giving.”
“This is what democratizing the act of giving means – An open and collaborative effort by everyone from all social standing forming a social movement together for charitable causes they believe in,” Aseem explains.
“Our goal is to provide the tools to help charities continue their great work in the Information Age. By listening to the advice of our GIVE.sg community and the charities, we will continue to innovate and leverage on technology to provide them with the best value for all the services to meet their needs.”
It’s a new take on philanthropy; a KIVA.org that helps charities.
There is, unfortunately, a frustrating lack of a clear explanation on the website of what GIVE.sg really does – a “What We Do” would be really useful. Perhaps it’s still early days – GIVE.sg is slated to officially launch on 1 November this year.
Look beyond that (and the annoying use of repeated pop-ups), however, you’ll find a sense of noble purpose. The kind that aims to change the world for the better.
The team at GIVE.sg comprises a group of young adults in their early 20s from diverse backgrounds. They come from all over Asia – lead designer Kota Matsuda hails from Japan, you have Singaporeans Gary, Donald, Khairul and Zwee of SavantDegrees who created the website, and a business development team comprising Malaysian Yu Ming, Aseem from India, Singaporeans Zhi Heng and Razi, and Jian Guang from China.
If GIVE.sg‘s team seems huge – it is. After all, it’s a community project where team members and other individuals volunteer their time and energy.
GIVE.sg was started with funds from social investors. It is presently incubated within National University of Singapore (NUS) and is being supported by the NUS Business School’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy.
Views on Entrepreneurship
“Looking from the sidelines, starting out on your own can seem like a risky and daunting task,” Aseem said. “But if you believe in what you do, enjoy the journey of trails and tribulations, team up of friends you trust your life with – startups are very fun and an extremely rewarding experience.”
“We at GIVE.sg love working into the wee hours of every night because we know that every bit more we give, the more difference we can make at helping the people who need it most in this world.”
If you go away with only one message – GIVE.sg wants you to go away with the thought that philanthropy is not only for the rich or for when we are old, but should be part of our daily lives and a lifestyle choice we enjoy.