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Q&A: SecurePay’s GIVE charity program

Earlier this year, SecurePay launched its GIVE program, which is aimed at fostering a culture of volunteering and gratitude. Krishna Gollamudi, Business Relationship Manager – Banking at SecurePay, explains what the program is aiming to achieve.

SecurePay has worked with charities and not-for-profit organisations for years by providing them with secure payment gateways for online donations. This year, the company took the next step by launching its own GIVE program, which is aimed at fostering a culture of gratitude and greater awareness of charities among employees. Through the GIVE program, speakers are invited to events during work hours, and the company also supports staff in a range of fundraising activities.

We catch up with Krishna Gollamudi, Business Relationship Manager – Banking at SecurePay and a GIVE project leader, who explains more.

How did the idea for GIVE come about?

“We were having an in-house personal development workshop when the presenter shared how the expression of gratitude can raise our happiness quotient. This started a conversation about how we
could develop our own gratitude by giving back to society. The GIVE program was launched in April this year with the goal of creating an attitude of giving among SecurePay’s 60-odd employees.”

What does GIVE achieve for SecurePay?

“We are a tech company; the average age of employees is around 30 to 35 years, and given the natural career focus at this age bracket there is a tendency to become very caught up in our own worlds. As we got talking, we realised that many of us were already involved in charity work and that we found it to be rewarding.

“GIVE provides a formal structure for the charitable interests of staff and the business as a whole. We’ve held a few fun runs and fundraising morning teas. But the main focus is to share the stories of charities and their work, and to invite inspirational speakers, who devote their time and lives to charity, to explain what drives them; these events take place during work hours.”

Which charities are you working with?

“As a business of Australia Post, we are fortunate to have a number of charities on our books. We have a natural alignment with those organisations and, of course, we are happy to support them through, for example, the Cancer Council events. But so many small-scale charities are crying out for support – for funding, for volunteers or both. We see it as more of a challenge to highlight areas where we can really make a difference, such as in child welfare or medical research.”

Which speakers have you invited to the GIVE program?

“We’ve had just one to date, but we have many more planned. Our first speaker was Pandit Abhay Awasthi, founder of the Hindu Foundation, a charity run by senior citizen volunteers. Their main focus is trauma counselling, bereavement counselling, marriage counselling, hospital charity services, care homes’ prayers and services, and last rites in hospitals, carried out within the Hindu community. Over the past four years, the foundation has helped more than 4,000 families.

“We honoured Pandit Awasthi with a Champion of Social Change award, which recognises individuals who are driven to make a difference, even if they have received very little support. These are the types of charities and individuals that we want to highlight.”

What has been the reaction to GIVE?

“Both staff and management have embraced the program. Most of the time, our thoughts are tuned into technology and what we do in the business. GIVE is about human experience: a connection with society and an aspect of love and giving.

“The GIVE program has also helped to break down barriers and allowed people to open up about themselves regarding what they enjoy doing and what they would like to contribute.”

Is SecurePay a happier workplace as a result of GIVE?

“(Laughs.) It’s early days, but it definitely has made a difference. It’s not only about business any more, but about individuals as well. We never knew that so many staff were engaged in charity work. Now they have a framework to engage with charities during work hours, and, from that, more discussions have started to flow. Greater engagement among employees about the charities with which they are working has strengthened the bond between individuals and teams. It’s been a big positive; colleagues feel closer and have more mutual respect.

“The GIVE program also shows there’s more to SecurePay than just doing business and supporting our customers; it shows our culture is one of embracing a collective cause in which everyone is involved in giving back to society.”

What does the Hindu Foundation do?

At 1am on an icy August morning, an urgent phone call wakes Pandit Abhay Awasthi. A young couple is at the hospital, mourning their baby daughter – born early, too tiny to survive.

Rushing to their side to offer comfort, support and prayers is all in a day’s volunteering work for the 74-year-old retired journalist, who devotes up to 55 hours a week and is on call 24/7 in his role as a Hindu pandit (minister).

A chaplain since 1978, Pandit Awasthi co-founded the Hindu Foundation, a charitable welfare organisation, in July 1996. When anyone in the Hindu community is in crisis, one of the foundation’s volunteers answers the call, sometimes with emergency relief such as food parcels. “There is a great need and it’s growing,” he says.

The foundation’s annual expenditure is $40,000, without any travel allowance for the volunteers. SecurePay’s donation of $500 was gratefully received.

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