The countdown to Mandela Day has begun. If you're still not sure about how to make your 67 minutes count, forgood has curated some options for you. Forgood is an online platform that connects people with causes, allowing you to respond to a real-time need in your area.
We interviewed Andy Hadfield, CEO of forgood, to find out more about their Mandela Day campaign, and how South Africans can use the site before and beyond 18 July.
Andy Hadfield, CEO of forgood
What are some of the interesting Mandela Day initiatives people and corporates can get involved in via forgood?
The beauty of forgood is that our causes (non-profits) capture their needs in real-time – so there are always plenty of interesting opportunities. Right now, we have over 200 requests for volunteers and almost 800 for goods. Out of those, around 20 have been curated around Mandela Day – activities tailored towards people and businesses hoping to get involved this July. Those short on time can donate grocery packs for making soup, or school equipment for schools in need. One cause is looking for help to create a braai and recreational area at the run-down Steenberg Boy Scouts Hall and with Epic Foundation, you can put together comfort packs for victims of rape, abuse and human trafficking. There really is something for everyone – and if you have a skill or wish to donate something specific, you can create a unique offer, to be distributed to all relevant causes in your area.
How is forgood making its 67 minutes count?
Our aim is to create a more efficient and meaningful Mandela Day. To date, people have organised their Mandela Day actions rather haphazardly; causes struggle to predict volunteer numbers and find meaningful activities to engage them with. Forgood allows for greater organisation, efficiency and scale – plus, all of our needs are current. The site is like a social market place where skills, goods, services and information can easily be offered and asked for. Of course, we are all about 67 minutes - 365 days of the year, but we are happy to help people find something to do just for this day. Click here
to browse our Mandela Day campaign and all the Mandela Day curated needs.
Since inception 18 months ago, how has forgood grown?
Forgood has been around a bit longer than that. It actually started as a way to activate communities off the back of movies that our parent company Heartlines created. Movies such as Hopeville
and Nothing for Mahala
were based on inspiring active citizenship and forgood started as the platform for carrying that through. We gave the site a complete overhaul and introduced a product for managing employee volunteering and engagement programmes in January 2015. Since then, we have tracked over 3,000 connections between people and causes. We capture around 60 opportunities and place more than 80 volunteers per week. That might just make us the biggest volunteer matching platform in the country! We also have eight corporate clients who are launching innovative employee volunteering programmes using the platform.
What is the significance of Mandela Day in 2016?
Mandela Day fights apathy by providing an easy channel for everyday South Africans to get a taste of civil society. It is a campaign around which South Africans rally - and the values it promotes are deeply relevant and meaningful to South African society. It inspires and encourages people to get out there and be active in their communities, to see life from a different perspective. It plays a critical role in addressing shortages of cohesion and empathy in this country. Mandela Day is a teaser, a small taste of what it’s like to be truly involved in civil society – the cornerstone of our democracy.
What is the greatest challenge for SA at present, and how can we harness the power of Mandela Day to address this challenge?
Apathy – towards both democracy and civil society. Nelson Mandela Day, while fleeting, is an opportunity to go out and experience other South African lives. It fosters understanding and plants the roots of civil action – often amongst people who would not necessarily carry out that behaviour ordinarily. Becoming socially active and empathetic is the perfect counter to apathy, and if we can carry that spirit of Mandela forward beyond his lifetime, we are in better stead.
Beyond Mandela Day, how can people, non-profits, and corporates make use of forgood?
The greatest thing about our platform is that we really do allow the spirit of Mandela Day to be carried forward beyond the date – making every day a Mandela Day. Our site is constantly refreshed with needs, offers and opportunities. People can sign up at any time to browse these; after a spring clean, for office team building, or in response to an event around which communities rally. Non-profits stand to gain from registration on our site because we facilitate direct links to human capital and expose them to powerful corporate CSI programmes. We run regular campaigns and conduct frequent surveys in order to build up a knowledge body of what NPOs really need and want. Corporates who run their employee volunteering programmes with us get a customised platform that efficiently manages and monitors employee actions, allowing them to qualify for tax breaks and other CSI benefits. Well-run and diverse volunteering opportunities also contribute towards employee morale and engagement. We’re the ecosystem that can take South Africa’s civil society to the next level.
For more info, go to www.forgood.co.za