Pledge 1%: The Single CSR Program That Will Change Everything

The snooze button can be pressed no more!

With the just-released State of CSR in Australia and New Zealand Annual Review 2015, everywhere you look corporates are rubbing their eyes and waking up to the need for positive social impact.

The big banks have gotten in on the action and developed dedicated, socially-driven programs and initiatives. NAB launched the Impact Investment Readiness Fund, ANZ’s CSR program delivers to low-income groups and Westpac’s skills transfer initiative has landed them the “Socially Responsible Bank” award for the third year running. These are great and we’re already beginning to see the change such programs are responsible for, but creating a consistent Corporate Social Responsibility program that all companies are comfortable with is no small feat.

As we’re always on the look out for innovative models (be it business, funding or donation) we were pretty impressed when this came across our desk. It’s called Pledge 1%. It operates on a 1-1-1 framework and leverages off the organisation’s existing resources.

What does that mean? Let’s break it down. We’ll use model-creators Saleforce as the example: 1% of products sold are donated to worthy organisations. Another 1% comes from financial equity. And the final 1% is time. Salesforce provides all its employees with 6 full, paid days a year to volunteer.

So what does this all equate to? From it’s inception to today Salesforce has provided more than 24,000 NFPs and educational institutes with the Salesforce product, donated over $80 million and spent 840,000 hours volunteering.

They’ve begun exporting this model internationally too. A few early adopters in Australian have already signed on: Ansarada, Atlissan and eWAY. The goal being 500 Australian organisations signed on by the end of 2015.

Criticism of pledging systems has been bubbling up of late. A recent Financial Review article delved into the fatal flaw of the Gates/Buffet-created “Giving Pledge” – highlighting that there in no legal-binding contract or obligation to actually donate what has been pledged.

“These [billionaires] are all people who sign lots of pledges and wanted, I’m sure, to make it very clear that [the pledge] is a moral direction as opposed to a legal direction.”

Estate Law Attorney David Sloan.


Salesforce Foundation Spark Strategy

The Salesforce Foundation president emphasised corporate social responsibility programs are owned and driven by the staff – not the CEO.

“The major trend over the last 10 years has been the movement of ownership of CSR efforts moving from the CEO directing it to staff having a greater say. Philanthropy used to be very top down, depending on what the CEO liked, and it is not that way anymore. It’s now more democratically driven, bottom-up rather than top-down.”

Suzanne DiBianca, excerpt from Generosity Magazine.

The Pledge 1% model is something that could and should become the norm. It’s no secret that Australia’s CSR landscape is grossly under-developed but a standardised program that any company could adopt could be just the thing to change that.

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