By the time I co-founded Good Done Great, I had already seen my share of poverty. I’d spent my formative years in Thailand with a father who was an Air Force pilot-turned missionary and a mother who was an early social good entrepreneur. As my father tended to the spiritual needs of the congregation, my mother spent her time providing job skills and entrepreneurial mentoring to a thriving cottage industry. I witnessed first hand how this type of support complemented and often exceeded the impact that the church could achieve through utilizing contributions from their members. What started out as her little business soon prospered, and the money often-times became the main source of income for our family. It was then that I realized how critical business engagement was to solving many of the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges.
I returned to the United States after high school, attended college, and then later completed a masters degree in international business studies. I held the expected jobs in the corporate world with expanding responsibility and challenges and yet found myself increasingly anxious to do something with greater social impact.
In 2009, I contacted a former colleague, David Barach, and together we imagined a technology firm which might increase efficiencies for foundations and other philanthropists to identify needs, select charities, and provide grants directly to the most deserving programs. The solution quickly gathered momentum with foundations. As the solution spread, we discovered there were many multinational corporations with a growing desire to be involved in the communities where they participated. We were anxious to partner with firms that were willing to lend their resources for good.
Corporations command a unique position within the world of giving because they have both the financial means to donate to nonprofits, AND employees with both time and money to volunteer. The workplace is where human and corporate capital intersect.
We continue to believe the corporate social responsibility market is ripe for disruption. With a U.S. donation market of $280 billion from individuals alone, we see an opportunity for our company to do well by doing good. During the last several years, we have dedicated our efforts to proving solutions for workplace giving. Corporations with a purpose that create a culture of people who really care, and are encouraged by their employer to seek out charitable causes that have the greatest capacity to change the world.
The Good Done Great solutions provide employees with a web portal to find volunteer opportunities, make donations and receive their company’s match, and engage with others. They can follow their progress towards personal giving goals, team goals, or company goals. Gamification strategies encourage additional good works in order to reach higher levels.
We’re also able to integrate our corporate grant solutions with workplace giving which enables corporations to aggregate information from all of their CSR programs in a way that has never been possible on one platform. This is significant because often with corporations, volunteerism lives in human resources as an employee engagement strategy, corporate giving lives in the CEO budget, corporate sponsorships live in marketing, and matching gifts are often a hybrid that lives in community or investor relations. We believe that too few companies are combining all of the results of these initiatives into a story that tells the “purpose” of their company. Good Done Great’s unifying technology creates a crucial platform where data from volunteerism, grant making, sponsorships, matching grants, and employee donations all lives in the same place and is easily accessible, enabling integrated data-driven storytelling. It’s rewarding to know that our products and services are ultimately building the reputations of corporations that we’re very proud to partner with.
One final note, It was important to David and me to remain true to our original social intentions despite the growth of our company. So in 2012 we became a B-Corp, or benefit corporation. We believed that as a for-profit business we have the same responsibility to bettering our society that our philanthropic clients have. The B Corporation movement reflects our values, which is why we joined this community of companies that is creating a society where businesses are beacons of what good citizenship can be.
The journey to building a socially-responsible, yet profitable company has been extremely rewarding. We have found many partners along the way who have shared in our vision of a better world through active leadership by brands, companies, and philanthropists. We are constantly inspired by our clients and their employees, and the innovative ways they come up with to impact the needs in their immediate surroundings. And we have made a difference in the world.
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