Wai Foong Ng's Matchable puts companies together with innovative skilled volunteering projects. She speaks with us about how she makes matches...

Wai Foong Ng's Matchable puts companies together with innovative skilled volunteering projects.  She speaks with us about how she makes matches...

Are you ready to make a difference in the world while also boosting your company's employee engagement and social impact? Look no further than Wai Foong Ng's Matchable! This innovative platform connects companies with skilled volunteering projects at non-profits and impact startups, creating meaningful opportunities for employees to give back to their communities.

But who is the mastermind behind Matchable? Wai Foong Ng, the founder and CEO, is no stranger to the world of business and social impact. With a background in advising on M&A deals at PwC and founding Suit & Pie and the Suits & Startups community, Foong brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table. Despite starting her career on a different path, studying Law with French Law at Cambridge Uni, Foong has truly found her calling in the world of social entrepreneurship.

Since its inception in 2019, Matchable has garnered numerous accolades, including being named the Best Employee Volunteering platform at the AI Business Awards and winning the MSDUK Social Innovation Challenge. Not to mention, Matchable has been recognized as one of the Top 100 companies to Escape to by Escape the City, solidifying its reputation as a leader in the tech for good space.

What sets Matchable apart from other volunteering platforms is its focus on creating meaningful matches between companies and projects. Foong and her team work tirelessly to ensure that each partnership is mutually beneficial, resulting in impactful outcomes for both the company and the non-profit or startup. By leveraging technology and data-driven insights, Matchable is able to make matches that truly make a difference.

We spoke to Foong about being Master of the Matchable Universe and dessert platters at Roka...

What's your elevator pitch?

Matchable is an award-winning B2B platform matching companies and their employees to volunteering projects at non-profits and impact startups based on their skillset, availability and causes they care about.

We’re giving brands like Indeed, Dentsu and Innocent a more meaningful way to engage their team through employee volunteering - without breaking the bank!

We're flipping the script on old-school "fence-painting" volunteerism and turning them into genuinely exciting projects that pack a punch for causes close to your heart.

What inspired you to create Matchable?

The original idea for Matchable came from the Innovation teams at eight of the UK’s largest charities, including the British Red Cross, the British Heart Foundation, Save the Children, the RSPCA, WaterAid, the Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Royal British Legion and Guide Dogs, who got together through the Good Lab to solve some of their biggest challenges. 

They were finding that very skilled people from big companies were volunteering to paint their fences and plant trees - very valuable, but they appreciate these individuals also had incredible skills they could utilise to make a much bigger impact for both the charities and the volunteers. 

They put out an ad to find a Founder to build Matchable, and that’s when I applied. I was on a 3 month sabbatical from being a Director at PwC, where I had specialised for 13 years in structuring Private Equity M&A deals, and I was looking for my 'purpose’ - very millennial!

When I saw the opportunity at Matchable, the idea resonated so much with me, because I could help employees at companies, similar to myself, find purpose through volunteering projects like those offered through Matchable.

How do you go about matching companies to charities and good causes?

We ask volunteers to take a 60 second matchmaking quiz where they select causes they care about, interests, skillset, time available and their experience level, and then we use our unique matching algorithm to match them to our database of 1,000s of projects sourced from some of the most impactful, innovative and community-led non-profits and impact startups in the world. 

What has been the single toughest aspect of building your brand?

Coming from a company like PwC which has an incredible brand as part of the Big Four, I don’t think I’d really understood how hard it was to create a brand from scratch.

When I was at PwC, there was so much trust and goodwill associated with the brand, that when you walked into the room, people automatically trusted your advice and were ready to pay a lot for it.

Building Matchable’s brand from scratch has been no easy feat. As a B2B service, we can’t use the traditional B2C channels like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok as we specifically target HR / CSR and People teams who are our main buyers. 

In the first couple of years, my approach was definitely to ensure we built a solid, valuable product, that we could test with a few early adopter clients, themselves very innovative and willing to try something different - a new way of volunteering.

We were lucky to have some great companies adopt Matchable and really ‘get us’ very early on like Dentsu, PwC, Ella’s Kitchen and Indeed Flex. 

Once we had some great companies onboard, it became easier to build a brand that was reputable and solid. In the last couple of years we’ve invested more and tested more in marketing, including Google Ads, Linkedin Ads and even out of home campaigns.

It’s been really satisfying to see how enthusiastic people are when they see our campaigns and how refreshing they say it is to be able to do volunteering differently and flexibly.

What specific outcome to a particular partnership can you recall has surprised you in a positive way?

I’ll always remember my first ever ‘match’ which brought together the team at James’ Place, an incredible charity that supports suicidal men with their mental health and was named by James’ parents after him after he took his own life at university, and the Pro Bono team at law firm Paul Hastings. 

James’ Place were looking for some legal support with a governance structure review and GDPR. But when myself and the James’ Place Exec Director arrived at the Paul Hastings offices, they had assembled a full team of 10 lawyers and offered to provide them with pro bono legal support for the whole year.

So, much more than they were hoping for and so valuable - it made myself and the Exec Director quite emotional.

When you’re not being a Master of the Matchable Universe, how do you relax?

Please can I officially be called “Master of the Matchable Universe” from now on? 

HIIT / bootcamp and spin classes are my favourite way to relax and most mornings you’ll find me at a 1Rebel class. I find that my mental health is much worse on days that I don’t go.

As an introvert, I’m also a big fan of just being a house mouse - as myself and my partner call it - staying home, watching some good/trashy TV, reading books or going for a walk in Victoria Park near us. 

More recently, I’ve also been making much more effort to find my ‘tribe’ and I’m part of an incredible group of founders called Foundrs. I’ve found it’s so important to have that community of friends, family and other founders to give me perspective and share experiences with.

What are the three most important practices you adopt to keep yourself fit and healthy?

- Gym 4-5x per week
- Self-awareness and the ability to listen to my body and mind when things get too much. 
- The ability to take breaks and rest - a walk, a nap, just standing up from my desk.

Where do you see Matchable in five years’ time?

One of our goals is to be the definitive volunteering platform for everyone globally - if you think volunteering, you should think Matchable! And to be as ubiquitous as Apple!

We’re B2B now, but we want to be B2C eventually, and particularly expand to offer volunteering projects to students/universities as well as people who are semi-retired/retired. 

Where is your dream dinner happening?  And what are you eating?

Ooh great question! My answer might vary depending on the day. But I think one of my all time favourite meals has been on the special occasion I’ve been able to get the tasting menu at Roka - it’s been absolutely delicious and VERY plentiful. They do modern Japanese really well but also the dessert platter is a winner! 

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