Doing Business for The Planet: Why 15Five Gives Back

By David Hassell

Don’t underestimate the enormous potential of a small number. A minuscule percent of a much larger quantity can still have an incredible impact.

That number, 1%, can provide value to lives beyond our customers and their businesses — it can bring benefit to our communities as well. Giving back paves a sustainable future for your business, deeper commitment for your employees and of course, contribution to a healthier plant.

According to a Nielsen survey, 66 percent of consumers say they prefer to buy products and services from companies who give back to society. There is a growing need for corporate giving through marrying business growth with charitable contributions. Here is how we do it.

Implement an Integrated Philanthropy Program

“When it comes to philanthropy, I have one pitch, and it’s been the same since the founding of our company 13 years ago: the 1/1/1 model of integrated corporate philanthropy,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO of Salesforce.

We at 15Five also stand behind the 1/1/1 model of integrated corporate philanthropy as we see it has made a huge impact on our communities. With this model, Salesforce has donated over $40 million in grants, 445,000 hours of community service and has provided product donations for over 17,500 nonprofit organizations.

This program gathers the talents and expertise of numerous companies in donating 1 percent of their efforts through time, monetary and product donations to provide efficiency to nonprofits, hence the 1/1/1 name. It is designed to bring industry influencers together to share common values through philanthropy.

Our team was inspired by this amazing program, and decided to create a similar model of our own. We have committed to donating 1 percent of our founding stock to a future foundation. Our employees will also donate 1 percent of their time to volunteer for causes we support. We are donating 1 percent of our licenses to non profits we support as well.

In honor of Yvon Chouinard, co-founder of 1% for the Planet Foundation who made the communication practice behind 15Five popular, we are also donating 1% of our product sales to causes that support the environment as a part of the foundation.

We believe giving back to our community gives our company culture more substance. It offers our employees a sense of benevolence, and makes them feel they’re contributing something of value to society. Every volunteer experience makes us even more thankful for what we have.

Commit to 1%

Giving away just 1 percent of your time and finances can make such a huge difference in not only other people’s lives who are less fortunate, but also to the environment. We are so grateful to 1% for the Planet — they have been empowering over 1000 companies for the last decade to donate 1% of their sales to over 3000 approved environmental organizations globally. The organization’s mission is to promote a healthier environment, and give companies a platform to be more transparent and and socially responsible.

FIJI Water is one of the most influential members of the 1% for the Planet initiative, and the only major water bottle company to participate. Its primary reason for joining is the shared passion for global environmental work. Since becoming a member in 2009, FIJI Water has invested in a number of projects. Its most notable initiative is with Conservation International to save the Sovi Basin, a 50,000-acre Fijan lowland rain forest. The company has invested over $5 million in the success of this project.

Reuseit is another 1% For the Planet member, who has donated over $200,000 of its profits to nonprofits. Its mission is to “support nonprofits that are real ‘change agents’ – making significant, positive impacts through their grassroots efforts. Our donations help them achieve their visions and represents another way we give back as a company.”

Entrust Your Organization to Give Back

We can often take for granted the little things in life. Giving back to charities who provide these things remind us of how fortunate we really are. That’s why we love Charity: Water. This organization provides clean water resources in countries whose water is unsafe, and trains them on sanitation.

Did you know 90 percent of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and living conditions are in children under five years old? Also, just in Africa, women and children spend at least 3 hours per day walking for water in dangerous areas. This not only decreases children’s chances of getting an education, but also makes women ineffective in taking care of her family.

What we love about Charity: Water is that they provide safe water resources just 15 minutes from the villages, and train women to manage the sanitation program. Children are then able to attend school, and be more productive in their communities. This program also reduces water-related deaths by 21 percent.

Giving back to our communities can be both self-fulfilling and advantageous to those who are in need of assistance. Knowing your business made a difference in someone’s life beyond monetary value is a step in the right direction to making our planet a better place to live.

What are ways your organization has impacted a community somewhere in the world, or even in your own backyard? Share in the comments below.

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