If someone asked you what was easier to donate – time or money – what would you answer?
It would probably depend on what you had more of. But, what if it was only 1%?
For example, 1% of an eight hour working day is less than 5 minutes.
Salesforce and Pledge 1% co-founder, Marc Benioff, whose wealth is estimated to be more than 10 billion dollars, says that capitalism as we know it is dead – firstly because it leads to inequality. “To my fellow business leaders and billionaires, I say that we can no longer wash our hands of our responsibility for what people do with our products. Yes, profits are important, but so is society. And if our quest for greater profits leaves our world worse off than before, all we will have taught our children is the power of greed.” His main philosophy is turning to a more fair, equal and sustainable capitalism that actually works for everyone and where businesses don’t just take from society but truly give back and have a positive impact.
That is the main idea behind the global movement Pledge 1%, which encourages and empowers companies to donate and be a driver of this movement. This simple model of pledging has brought donating to a higher level by developing four types of pledges to take – donating 1% of equity, time, profit or product. Founders of this movement, Salesforce, Atlassian and Rally, are completely aware of the fact that each company is individual so no one is obliged to do all four pledges. The movement is about investing and donating as much as possible – the goal is not collecting millions but helping spread the mindset of social responsibility and promoting the culture of donating and investing in the community. The Pledge 1% movement believes that each company has the capacity to give and they are ready to help map out a timeline and giving plan that aligns with your values and business goals.
This kind of approach to doing business, alongside a great product and support, was one of the reasons HSM chose Salesforce as a strategic partner.
To continue, we will discuss all four kinds of pledges you can do in the Pledge 1% programme.
◉ Pledging time
Donating working hours is definitely an option which enriches the company and its employees. For example, volunteering can also be in the form of team building. Also, you can let your employees decide where they want to volunteer so that they can choose an activity which suits their interests and motivate them additionally. Other than classic volunteering, donating working hours can mean doing pro bono work related to your product. Some companies donate their time through know-how. For instance, a painter can help by painting a shelter for the homeless.
Donating time is a great option for young companies which are not able to donate large amounts of money but want to give back. This is the option Salesforce chose when they first decided to donate – they encouraged their employees to volunteer. Looking back, now they are completely sure that was a good decision because it has become a vital part of the employee mindset. Today, all employees can take three days of paid leave to volunteer.
◉ Pledging profit
This is probably the simplest way for companies to take the pledge. But, of course, be sure to check the regulations and legal aspects of this kind of donation. Pledge 1% can help you decide on how to distribute the amount of profit you decided to donate. They can also give you advice on how to combine this kind of pledge with pledging equity or time. Atlassian, one of the co-founders of this movement pledges one percent of profit, time and equity through their foundation.
◉ Pledging product
Just like other options, pledging product is possible in different ways. Except in its original form, you could adjust your product and have it tailor-made for donationz. You can support only one organization and create a deeper connection with them, or opt for distributing your product to as many users as you can. It all depends on the type of product you have, as well as your wishes.
At the beginning of the pandemic, in order to make the situation easier, a lot of companies decided to offer their products for free. For example, Google made some of their products, such as video calls and live streaming, available to everyone for a couple of months.
◉ Pledging equity
This is the most popular model among the tech startup companies, but some of the established companies such as Atlassian or Twillio also decided on pledging equity.
For companies that are just starting up and cannot donate large amounts of profit this is a great way to get going. Another great part of this kind of pledging is the fact that the amount you pledged is growing along with your company.
There are a couple of options to consider when pledging equity. You can pledge company equity, personal equity as a founder or a combination of personal and corporate equity.
This goes for companies in the Anglo-Saxon legal system. Things are different in our system so please be sure to get all the information you need before taking a pledge of this kind.
This is how we start all the LinkedIn posts related to corporate social responsibility, which are now becoming more and more frequent. That’s not because we have only just started making donations. HSM has a long history of donating and helping out. But now we have decided to systemize our donations through a social responsibility programme with the help of our partner, Brodoto agency. Everything we put into this programme will be systematically distributed to the most vulnerable social groups in accordance with the need of the community.
Even before this programme, we were aware of the fact that this will be the year in which some people will need more help than before. For that reason we have donated six percent of last year’s profit to organisations and individuals in difficult circumstances.
Taking into account all of the above, it is only natural that we have decided on becoming a part of Pledge 1%. Even though our programme exceeds the one percent, the initiative and the philosophy behind it is exactly what we want to support and encourage others to take part. Since Salesforce is our partner, the whole process was pretty effortless and we have become one of the companies who are a part of Pledge 1%.
Local community is the foundation of every company which is located in that area. Even the ones who have state, regional or even worldwide reach should be thankful to the city or region where they were founded and where most of their employees live. Companies should consider it normal to give back and invest in the community around them because, as the founders of Pledge 1% would say, “It’s a small commitment today that can make a huge impact tomorrow.”