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Vikas Vij headshot

PayPal Uses the Power of Giving to Create Social Impact

By Vikas Vij

As the social consciousness of the average consumer continues to increase, large companies can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and pretend it's business as usual. With a focus on social innovation, these global companies can become the triggers for social change, while still achieving business excellence and creating great shareholder value.

PayPal, which includes various payments platforms such as PayPal Credit, Braintree, Venmo and Xoom, has released its 2017 Global Impact Report, which highlights the company’s approach to social innovation. PayPal's efforts in this area are organized around three areas of focus: improving the financial health of individuals and businesses, powering charitable giving and strengthening communities.

Powering Giving

PayPal says it is using cutting-edge technology and scale to help nonprofits raise mission-critical funds. The company claims it is equipping nonprofits with digital solutions to help them engage with the communities – online, offline and via mobile – to boost funding.

In 2017, over 49 million people across 200 markets contributed $8.5 billion to 640,000 charities via PayPal. In addition to supporting the fundraising efforts of nonprofits, the company provides its financial support, technical capabilities and expertise to the PayPal Giving Fund, a public charity that shares the company’s vision to make giving a part of daily life.

In 2017, more than one million donors contributed $105 million to the PayPal Giving Fund, which benefitted over 46,000 organizations. The contribution represents a jump of 150 percent over the previous year.

$1 Billion to Charities during 2017 Holiday Season

In 2017, PayPal partnered with 92nd Street Y– the founders of the global day of giving – to encourage people to give. The campaign involved people from 11 nations, and resulted in donations of $64 million through PayPal on Giving Tuesday.

Overall, during the holiday season in 2017, nearly nine million people across 181 countries contributed $1.1 billion to charities via PayPal.

Funding for Disaster Relief

In 2017, hurricanes and wildfires in the U.S. and earthquakes in Mexico disrupted the lives of thousands of people.

PayPal’s own community made monetary donations to global aid agencies, while the company also leveraged its platform to reach out to donors. PayPal says it helped raise $55 million for organizations engaged in relief work for the communities affected by these natural disasters.

Strengthening Communities through Giving

In this latest report, PayPal says it also makes philanthropic grants, organizes employee volunteer activities, facilitates fundraisers and supports other activities to strengthen local communities.

The company encourages employee giving by matching charitable contributions up to $2,500 annually. And for every hour of employee volunteer service, PayPal donates $10 to a nonprofit of the employee’s choosing, up to $500.

In 2017, PayPal lowered its giving thresholds to make it easier for employees to receive matching gifts. During the year, the company gave about $1.7 million in matching gifts to nonprofits, while its employees contributed more than 20,000 hours of volunteering.

Through its grant-making efforts, PayPal gave more than $2 million to nonprofits. In total, PayPal says it gave over $11 million to organizations in 2017, including donations, matching gifts, grants and in-kind contributions.

Financial Exclusion Immersion Workshops

In 2017, PayPal’s employees in five countries took part in the Financial Exclusion Immersion Workshops. The goal of these workshops was to help employees empathize with the challenges that the financially underserved people face every day.

According to the company, employees receive a first-hand experience through these workshops to connect with the company’s larger mission in a personal way, and come up with new ways to improve the financial health of the communities it serves.

In his letter to the stakeholders, Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal Holdings, said: “Our business strategy and approach to delivering social impact are one and the same – together, they form a shared value model designed to deliver benefits for PayPal and our customers, investors, stakeholders and society at large.”

Image credit: PayPal

Vikas Vij headshot

Vikas is an MBA with 25 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience. He is the author of “The Power of Money” (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas runs a digital content development company, and personally loves to write on global sustainability issues.

Read more stories by Vikas Vij