Giving Back at Dreamforce: 5 Big Takeaways for Building Philanthropy Into Your Company’s DNA
Any veteran of Dreamforce knows that our community gives back in a big way. This year was no exception with 1 million books donated to libraries and schools around the world, 3,500 kits packed for Project Night Night to support homeless children, 325 students learning to code on site, 75 vets participating in mentoring sessions with executives–and not to mention 10,000 nonprofits and universities discovering how they can power their mission with Salesforce.
We’re incredibly proud of these efforts and what we can accomplish as a community when we come together. But perhaps what’s even more exciting is how many of our partners and customers have been inspired to build giving back into their own culture through the Pledge 1% movement.
Since it’s founding nine months ago on #GivingTuesday in partnership with Atlassian, Rally and Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, more than 425 companies have pledged 1% of their equity, profit, product and/or time to support the causes and nonprofits of their choosing. 61 of these pledges happened at Dreamforce 2015 alone.
A number of Pledge 1% members shared their advice during the four days to inspire others to follow their leadership and take the pledge to build integrated philanthropy into their DNA.
- Start now. Integrating philanthropy at the founding phase may be easier, but there is always an opportunity to build giving back into your culture. Robert Hohman, Glassdoor CEO, and one of Pledge 1%’s newest members, admitted his company is late to the game. However, because of Glassdoor’s 1% equity pledge, his employees will now have a better sense of purpose when they come to work each day by knowing that when they create value for the company they are also creating value for the disadvantaged.
- But start small. For many companies, the feeling that you have to do it all at once often means they end up doing nothing. Karyn Smith, General Counsel at Twilio recommended companies bite off what they can chew. A few years ago they launched Twilio.org to offer their technology at a free and discounted rate to support nonprofits. They have since grown that program and pledged 1% of equity to further expand their commitment to giving back.
- Make it tangible. When giving back is truly integrated into a company culture, it starts from day one. Follow the lead of Dave Elkington, CEO of InsideSales.com, whose company makes it clear even at the hiring process that giving is core to their values. And in walking the talk, all new hires take part in a volunteering event their first day on the job.
- Make it part of your business. While not all business models are designed to donate 1% of product, there are ways to make giving back part of your core business operations. Leila Janah, CEO of Sama group, urged companies to consider impact sourcing, which taps into employment resources that support individuals at the base of the pyramid.
- Make it count. Some entrepreneurs worry that their investors will see setting aside 1% of equity, profit, product or time, as detracting value from their company. Ron Conway of SV Angel, countered that notion, noting that committing to giving back early in a company’s culture provides a better sense of purpose that is appreciated by all stakeholders from employees to investors to customers.
Hear more from Dave Elkington and Karyn Smith on why integrating philanthropy into their respective companies was not only good for their communities but good for business:
Inspired to see what your 1% could do for your community and your world? Take the pledge today to begin building a culture of giving back and join a network of like-minded peers at www.pledge1percent.org.
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