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Cape Town - A new way to help people in need could change the face of philanthropy in South Africa.

Faced with overwhelming need and no assurance that their money will be well-used, many community-minded South Africans choose to keep their rands to themselves.

But a new digital donation “boutique” could change that.

Giva is a website and mobisite which links people who want to give, with people who are in need.

Instead of handing coins out at traffic lights, or making a lump sum donation to a charity with mysterious finances, Giva users can connect directly with an individual who needs school shoes, or a new shirt to wear to a first job interview.

Developed by The Safety Lab in conjunction with Community Chest, it creates a “risk-free giving environment,” said Community Chest chief Lorenzo Davids.

For Gil Lang, who helped develop the platform at The Safety Lab, it’s the perfect solution for people who want to know where their money is going.

“It’s for people who want to give, but are looking for that human connection. Givers receive updates on how their gift has impacted on the life of the person they chose to help.”

Here’s how it works: a non-profit organisation that has been found trustworthy by the Community Chest will posts the “needs” of its clients on Giva.

Donors can go to to register and buy Giva Bucks using their credit card.

They browse the Need Feed, and choose a need that resonates with them. It’s not necessary to pay the full amount of the “need” – many givers can chip in for each need. Once they’ve donated at the click of a button, they can share the cause on Facebook or Twitter, and invite friends to contribute too.

When the full amount of the need has been reached, the Community Chest pays it out to a volunteer at the NPO, who then takes the person in need shopping for that jersey or pays the needed school fees.

The Giva donors then receives a notification with feedback on how their gift has been used by the recipient. The recipients have no direct access to the donor. Tax certificates for Giva donations can also be issued at the click of a button.

Jerry Louw, manager of the Haven Night Shelter Green Point, said shelter residents had already benefitted from Giva. One young woman needed R790 for a waitressing training course – and Giva users came up with the cash.

The woman excelled in the course, landed a job and is preparing to move out of the shelter.


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Cape Argus