The campaign allowing anyone to become a vaccine philanthropist

Philanthropy has been – and is continuing to be – an integral part of the Covid recovery. Ultra wealthy individuals have single handedly contributed billions in response to the pandemic. We have also seen increases in UK millionaire giving over the last 12 months.

However, until now the infrastructure needed to engage the vast numbers of people at average wealth levels has not existed.  A new initiative created by the WHO Foundation is seeking to address this through a campaign encouraging everyone to buy vaccines for those in lower-income countries, helping to get the world immunised. We learn how the Go Give One campaign is making vaccine philanthropy accessible.

– by Sarah Lewis and Alex Reid.

The world held its breath last week to see what the G7 would do to help end the pandemic. Unfortunately, G7 leaders didn’t do enough. Amidst the sound bites and lofty talk of future commitments, the actions required now to get vaccines to people all over the world fell short – the funding was too small, dose sharing too slow. 

Speaking earlier in the year at the Rome Global Health Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had raised the question around leadership to ending the pandemic and said, “if not us, then who?”

Well, we believe the answer is “everyone, everywhere”. When it comes to Covid-19, we’re all on the same team. Go Give One was created by the WHO Foundation so that people-powered vaccines could pave the way for an end to this pandemic. With a simple act of donating £4, individuals can cover the cost of a Covid-19 vaccine, helping the world and themselves be free from the virus. The goal is for 50 million people to join the campaign this year. 

In less than two months since launch, Go Give One has raised over $7M USD, helping to buy over 1.4 million new vaccines. The total donations include $1.5M from individual donors with 27% from British givers. Donors were able to leverage company matches, including the challenge set by a coalition of global businesses including Salesforce, Workday, PagerDuty and Russell Reynolds, as well as a fundraising drive by Facebook. The money raised goes to Gavi COVAX AMC – the international finance facility which buys vaccines for the world, prioritising those who need them the most in countries who can’t afford them.


Flexible giving options and Match Funding schemes are two features GoGiveOne is using.

In addition to support from global companies, Go Give One partners with local charities and businesses to make the campaign locally driven and locally accountable. This was the impetus behind the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) coming on board as the UK arm of the campaign, helping to ensure funds raised can leverage Gift Aid in the UK. As a locally trusted organization, CAF brings credibility to the campaign and a stamp of approval for donors, large and small. We hope to follow this example across many countries. 

The connection between local and global is what sets this campaign apart. Both of us spent many years working at global organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Standard Chartered and Xynteo, where we have seen first-hand the power of global campaigns: the coming together of countries and organisations around the Sustainable Development Goals is a great example of what can be done when we focus on our common humanity.

The sense of global solidarity is often a driver of community action by people of faith, something that inspired us both in our recent work with the Vatican Covid-19 Commission. And many people are increasingly drawn to communities outside their national borders that provide a politically neutral common ground, for example in global gamer communities who have raised millions of pounds on platforms like Twitch

We’ve also seen the pitfalls of global initiatives that are disconnected from local realities. With experience in our own communities we know that without an understanding of local contexts, campaigns more often than not fail. Because, as Covid has shown us in stark reality over the past year and a half, our experiences are often hyper local, and deeply personal. Go Give One aims to connect with people on their own terms and give them the chance to act in simple ways to free themselves, their colleagues, and their communities, from Covid-19. It is a local act with a global solution. We believe this is what this moment calls for and we hope that the leaders of the G-7 and beyond will take note.

We are attempting to create the foundations for a new approach to philanthropy, an approach which can also help us to tackle other global challenges like climate change and gender equality. An approach that invites everyone – no matter where they live and work in the world – to play their part in the solution. After all, we’re all on the same team. We invite you to Go Give One and join us on our journey.

Go Give One is currently looking for funders, partners and big thinkers who share their core values to help them respond to the immediate challenge of Covid-19. Get in touch with Alex and Sarah here to learn more > alex@reidstrat.com // sarah@reidstrat.com