As we know, social responsibility isn’t just for big corporations – companies of any size can have an incredibly positive impact on our world even without an abundance of resources.
We’ve talked about how small businesses can make an impact, from developing workplace giving programs to practicing environmental responsibility in the office and beyond. To further demonstrate what it looks like in practice, we wanted to share our own commitment to social responsibility at WhyWhisper.
Here’s what our team is doing to make an impact, and why:
Supporting Causes We Care About
Each year, we make a financial contribution – 5% of our profits – to causes we care about. Since WhyWhisper is all about empowering communities with bold approaches to better our world, we’ve chosen to donate to causes that roar against injustice when others have whispered. We pay less attention to criteria like the organization’s size or operating budget, and more attention to their ability to identify a root cause to an issue, their focus on an innovative or bold solution, their positive attitude, and the ways in which our donation can help them create change.
Here’s how we decide on the recipient(s): Throughout the year, our team members compile a list of organizations that we think would be a good fit, based on their values and mission. In the third quarter, we conduct in-depth research on each organization – their mission, programs, impact metrics, staffing structures, and more. We review and discuss together, and collectively, we select an organization (or several) to which we’ll donate 5% of the year’s profits. We also support those organizations by promoting their work on our digital channels and spreading the word about them to our networks. For us, this isn’t just about making a ‘one and done’ financial contribution – it’s about building and maintaining a relationship for sustainable impact.
Donating Our Time & Skills
We often hear of organizations and businesses that could benefit from external support in developing a values-based social responsibility program or marketing their community commitment, but lack the resources to do so. As such, WhyWhisper takes on one pro bono project each year. To ensure that our work is as effective as possible, we’ve developed an application process for organizations and businesses that have big visions for bettering the world, but could use help in conducting research, building a plan, or telling their story.
If you know of an organization that you think would benefit from working with our team, free of charge, please feel free to pass the application along!
As individuals, we also volunteer our time – each team member commits to completing at least one volunteer activity per quarter. This allows our team members to support the cause areas that they’re most passionate about, in addition to the pro bono project that we complete collectively. Since we work remotely, it also ensures that each team member can give back to their local community. Last quarter, these activities included orchestrating a community blood drive, mentoring a teen nonprofit leader, serving at a food bank, and more.
Committing to Hiring Diversity
We deeply believe in the importance of actively building and supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce. We advise companies on how to protect applicants from unconscious biases, and we review and evaluate our own hiring processes on an annual basis to ensure that we are continually updating based on new learnings.
At WhyWhisper, we believe that building a better world starts with kindness. Too often, the importance of being kind to one another in our day-to-day lives is cast aside for the sake of ‘progress.’ Before you scoff, hear us out: If we’re being honest with ourselves, hasn’t each of us opted not to help someone or been brusque with a colleague because we were busy, stressed, or overwhelmed? When these kinds of behaviors go unchecked, a company’s culture becomes unproductive and difficult to navigate. On the flipside, when we take the time to be consciously kind, it often has a ripple effect, leading to a positive and productive workplace.
That’s why we decided to actively promote kindness on our own team by challenging ourselves to commit to performing at least one kind act per week, and reporting on it weekly. At the end of the year, we plan to put together a kindness report – a reflection of how being consciously kind positively affected our company culture and communities.
One of the best (and easiest!) ways small businesses can have a positive impact on the world is by taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint. As a remote team, our environmental footprint is a lot lower than those who commute daily to work. That said, we recognize we still have the capacity to generate a great deal of office-related waste.
To reduce our collective environmental footprint, we avoid printing, but if necessary, we print double-sided documents on recycled paper. When we do conduct in person meetings, we use reusable materials, and support local and small businesses, whenever possible. When buying products and choosing suppliers, we select them based on their commitment to diversity and sustainability, striving to stay local and support underrepresented populations, whenever possible. Lastly, each of us is committed to the responsible recycling of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, and electronics. Need help with any of the above? We have a list of recommendations and are happy to share.
We’re always looking for new ways to increase our commitment to social responsibility, both as individuals and as a team. What are some of the unique ways you’ve seen small businesses make a difference? Share with us – we might just integrate them ourselves! Here’s how: