'The Challenge is the Opportunity': 5 Questions with Michael Budwig

Deed’s new Vice President of Giving and Nonprofit Innovation shares his views on how strong nonprofit vetting and disbursement help companies make a bigger social impact




Deed is proud to introduce our new Vice President of Giving and Nonprofit Innovation, Michael Budwig, who brings extensive experience from his decade-long journey in the social sector and leadership roles at PayPal. With a deep background in nonprofit management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and innovative giving strategies, he is poised to enhance Deed’s mission of connecting corporations with impactful social initiatives. 


In this interview, Budwig shares his perspectives on how thorough nonprofit vetting and effective disbursement strategies can significantly boost a company's social impact.


Five Questions with Michael Budwig, VP of Giving and Nonprofit Innovation at Deed




1. What’s your favorite cause or nonprofit?


Michael Budwig (MB): One nonprofit I deeply admire is World Central Kitchen. They provide meals to anyone in need, regardless of their circumstances. I appreciate their mission and effectiveness. 


2. What brought you to Deed? 


MB: I spent about 10 years traveling around Asia, volunteering, and eventually leading a nonprofit in India for about 5-6 years. Working in the social sector has always aligned with my values. At one point, I had a crafts business working with fair trade women's groups in India. However, when I started a family, I had to transition back to the "real world," which led me to PayPal.


Interestingly, even though my role at PayPal wasn't initially related to giving or nonprofits, within six months, I was organizing volunteer events. Within a year, I became the head of employee giving and volunteerism at eBay, PayPal’s parent company at the time. One notable project was organizing 15 volunteer events in 15 days for eBay's 15th anniversary, which was very successful.


Later, PayPal Giving Fund, initially started as a project for eBay and PayPal, grew significantly. When I joined, we were handling about $16 million a year; in 2024, it's closer to $1 billion. This growth involved extensive compliance and ensuring the proper vetting of charities and nonprofits.


Four years ago, Deed integrated with PayPal Giving Fund, and I worked closely with the team through that integration and as they've grown. Deed is now well-positioned with some big-name clients, and my background fits perfectly with their needs.


3. Thinking about how values bring people together in the workplace, what do you look for in a company's culture? How can we better engage employees in social impact? 


MB: I value collaboration, innovation, and a flat organizational structure. I appreciate the spirit of innovation and the can-do attitude at Deed. Being in a smaller company allows for a more collaborative and less hierarchical environment, which I find very appealing.


From an employee perspective, a critical factor for success is having support from the top. For example, at PayPal and eBay, the volunteer events I organized only succeeded because the CEO endorsed them. If leadership supports and values these initiatives, employees are more likely to participate and engage.


4. On to one of your areas of expertise, how does donation disbursement fit into the broader picture of social impact? Do you consider standards of equivalency when multinational clients want to support nonprofits in different countries?


MB: Disbursement is complex, especially when dealing with various global regulatory environments. Ensuring compliance and trust is crucial. Any breach of trust can have significant repercussions. For instance, some folks may feel a natural skepticism toward nonprofits, requiring them to prove their trustworthiness. Therefore, robust compliance and creative disbursement methods are essential.

Standards of equivalency are crucial, especially for foundations that require 501(c)(3) equivalence. However, equivalency determination can be costly and complex. Instead, we ensure that charities are legally registered and compliant within their local jurisdictions and verify that the person creating the account is authorized by the organization. This approach helps reduce fraud and ensures trust in the sector.


5. Last question. What challenges and opportunities does technology present for helping corporations support nonprofits?


MB: One significant shift is the movement of giving from nonprofit websites to social platforms and employee giving platforms like Deed. This growth brings challenges, particularly around compliance, fraud prevention, and ensuring donations reach the right recipients. The regulatory environment is becoming stricter, requiring sophisticated compliance measures.


However, the challenge is the opportunity. Technology, especially AI and machine learning, can enhance compliance and streamline interactions, making giving more efficient and effective.


What’s next for Deed’s nonprofit service


In the current landscape, the synergy between technology, compliance, and social responsibility is more crucial than ever. As Michael Budwig understands, the importance of strong leadership and a culture of giving drives employee engagement and successful CSR initiatives. He highlights how Deed’s advanced vetting processes and innovative use of technology, such as AI and machine learning, ensure that donations are managed and disbursed effectively, fostering trust and maximizing impact.


As Deed continues to expand, we remain dedicated to supporting corporate partners in making meaningful social contributions. We work with experts to ensure that our partners feel ready to navigate the complexities of global nonprofit engagement, so that every donation reaches the right hands and creates a lasting difference.


Deed is an enterprise social impact platform that makes it fun and easy for millions of employees to share their time, money, and talent with causes they care about. We started as a viral volunteering app, and today our platform gives the world’s most inspiring brands—from Airbnb to lululemon—one exceptionally-designed home for all of their purpose-driven activities.


Corporate grantmaking, employee donations/matching, diversity & inclusion, and employee resource groups (ERGs) are only the beginning. Because over the past three to five years, everyone’s expectations for Fortune 500 corporate social responsibility have radically changed. But with our trusted integration partners like Workday and PayPal, hand-in-hand customer service, and a collaborative product team, Deed’s platform moves at the speed of work. 


Ready to turn social impact challenges into opportunities? Reach out now.



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