Need fuel on your fire as you lead your employee giving? This will inspire you.
1. “In business, we say that people overestimate what you can do in a year and underestimate what you can do in a decade. This is true of philanthropy as well.”
– Mark Benioff, Founder and CEO of Salesforce.
Over the last 18 years, Salesforce.org has become vital to Salesforce culture as a way to engage employees in their communities. It is connected to the “Pledge 1%” program, a global movement based on a simple idea – an integrated philanthropic approach called the 1-1-1 model. Since its foundation, Saleforce.org has given $168 million in grants, 2.3 million hours of community service and has provided product donations for more than 32,000 nonprofits and higher education institutions.
What can we learn from Mark?
It’s integral to think of your corporate giving program as a long-term proposition and approach it with intention and strategy. Make sure your charity partnerships align with your shared values, and offer your employees choice, but within a manageable family of charities. Offering free choice from tens of thousands of charities is overwhelming for your employees, and also, it makes it difficult for you to tell a compelling impact story when your employee giving dollars are spread thinly across hundreds of charities receiving small amounts. We know people want to know where their money is going. If your company backs a social cause area, consider the long term impact you could make over a decade by concentrating your support on a carefully selected family of charities. Share your vision of making a genuine difference to a social issue with your employees and allow them to invest in creating a culture of giving with a long term view.
2. “I thought: ‘This isn’t a secret that we should keep to ourselves’. When you’ve got your heads down doing a start-up, you’ve got a lot of things going on and philanthropy is generally not at the top of your list. But it’s a very easy thing to do, to tell your employees that if we all build something incredible together, the whole world’s going to benefit.”
– Scott Farquhar, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Atlassian
In 2014, Farquhar joined forces with the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado and the Saleforce foundation to launch the Pledge 1% program, which asks start-up founders to give 1 per cent of equity, time, product, profit, or all four. The Atlassian Foundation supports education-focused charities and has given USD$10 million in donations, over 22,000 hours in employee time and over 52,000 software licenses to charities.
What can we learn from Scott?
Size doesn’t matter! Your company is never too small to start employee giving. If you establish a giving culture at the inception of your company, it will become second nature, and an integral part of your company’s DNA. It’s important to be choosy - and make sure you pick a social mission that is aligned with your business mission. Be inspired by B-Corporations that are committed to using business as a force for good (Catalyser is proud to be a certified B-Corporation). It’s cool to be small: small and medium businesses are 99% of employers in Australia, and if we leave giving to just the large companies, the opportunity cost is too high for charities. Besides, why let the big guys have all the fun?
3. “Corporate giving has been late to the game to be recognised as a business driver. No matter which data set you look at, people care that companies care about the world. But across the industry we need to better develop data. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
–Nancy Mahon, Senior VP, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability for the Estee Lauder Companies
Mahon believes the Estee Lauder Companies “can and must” be catalysts in driving consequential social change on issues like universal access to education (especially for girls), breast cancer research and the fight against HIV/AIDS. The companies are also focused on sustainability, and are committed to responsible sourcing, expanding Green Chemistry across the enterprise, reducing water usage and waste production, and reaching a net zero carbon goal by 2020. The company’s employee giving program, ELC Good Works, is a matching gifts and volunteerism program that has an impressive 33 per cent participation rate among eligible employees in the US, three times the industry average. The program is now being rolled out in the UK.
What can we learn from Nancy?
Businesses perform better when they incorporate employee giving into the way they are already doing business. Customers, employees and stakeholders all care about it. They want to give and make a lasting impact. But many businesses are still doing bake sales and gold coin fundraisers with no over-arching strategy or long-term vision.
Employee giving software like Catalyser lets you continue all the ways you wish to fundraise, but it also gives you rich data on how and when your employees are giving, and what causes matter the most to them. Such software can help you understand which campaigns have the most traction, and with which kinds of employees.
For example, are your junior employees actually giving the most, while your senior executives could be doing more to support the social responsibility values of your business?
Quality giving software will give you comprehensive data and robust analysis to help you manage all aspects of your employee giving. Once armed with the data, you can understand how and why your employees are giving, and make informed decisions about how to improve your program and ultimately, grow your social impact for the community.