Why Vidyard Joined Pledge 1%
A little over a year ago, we at Vidyard, an online video platform for business to increase leads, accelerate pipeline and delight customers, signed up to be part of Pledge 1%. While we were already doing many things internally to help give back to our community through various grassroots initiatives, we wanted to take the next step and become members of Pledge 1%.
One of the amazing things about Pledge 1% is that there is no prescribed list of how to and when to implement formal giving-back programs. Pledge 1% encourages businesses to start where they are at today and then works to encourage you to think about what you can do for the future.
When we think about businesses giving back, we often picture enormous (and expensive) cheque presentations being given to charities. But there is so much more that can be done today to give back. Initiatives that goes far beyond financial donations, and look to cement businesses as pillars of community betterment.
We have put together a list of 10 simple ways that organizations can begin to give back to their communities, regardless of your budget.
10 simple ways to give back to your community
Volunteering is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to give back to your local community. This is a great opportunity to showcase corporate values through the simple act of giving your time. Volunteering is also a great way to introduce and educate your employees about local charities, not-for-profit organizations, and volunteer opportunities in your own backyard. We found that simply spreading the word on who needs help encouraged our staff to get out and volunteer on their own time.
Try Grassroots Initiatives
Don’t get stuck thinking you need to have a large, comprehensive CSR plan already in place to make an impact. At Vidyard, we have a group of over 100 employees who keep connected with one another through Slack, an internal communication tool. We call this group #ChangeYard, and we use the space to motivate, encourage, and promote giving back across our organization. For example, we’ve organized monthly blood donations, shared upcoming charity events in town, and circulated sign-up sheets to call for volunteers to help with local groups.
Choose an Internal Champion
To get traction and to secure company buy-in across your organization, it helps to have an internal champion to advocate for company involvement in community initiatives. Choosing an internal champion will help your CSR strategy fit within your business strategy and get the attention it deserves. At Vidyard, we’re fortunate enough to have our co-founder and CEO, Michael Litt, share the same passion for his community that our group shares, and it’s been this way for him since day one. You can read more about his thoughts here.
Find Creative Ways to Use Your Product (and Share Your Knowledge)
Sometimes it takes a creative mind to figure out how you can incorporate your product or service into your community. At Vidyard, we help local businesses by providing our video management product to charitable organizations. We also realized that donating our product alone wasn’t enough. We shifted our strategy to work with our community to further educate them on video best practices and strategy, too. Today, many people from our organization, from account executives to customer success managers, help plan training activities for these organizations where they teach everything from basic video strategy to video production, and more.
Like many start-ups, we often find that we feel restricted from supporting local charities because we’re unable to give financially. At Vidyard, we knew that we wanted to support local groups, but we needed to think creatively to find a solution that would benefit everyone involved. Aside from volunteering, we decided to create our own non-for-profit organization that would allow us the opportunity to run quarterly fundraising events. We called this group Plugin, and our goal was to bring together young professionals in fun and unconventional ways to connect, build and maintain our community.
Plugin events run quarterly and are open to everyone in the community to attend. We showcase one local charity per event and volunteer our time to create a video to tell their story. These events are an effective way to help introduce a hard to reach demographic to local groups and charities.
Start Early and Start Simple
One of the best ways to get started in giving back is to just get started. Don’t wait until you grow to a certain size or hit certain revenue targets. Your plan can evolve as you scale, and your focus can change along the way. Setting the groundwork helps you to align your strategy into your corporate values at the earliest stages of your business. It gives your company a set of guiding principles and values that show your employees and community what matters most to you as an organization.
Build in community projects into company events
A few years ago when we were preparing for a company-wide event, we were looking for a team building activity that would benefit both our staff and the community. We decided that we’d offer Vidyard employees the opportunity to participate in a half-day, cross-functional team building event to assemble and distribute bikes for regional charities. Vidyard employees got to welcomed children from Big Brothers/Big Sisters into the office to hand deliver the bikes. For many employees, this was truly a touching moment to see a simple, small task that they participated in bring so much joy to children in their community.
Consider the Community as a Stakeholder
When our leadership team worked through defining our stakeholder value chain, they did things a little different than most. Instead of simply considering the customers, staff, and investors, they formally added community into that list. Today, at Vidyard, our stakeholder value chain is 1) Customers, 2) Vidyardians, 3) Community, and 4) Investors. When you list the community as a stakeholder, and especially when you consider the community’s needs to be more important than profit, you then have the opportunity to make decisions for the betterment of the community. You’ll notice that your leadership team will start to look at things a little differently too. You can read more about this here.
Share your Skills
Using your specific skills (services in kind) is one of the best and most impactful ways to give back. At Vidyard, a number of our employees have donated their personal time to help work on videos for charities, marketing materials to spread awareness, and aiding groups with website support. These basic skill sets may seem easy for you, given that it’s your day job, but for many of these organizations you offer unique skills that are specialized in your field.
Celebrate Your Contributions and Impact
It’s important that you take the time to reflect on your team’s contributions throughout the year, especially the volunteer time. In doing so, you encourage and promote even more volunteerism across your team, too. Make this part of your weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly company meetings, and talk about the impact your contributions have made to those around you. Take a look at all the good Vidyard accomplished in 2018 below:
So there you have it, 10 simple ways that you can get started giving back to your community. No matter your organization’s size, budget, or strategy, giving back can and should be weaved into your culture. How are you giving back to your organization? What tips and tricks do you have for others getting ready to start? Sound off in the comments below or reach out to us @Vidyard with your questions!