Fearless Fridays: From Consumer Goods to Philanthropism

how to become a philanthropist with Thomas Gosschalk

This month’s interview is with Tom, a former colleague from Procter & Gamble. Tom’s new venture is an organisation that offers different volunteering programs to match you with an NGO without charging any agency fees. Currently based in South Africa, Tom hopes to extend the programs internationally in the future.

Having been interested in volunteering myself over the years, I can 100% relate to the frustrations Tom experienced when interacting with organisations that have programs in developing countries. You think, perhaps arrogantly, that they should be grateful for your support, and you expect to be welcomed with open arms. Instead, you come up against bureaucracy and high fees.

Interestingly, although Tom has no regrets about leaving his job, he now feels ready to go back to the corporate world, while maintaining his philanthropic efforts as a non-profit activity on the side. Read Tom’s story here:

 

How to become a philanthropist

thomas-gosschalk

Thomas Gosschalk is the proud grandson of Ruth and Bernard Gosschalk, both of whom resisted apartheid and were banned from South Africa. In December 2013, Tom left Procter & Gamble after seven and a half years in marketing. Five years earlier, he had been granted a sabbatical to volunteer for three months in South Africa, but a number of frustrations had almost compelled him not to volunteer at all. Exaggerated fees and projects that were in fact taking employment away from local people, without any consideration of his skills, were among his largest frustrations. The tipping point came when he asked an organisation for the name of the charity they were helping, having already booked his own flights and accommodation. They answered,  “Sure… for £1000.″ Tom’s new project, Power-of-You, is his attempt to break down barriers and encourage individuals to volunteer abroad whilst maximising impact.

Bernard Gosschalk
Tom’s granddad Bernard, pictured here with Nelson Mandela.

1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?

March 2009. The moment I returned from my sabbatical and sat behind my desk, I knew that it just didn’t feel right. That said, parting from the comforts one gets accustomed to when working for a fantastic company in Geneva is easier said than done. It took me another five years and a few beers to make the decision without really meaning to. The following three questions essentially led me to taking the leap:

  1. In 5-10 years time, where do I see myself?
  2. What’s the worst that can happen?
  3. If not now… when?

2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?

Exit forms! It was harder to leave the company than it was to join! Besides that… overcoming the fear of failure. Key to my decision was the knowledge that I would have the backing of friends, family and, importantly, the support structure in Switzerland to make the leap and know that failure wouldn’t be so painful after all.

3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?

The decision came out of the blue for everyone – including myself – but whilst there was quite some shock, my partner, friends and family were all incredibly supportive. Furthermore, my partner in crime in South Africa – Nozuko Masiba – who has passionately shared, fuelled and supported the vision of Power-of-You within her own charity, The Volunteer Centre*, has meant that my dream has been realised. We now have over a year’s supply of volunteers so above all I must give credit to our biggest supporters: the volunteers.

 *The Volunteer Centre is a registered South African charity that promotes volunteering within South Africa and facilitates the process by placing volunteers in roughly 200 charities based on the volunteers’ skills, passions and location.

4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?

hout bay south africa
New Year’s Carnival at Hout Bay, near Cape Town

Time, and working on my passion: volunteering. Working 9-5 (which, let’s face it, no one is), there was always, always, always, something pressing on my mind. Be it work, drink, sports, or planning for the weekend, there was always something. This new-found freedom has been so refreshing. Time to think about what matters. Time to not think – which conversely tends to be my most productive time. It’s something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, the opportunity to focus on and grow something that I am truly passionate about is most rewarding; as is the hope that I will have a lasting impact on society, beyond growing shareholder value.

5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?

See it as a chance to test yourself and grow… then ask yourself the 3 questions (see answer to question 1). It is only now that I realise that I’m not designed for spending the rest of my life as a work-from-home ‘entrepreneur’. Now that Power-of-You is successfully up and running, I’m looking forward to finding a company that enables me to combine my passions and skills. It appears I’m not the only one who appreciates this adventure… my first few job interviews have all focused on my four months of Power-of-You as opposed to my seven and a half years of P&G!

 

 

 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You might also be interested in these articles

“Everything you’ve ever
wanted is one step outside
your comfort zone.”

Book a free consultation

If you’re feeling a bit stuck and not sure how to move forward, let’s get on the phone to explore how we can work together to help you achieve your goals, and which option is the best fit for you.

Find a way to quit your job and start your own business

Download this free roadmap to start planning your transition out of the ‘9 to 5’ and into working for yourself.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Find a way to quit your job and start your own business

Download this free roadmap to start planning your transition out of the ‘9 to 5’ and into working for yourself.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Outside of the 9 to 5

Anna continues the journey in her new book, where she details what’s needed to sustain your initial escape from the 9 to 5 in a guide to designing and building a profitable business that gives you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy sets out how One Step Outside uses and protects any information that you give One Step Outside when you use this website (https://onestepoutside.com/).

One Step Outside is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

One Step Outside may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes.

What information we collect and why

We only ever collect the information that we need in order to serve you.

Generally, this just means collecting your first name and email address that you enter, for example, when you request a resource, register for a webinar, or submit a message via a contact form.

If you are a paying customer, we also collect your billing information including your last name and your postal address.

Comments

When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymised string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Contact forms

We use Gravity Forms to allow you to contact us via the website. We will use the information you submit for the sole purpose of that specific form and will explicitly ask you to provide your consent to allow us to do so.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Advertising and Analytics

Google

We use Google Analytics to track and optimise performance on this site as well as embedding video content from YouTube, and this means that your web browser automatically sends certain information to Google. This includes the URL of the page that you’re visiting and your IP address. Google may also set cookies on your browser or read cookies that are already there. Apps that use Google advertising services also share information with Google, such as the name of the app and a unique identifier for advertising.

Google uses the information shared by sites and apps to deliver our services, maintain and improve them, develop new services, measure the effectiveness of advertising, protect against fraud and abuse and personalise content and ads that you see on Google and on our partners’ sites and apps. See their Privacy Policy to learn more about how they process data for each of these purposes, and their Advertising page for more about Google ads, how your information is used in the context of advertising and how long Google stores this information.

Facebook

We use the conversion tracking and custom audiences via the Facebook pixel on our website. This allows user behaviour to be tracked after they have been redirected to our website by clicking on a Facebook ad and enables us to measure the effectiveness of our Facebook ads. The data collected in this way is anonymous to us, i.e. we do not see the personal data of individual users. However, this data is stored and processed by Facebook, who may link this information to your Facebook account and also use it for its own promotional purposes, in accordance with Facebook’s Data Usage Policy https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/.

You can allow Facebook and its partners to place ads on and off Facebook. A cookie may also be stored on your computer for these purposes. You can revoke your permission directly on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/?entry_product=ad_settings_screen. For more guidance on opting out you can also consult http://www.aboutads.info/choices.

Who we share your data with

We use a number of third parties to provide us with services which are necessary to run our business or to assist us with running our business and who process your information for us on our behalf. These include a hosting and email provider (Siteground), mailing list provider (GetResponse), and a payment provider (Stripe).

Your information will be shared with these service providers only where necessary to enable us to run our business.

How long we maintain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on our website, we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

The main reason for collecting this information is to be able to send you resources, updates and, sometimes, information and products and services, as well as for internal record keeping.

The rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

How we protect your data

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure.

Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password that lets you access certain parts of our site, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential and we ask you not to share a password with anyone.

Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

Links to other websites

Our website contains links to other websites. This privacy policy only applies to this website so once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Changes to our privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review. Initially created on 18th November 2016, it was last updated on 23rd May 2018 to be compliant with GDPR.

Contact information

If you have any questions or concerns related to your privacy, you can get in touch here >>