Finding a purpose Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010
Social Entrepreneurship

At the age of 12, Pamela Hawley got her first glimpse of extreme poverty. The experience of seeing begging children while on a vacation in Mexico established her lifelong commitment to service through social entrepreneurship.

In 2002, after her first company VolunteerMarch took off, Hawley founded UniversalGivingTM, an Internet platform that provides giving and volunteering opportunities in more than 70 countries. The nonprofit organization allows visitors to pick an issue, such as education or the environment, and a region and matches them with volunteer and giving opportunities. Hawley’s UniversalGivingTM Corporate also manages companies’ strategy, operations and vetting of nongovernmental organizations to provide third-party security for international giving and volunteering.

UniversalGiving’s innovation lies in the adjustments it has made over the years to ensure security and quality experiences. The vetting process has increased from seven stages to more than 15. Basically, it’s a commitment to users that they can trust they’re giving to a good cause.

UniversalGiving offers corporate clients incremental levels of NGO vetting, beginning with financial reviews, a 501(c)≥ assessment and a review of terrorism activity, up to customized due-diligence of in-country standards.

Hawley, the company’s CEO, hopes to expand UniversalGiving’s partnerships through solutions-based journalism. The objective is to provide readers a link below the story that leads to related giving opportunities. It’s a model UniversalGiving hopes to expand beyond its partnerships with Christian Science Monitor and LinkTV.

With that, UniversalGiving is poised to expand its reach. The organization hopes to connect users to more than 100 countries by the second quarter of 2010 and is looking to increase the number of areas it covers. More than 10,000 volunteers have been matched since UniversalGiving’s founding.

How to reach: UniversalGivingTM, (415) 296-9193 or