[July 29, 2020] We are entering a new era of corporate giving. Now, more than ever before, top talent and customers want to work for and with companies whose values are aligned with their own. Companies that have implemented one or more of the Pledge 1% commitments (donating 1% of employee time, product, equity or profit) are at the forefront of this growing trend and are creating a new normal for businesses to leverage their impact for good. 

With today’s unprecedented social, health, and economic challenges, it’s clear that companies have an important and essential role to play in being part of the solution. One way companies of all sizes and stages are securing their social impact work for years to come is by pledging equity. By setting aside equity for social impact, companies can demonstrate their long-term commitment to these values, differentiate their company from competitors, and sustainably fund their social impact work for years to come. In the last 3 years alone, top companies that set aside equity for social impact have ignited over $250 million in new philanthropy via their IPOs. 

Pledging equity is especially valuable for startups that are interested in giving back, but have yet to see profit. It is also increasingly becoming the norm for top late-stage companies. In fact, many of today’s most successful companies, including Docusign, PagerDuty, Pluralsight, Sendgrid, Slack, Twilio, Upwork, and Zuora have pledged equity on the road to IPO. 

We are also seeing tremendous support from the VC community, as individual investors from top venture capital firms, including Accel, Bain Capital, Benchmark, Bessemer Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Index Ventures, Jackson Square Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital, SV Angel, Techstars have supported their portfolio company CEOs in educating other Board members and setting aside equity for social impact. 

“There’s never been a more important time for companies to leverage their assets to be a force for good. Setting aside equity now for social impact, ensures that companies will have the resources they need to tackle the most pressing issues in our future,” said Amy Lesnick, Chief Executive of Pledge 1%. “Pledging equity is increasingly becoming the new normal for successful companies who understand that this is not only good for the world, it’s also good for business as employees and customers expect them to do more than simply generate growth and profit.”  

The new Pledge 1% CEO Equity Playbook and Companion Guide for CFOs and GCs was designed in collaboration with top CEOs and thought leaders to help companies of all sizes pledge equity. Contents include equity donation models for founders, corporate case studies, and more. The Companion Guide was created for CFOs and GCs to help their companies formalize the equity pledge, and contains legal templates and tools. 

Today’s issues will not be resolved by governments and nonprofits alone. The companies who set aside equity for philanthropy pre-liquidity have been able to fund efforts around COVID-19 relief, social justice, economic development, and other global challenges. Download the Playbook to learn how you can pledge equity today for impact tomorrow.