Everyone working at the Humanstate Group gets a pretty special employee perk: 12 days of extra leave each year to volunteer for charity! Taking full advantage of this chance to give back to their local community, the finance team at PayProp’s South Africa office – Bianca, Reenen, Willem, Ilze, Wilene, Lizl and Ewald – recently put down their calculators and visited Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch to spend an afternoon volunteering with rescue dogs. We caught up with Bianca Versfeld, Senior Financial Controller at PayProp (and a big fan of dogs), to find out more about how the day went.
Why did you decide to volunteer at the Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch?
The AWS does some really great work for around 140 dogs (and quite a few cats that seem to live like kings in their cattery). They are also very accommodating for bigger groups of volunteers, offering various tasks such as walking the dogs in the vineyards, socialising time with the pups and cleaning kennels.
The shelter is just a five-minute drive away from the Stellenbosch office, so we decided it would be good for the team to go somewhere local. The “cuteness factor” of playing with puppies and walking dogs for a few hours was definitely a big plus for all of us too.
What did you do for the charity?
We took about seven pooches for a nice 40-minute walk in the vineyards – I think Willem must have thought we all needed some fresh air and exercise when he organised that. Then we toured their facilities and socialised with puppies as young as 3 months old – and gave some love to the older dogs as well.
The socialising aspect was a lot of fun for us, and also very important to the charity. These dogs are housed in kennels all day, but they need to find their forever homes. The more they interact with people now, the better their chances of integrating with their new families.
On top of volunteering, we raised R6,826 for the charity which I believe feeds 22 dogs for a month. This is largely thanks to our friends, family and colleagues making donations through our fundraising project on GivenGain.
How was your experience volunteering?
It was fantastic! It was so rewarding to spend time with the puppies and adult dogs at AWS (puppy love is a real thing!), but also to spend some time in person with our fellow finance colleagues. We can very easily get caught up in sitting behind a computer and only interacting on Zoom and forget how good it is to get out there and give back to our community.
Are you planning another charity project?
The team had such a rewarding experience that yes, we would love to plan another day and support another charity that needs assistance. It can be tough to organise these events, as we all feel passionately about what we do and strive to do our best for Humanstate and PayProp every day – but planning is key. If you plan it and book it, it will happen.
We’re in the middle of our busiest season, from February to April, at the moment – but once that’s done, we will be out there helping another charity near and dear to a finance colleague’s heart.
Thanks Bianca, and thanks to the whole finance team for doing such great work! If you’d like to learn more about the Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch, check out their page on GivenGain. Alternatively, if you’re feeling inspired by the finance team’s fundraising success, why not register as a fundraiser and support a personal favourite charity?