Compassionate Capitalism Is Possible Through Effective Corporate Philanthropy

Conor Cawley

Charitable giving is no longer just something you do around the holidays. For businesses large and small, being philanthropic has become a necessity to survive. With Millennials valuing socially focused companies more than ever, success is virtually unattainable if you aren't giving back. However, in 2014, corporate giving was only at $18.45 billion compared to the $265 billion from individual donations. Why aren't companies getting on board with this new trend?

According to Suzanne DiBianca, the Chief Philanthropy Officer at Salesforce and keynote speaker at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, it's because, simply put, companies need money. Fortunately, DiBianca pioneered a philanthropic model that will hopefully usher in a new era of corporate giving. This model focuses on what companies really have to offer.

“The real assets in a company are the people that work there, the products that they have, and their ability to advocate for change in policy,” said DiBianca in her keynote speech at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

Dubbed the 1-1-1 model, companies are encouraged to donate one percent of their product, equity, or employee time to causes that align with their values. DiBianca spearheaded this movement at Salesforce and it has transformed into it's own company. Pledge 1% was started by Salesforce in partnership with Efco, Atlassian, Rally for Impact, Tides, and the Community Foundation, and has become one of the most innovative and fastest growing philanthropic organizations in the world.

As DiBianca puts it, charitable giving is about more than reaching your target audience. It's not about making waves on social media or attracting that sought-after investor. Giving back is something that benefits the entire community, helping to build an ecosystem that can support everyone from any background. And being genuine is the only way to do that.

“Don't do it for the marketing,” said DiBianca. “It needs to be real. Doing philanthropy for marketing purposes isn't real philanthropy.

The most important takeaway from DiBianca's speech was that the future of business is philanthropic. Customers want it, employees want it, and charitable organizations obviously want it. Get on board with the giving back movement or your business will be left behind.

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Conor is the Senior Writer for For the last five years, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. You can email Conor at