We must all live with a purpose. A sustainable future is only possible if we all contribute to the planet and community.
Our mission is to provide a digital platform that allows companies and individuals to easily & effectively contribute to nonprofits, to help them solve the challenges faced by humanity & planet.
In doing so, we aim to change the way that everyone gives. Our goal is to help build a global community through digital means. Joining together to create - and live in – a better world.
A glimpse of what could be possible came in 2016, when Paul participated in Credit Suisse’s Global Citizen Program. Travelling to Bangladesh and Nepal, Paul volunteered to give leadership and management training for the Room to Read non-profit.
The experience was an eye opener for Paul, because he realised that giving is more than just donating money. It became clear that he wanted to continue to use his skills and support non-profits so that they can amplify their impact.
With a long career as a seasoned IT professional, Paul wanted to upgrade his out-of-date development skills and decided to build a digital platform to support non-profits. He had designed and managed enough complex platforms during his career, spanning 25 years at UBS and Credit Suisse, and set out to build a crowdfunding platform in his spare time.
Paul was keen to explore the latest web technologies and bring his skills up-to date. His excitement spilled on to dinner-table conversations with his family. Paul’s millennial children were keen to get involved and participated in “workshops” to bring their world view to the table.
Paul and the 3 children set up a non-profit /social enterprise to build and manage the platform. The fireside programming sessions in the winter of 2016 shed light on what a Career 2.0 would look like for Paul!
Paul presented the prototype to Credit Suisse, who loved the idea and wanted to use the capability to support employee giving in Switzerland. It had to meet Credit Suisse’s extensive requirements around security, scalability, compliance, anti-money laundering and corporate branding, and much more.
Credit Suisse provided the seed funding to build an independent solution that not only met their needs but also could be used by other companies to engage their employees and amplify the overall impact.
The prototype was scrapped and a new professional cloud-based platform was build from scratch. Numerous volunteers within Credit Suisse wanted to also get involved and supported the initiative with workshops, whiteboard sessions, requirements gathering, UX design, and testing.
After a lengthy process of internal approvals, due-diligence and extensive testing, the platform was launched in November 2018, and to date we have raised over 6 million in funds for non-profits globally.
It was beyond a dream-come-true, and without Credit Suisse’s support for an entrepreneurial initiative it would have still been a hobby project and not the serious platform Copalana is today.
Companies with mature CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs motivate and engage their skilled employees with skill-based volunteering. Credit Suisse wanted to scale their existing program by digitizing the overall process of on-boarding the strategic non-profit partners, publishing volunteering assignments and allowing employees to register their skills profile.
Their requirements lead to the development of a strategic capability which was deployed globally within Credit Suisse. Today multiple clients offer skills-based volunteering to their employees.
The Migros Pioneer Fund scouts and funds social enterprises who can introduce systemic change and make a positive impact for our society. Copalana was selected as a pioneer project and we received a grant to scale our footprint.
We were able to grow our team to better support non-profits, create editorial content, as well as engage Swiss corporates and support their corporate volunteering initiatives.
Engaging society is part of the DNA at the Migros Group, and Migros Bank wanted to introduce volunteering within their organization. We helped them develop a volunteer-week where over 20 Swiss non-profits offering corporate volunteering team events.
As part of our collaboration we learned that SMEs want to support non-profits, but just don’t have the resources, head counts, budget to organize such activities. This work is often only done as a special project or side job.
As a result of supporting the bank with the overall management of the event, we developed a digital marketplace for hands-on volunteering events in Switzerland. This is an excellent starting point for corporates who are looking to begin engaging employees and supporting non-profits.
From a platform perspective, we’re proud of what we’ve created in the face of numerous challenges and changing requirements. Our limitless agility is constantly helping us, allowing us to significantly expand our capabilities and over deliver to a number of trusted, well-known partners. Even with a small budget, small team, and no central or VC funding, we’ve become a platform that many important non-profits and corporations can always rely on.
As a social enterprise striving for social justice and planet-wide change, people are at the forefront of what we do. We believe in a partnership between like-minded people, where we all join together to problem-solve and overcome obstacles with the innovation and urgency needed by a planet in crisis.
Many years on from our initial launch, Copalana hasn't lost its intense drive towards a sustainable future, to overcome new challenges, and to find new solutions in an effort to connect the world.
What keeps this drive going is the simple fact that we're making an impact. Changing the world is a never-ending journey, but we're proud of our achievements in the social change space. They're always inspiring us to aim higher, reach further, and forever be bold. And best of all: we know that it's just the beginning.