Foto: The Social Handshake
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About The Social Handshake

  • Founders: Sandra van Beest
  • Founded in: 2019
  • Employees: 9
  • Money raised: 720.000 EUR
  • Ultimate goal: Become a regular secondary benefit in the Netherlands and abroad and a new standard for donating more effectively.

Christmas is the time of conviviality and enjoying time together. But it is also a time of introspection and reflection on the well-being of the world. Not everyone has it so good. Fortunately there are plenty of people who like to do something for the less fortunate. This week before Christmas, Innovation Origins is putting the spotlight on a number of start-ups whose core business is the welfare of their fellow human beings. Read also the other stories.

What does The Social Handshake do exactly?

The Social Handshake is all about helping to make it easier for people to do good. We do that through our LoonGift service. With LoonGift, employees can support charities straight from their salary, with the added advantage of a tax break. That way, it costs less to give more.”

How did this idea come about?

“I come from the charity sector myself. When I switched to the business world, I noticed that I was steadily contributing less and less to a better world. I was very busy and I just didn’t get around to it anymore. At one point I got a wake-up call. I saw images on television about the war in Syria and wanted to do something. This also made me realize that I was doing almost nothing at all anymore. I started talking about this with people around me in the business world. I noticed that a lot of people would like to contribute more but were going through the same kind of thing as I was. In practice, it is something that just doesn’t happen. So, the idea was born to make it easier to do do good. And what is easier than supporting charities directly from your salary? Moreover, from my experience in the charity sector, I know that giving is one of the most effective things that you can do!”

Why is this so important?

“Because there are a lot of problems that we can only solve by acting together. Deforestation and climate change, for example. But there are also still children living in poverty. Or just think about diseases that there is no cure for. Giving to charities that tackle these problems is often extremely effective.”

Can you name a couple of concrete examples of good causes?

“For example Unicef, JustDiggit or Klabu. We believe it is important that everyone finds a charity that suits him or her. This is why all themes are represented, such as animal welfare, health, and art and culture. Here, we look for transparency, efficiency and effectiveness. We select both large impactful charities and small gems that deserve a stage. We work with experts in the field to help us to make a selection.”

What challenges have you run into?

“In the beginning, companies often wanted to do a kick-off of LoonGift live. This meant that the introduction of LoonGift was postponed more than once, and this in turn caused delays. Fortunately, most companies are now used to online events, and we have a huge amount of experience with online kick-offs.”

What are your plans or hopes for the future?

“We think that LoonGift will become a regular secondary employment condition in the Netherlands, just like in other countries where it is known as payroll giving. It would be great if every employer offered this as an option to their employees. We could make a lot more impact together this way. Giving through LoonGift is one of the most effective ways to give. There are no fundraising costs, you can give and get a tax break, and what’s more, many employers choose to match their donation. That means they double the amount of the donation or add a certain percentage. This way, much more ends up in a good place than it normally would. Because 30 % of donations are often eaten up by fundraising.”

What else would you like to add?

“For employers, LoonGift also helps to make them more attractive to (prospective) employees. Gen Z and Millenials in particular tend to take part in LoonGift. These employees care about more than just a fitness membership or bike plan but also want to make a social and sustainable impact. LoonGift can help with that very nicely.”

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Photo: The Social Handshake