Pledge 1% Today

Written by Sarah Hahn

On Wednesday, some of my colleagues and I attended the first New York City User Group for Pledge 1%. If you don’t already know what Pledge 1% is, it’s a movement that “encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product, and employee time for their communities.” Salesforce.org is one of the founding partners, and its purpose was inspired by Salesforce’s 1–1–1 model for giving back.

Xceli Global took the pledge last year when the movement was just getting started, and since we are currently developing our strategy around social impact, the user group event was timed perfectly.

CEO of Pledge 1% Amy Lesnick had a fireside chat with Salesforce’s Suzanne DiBianca, and picked her brain for ways in which smaller companies can get involved when they feel like they don’t have a lot of extra time or capital to give away. Salesforce’s 1–1–1 model isn’t just marketing; it’s an essential part of the company culture. For example, on their first day at Salesforce, new employees do a volunteer activity and volunteer hours are part of an employee goal-setting.

It may seem like this can only happen because Salesforce is a big company, but the reality is that giving back was a part of the company’s DNA even back when there were only 50 employees. Amy kept stressing that Pledge 1% isn’t about having “made it” as a wildly successful company and then deciding to give back. She urged everyone to get their companies to take the pledge today, no matter how small they were. What I find so great about Pledge 1% is that commitments can grow and evolve as the company does, so it’s accessible to any size or stage company.

The main takeaway that I got from this event is that for this to become a movement and gain traction, we need to inspire more people to take the pledge. “Raise your hand if you can think of one or two people you could invite to the next user group,” Amy said at the end of the chat, and everyone in the room raised their hand. At a related event later in the evening, Bluewolf’s CEO Eric Berridge echoed her call to action, encouraging everyone in the room to take out their phones, visit the Pledge 1% website, and take the pledge right then and there.

Xceli Global was equally inspired by the day. We met potential nonprofit partners and other companies that have a similar vision to ours. The effect was personal, too: one colleague was already bubbling over with ideas, telling our CEO about a local organization she had recently learned about and wanted to get involved with.

Pledge 1% and its members are ready to take their movement to the next level, and Xceli Global is happily on that bandwagon. If you haven’t already, go to pledge1percent.org yourself and take the pledge. We want to see you at the next User Group meeting!

Sarah Hahn is Global Vice President, Social Impact. She is responsible for Xceli Global’s social impact strategy, which is based on our commitment to Pledge 1%.

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