What makes your giving program stand out?  Have you done a unique combination of time + product donation (or another combination)? 

As a newer player in the corporate social impact space, we’re focusing heavily on learning and listening. Okta for Good is still fairly limited in breadth right now – and intentionally so. We’re in early stages of our defining our program, and we’ve been very deliberate about what we’ve chosen to incorporate at each stage of our growth.

For example, for employees, we don’t yet have donation matching or a company service day, and instead we center our quarterly impact efforts on thematic volunteer events with clear opportunities for employee education. We want to root our employees in an understanding of community issues and help them develop their own personal giving strategies so that they are poised to maximize their impact as we roll out more programs. This is also why we’ve worked closely with experienced partners like Tides Foundation to develop educational resources for our global teams.

For corporate giving, in lieu of a large-scale grant program out of the gates, we’ve started with a deep commitment to a single grantee: NetHope. Our work with NetHope offers us a way to wrap all of our resources (people, technology and funding) around one partner, and we hope the insights from this first partnership will help inform our long-term approach to strategic philanthropy through our recently announced Okta for Good Fund, a donor advised fund of Tides Foundation.

We are also constantly learning from our customers: on the product side, we offer nonprofits 25 free licenses for all Okta products, as long as they’ll share feedback on our offering. Their insights are a critical piece to growing Okta for Good.

How is Pledge 1% integrating into the core values of your business?  Is it impacting other areas of your work (such as sustainability programs/sourcing/green policy, etc) and/or shaping your internal employee culture?

Pledge 1% has given shape and structure to our social impact efforts and was an important catalyst in taking the work to the next level. It has also been helpful in thinking about the ways in which we build a sustainable social impact practice and enable the work to scale with our company. This pursuit of a sustainable business model (as opposed to relying on a perpetual company handout) is a priority for us at this stage along with many of our Pledge 1% peers.

Have you collaborated with other companies in your local community or within your ecosystem on giving back?  What about leveraging your technology and skills to tackle a shared issue?

We’re lucky that collaboration and connection is such a fundamental element of Okta’s business. This spirit translates directly to our social impact work, and we see tremendous potential to partner with like-minded companies and community partners to drive positive change together. In fact, we’re already engaged in many exciting efforts on this front.

From a global perspective, we’re working closely with NetHope as a founding partner of the Center for the Digital Nonprofit, which connects a strong community of technology and nonprofit leaders to enable large-scale digital transformation across NetHope’s global members. We’ve also joined forces with Box, Salesforce.org, DocuSign, Splunk, Tableau and Twilio as a part of ImpactCloud, a coalition of cloud vendors leveraging our technical savvy and business insights to help humanitarian organizations take advantage of the latest technologies.

Locally, we’ve teamed up with civic-minded companies in the San Francisco Bay Area to fight poverty through Tipping Point Community’s SF Gives initiative. We also recently partnered with Adobe, mentoring students as a part of the organization’s summer Girls Who Code program. And throughout the year, we’ve worked with a variety of other organizations in the areas where our teams live and work.

What is your advice to startups or companies that are waiting to give until after their IPO or reach profit?  What made your company decide to give, and when, and how has that shaped who you are?

One of the reasons I was proud to join Okta as the first social impact hire was the authentic commitment I saw from our leaders. Our co-founders Todd McKinnon and Frederic Kerrest were very intentional about committing Okta to giving back pre-IPO. Establishing Okta for Good was an important signal to employees, customers and the broader community about what kind of company we are. As Todd said when we first joined Pledge 1%: “Whether you work at a multinational corporation or a nonprofit with three employees, every organization deserves the opportunity to bridge the innovation gap and build the best experiences for their people.”

Social impact delivers value when it comes to recruiting talent, building trust with customers and partners, and connecting meaningfully to your communities – at any stage. Our best advice: just start!

Have you integrated a specific product or service based on a nonprofit’s needs?

Not yet, but we are looking closely at our nonprofit offering in the coming year to better understand needs and opportunities for us to deliver more relevant solutions. Stay tuned!