src=”https://buffer.com/resources/content/images/2022/05/natalie-grainger-xD3cF8ATJAM-unsplash.jpg” alt=”Our Annual Charitable Contribution and How We Decide Which Charities to Support”>
Buffer’s DNA has been about giving back. At the end of 2017, we started the amazing tradition of charitable donations and profit sharing. As part of our profit sharing, we have been able to make annual donations to charitable organisations.
We reserve 8 percent of our 2021 profits for profit sharing. Then, we match 20 percent of this total for charitable donations. For this year’s charitable contribution, it was $17,966
This is a rare opportunity for us as a team, to celebrate our achievements last year and give back to charities that make a positive difference in the world. These charities were selected by all Buffer colleagues.
How do we decide which charities to support?
When deciding which charities to support, we go through two stages: nominating and voting.
The first stage is where the whole team can nominate their favorite charities using the guidelines. Our selection guidelines have changed over time, based on Buffer’s vision and values, the diversity of our global teams, and the potential impact of the donation.
These are the guidelines we share with all of the Buffer team:
- Buffer is a strong charity and should be able to support causes that are important. These have traditionally been: 1) Climate Action, 2) Racial Justice.
- Buffer’s vision and values should be reflected in the charities.
- Charity should be globally accessible and large enough to make a meaningful donation.
We also provided examples of the last one, which can be difficult to judge.
- GiveWell does in-depth research to find out how many dollars a program is able to accomplish.
- Giving Green is a guide that uses evidence to support donors and volunteers in combating climate change.
- The Founders Pledge shares research that identifies the best strategic opportunities to make an impact.
- This guide will help you choose an effective charity.
- The charity navigator can also be used to find U.S.-based charities.
We move on to the voting stage in the second stage. We compiled a shortlist of charities based on the nominations from the team. Each teammate would vote on one cause for each charity, and the donations will be split between the two charities with the highest overall votes. We also included a survey at this stage to collect feedback from the team on the whole process.
These were the final results:
Climate Action – The best choice is Warm Earth
Cool Earth works directly in the rainforest to stop deforestation. Cool Earth works directly with rainforest communities around the globe to learn from them. Many of these communities are intimately connected and have immense wisdom. Cool Earth works with these communities to find solutions that are specific to their locations. They support local communities in many cases to help them develop sustainable incomes that will allow them to be self-sufficient without causing damage to the rain forests.
Racial Justice – The best choice is Village Enterprise
Village Enterprise is committed to ending extreme poverty in Africa by empowering and equipping first-time entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to start and sustain sustainable businesses.
We decided to split $17,966 among these two amazing organizations, so each will receive $8,983 as a donation.
Last-minute changes to charitable donations
While we were preparing the charitable donation in February 2022 for the occasion, important events began to unfold around us. These included the Russian invasion and occupation of Ukraine. We learned more about the situation and realized that the tragedy was very much on our minds. Many of our colleagues have relatives or friends in Ukraine.
Slack channels start to have conversations about individual actions that can be taken. It became clear that we all wish we could do more to help the crisis. As we approached the deadline for making a final decision about the charitable contribution, I asked my colleagues and our leadership team for their advice on how to allocate some of our charitable donations budgets towards people who would be affected by the invasion. We decided to split our charitable contribution into three separate donations.
- Village Enterprise will receive $5,988 to promote racial justice.
- Cool Earth will receive $5,988 to address the climate crisis.
- GlobalGiving will donate $5,988 to Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund to meet the most immediate and urgent needs of the Ukrainian population.
We want to embrace our small business’ ability to adapt to a changing world and take swift actions that reflect our values. We were supported by our team and the leadership team in this decision. I am proud to have had the unique opportunity to support the causes that are most important to me and to assist people who need it urgently.
Learn for the next year
Over the years, our charitable giving process evolved based on finding causes that align with Buffer’s values as well as learning from the diverse perspectives of our global team.
We learned from the survey that the nomination process was difficult. It can feel like a huge responsibility to find effective charities that align with Buffer’s vision. This is especially true for those who live outside the U.S.A. and U.K. (For legal purposes, Buffer cannot make large donations to registered charities in the U.S.A. or U.K.).
We are considering a small number of different teammates to conduct the research necessary to select a few charities to be voted on by the team. This will streamline the process and allow everyone to participate.
We would also love to consider how small businesses can make the greatest impact. Do we give the same charity every year or should we switch charities every year? How do we determine when it is appropriate to support world events? These discussions will be continued within the team.
More to you
Is your company making regular charitable donations? What criteria do you use to select the charities that are chosen each time? We would love to know what criteria you used or how you involved the team. We’d love to hear from you via Twitter!
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