Podcast June 24, 2020

Philanthropy for the modern world

Philanthropy is not just a hobby of the well-to-do.

You don’t need a monocle, furs or a top hat to give. 

Thanks to modern financial technology, everyone can be a philanthropist. 

And your company would do well to join in.

To explain why, I invited Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, CEO & Founder at Goodworld, onto today’s show. 

Goodworld offers a whole ecosystem of modern ways to charitably give — including tools to help your business increase its impact. 

What we talked about:

  • How Goodworld came about and is modernizing philanthropy
  • Why the purpose of a corporation is being redefined
  • How philanthropy is impacted by social media and millennials

Modernizing giving

When Dale came to New York City as an academic, she got involved in some philanthropic circles. 

She was working at a nonprofit organization at the time and realized that her philanthropic friends were doing things very differently to how the organization was trying to fundraise from donors. 

The problem was that technology was actually getting in the way. 

So she set out to build a platform for modern philanthropy — the type of philanthropy millennials and Gen Z would love to engage in.

“Our mission as a business is to make philanthropy easy and to bring an element of social good into every transaction.” — Dale Nirvani Pfeifer

After finding a partner, the Goodworld platform was built.

Initially, it focused on creating instant payments for charity on Facebook and Twitter using novel means, like retweeting to donate or swiping up on Instagram and the web. 

But after talking with nonprofit partners, they realized they needed more than donations on social. 

They needed a full range of products that were much more compatible with younger donors. Things like rounding up, digital donations and gift cards for planting a tree or building a school. 

They also ended up launching GoodBusiness, which helps businesses find an easy, cost-effective way to make an impact by engaging their employees and customers.

And this rounding out of their giving ecosystem to extend to businesses came at a perfect time.

The new purpose of the corporation

Last year, Business Roundtable, who periodically issues statements on the principles of corporate governance, moved away from the definition of a corporation’s purpose they’d been using since 1997.

The corporation’s purpose used to be defined in terms of its shareholders. That is, a corporation’s very existence was to serve shareholders. 

As of last year, Business Roundtable broadened the purpose to include a variety of stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Modern corporations need to frame their thinking and decision making around not just how it impacts shareholders, but employees, customers and other companies within the supply chain.

“It is enlightened self-interest —doing well by doing good — but it’s become really important for businesses to think about how they can step up and how the social and environmental problems affecting them affect us all.” — Dale Nirvani Pfeifer

And whatever pushback may have existed against this idea all but disappeared in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. 

All of a sudden, it became crystal clear once the crisis revealed how people were really struggling. 

Employees have been impacted. Customers face fear and anxieties about the future. Critical companies within your supply chain are on the brink.  

Beyond the fact that broadening your purpose to include a wider range of stakeholders is the right thing to do, it also has positive implications for your business.

It increases your visibility, drives loyalty and, ultimately, increases the value of your brand.

The impact of millennials and social media

The primary driving forces behind this are two things: social media and millennials. 

Social media has completely transformed how people interact with brands. It’s no longer the case that companies are just sending messaging out with little chance of a response.

“With social media, all of a sudden, there’s this very powerful, two-way communication channel and public opinion matters more than ever.” — Dale Nirvani Pfeifer

And how your brand is perceived, good or bad, will be amplified by the ease with which people can share their thoughts and opinions with countless others. 

As far as millennials — who are on the whole very social media savvy —  are concerned, it’s the loyalty aspect that comes into play. 

As customers, many millennials will pay more for brands they see as having a positive impact or with whom they feel aligned in purpose over other brands.

As employees, the data show millennials to be even more concerned with how socially responsible their employers are. 

In fact, three-quarters of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a company they see as socially responsible, while two-thirds would turn down a job from one that isn’t. 

And almost 90% say the job is more fulfilling when they have an opportunity to have a positive impact. 

As you can see, it makes a whole lot of sense from a business standpoint to incorporate philanthropic elements into your company. Retention, visibility, loyalty, reputation and even profits are all going to see improvement for companies who widen their purpose to broader stakeholders.

But, ultimately, isn’t it just more rewarding to know you’re doing the right thing? 

And with today’s technology, doing the right thing is easier than ever.

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Until next time!



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