Let’s do some good – an experiment in giving back

What a year! Small Improvements collected $2.9m in license revenues in 2015, that’s an increase of 70% compared to the year before. We’re doing great, and it’s time to give back.

I believe everyone should use their influence, no matter how small, to make the world a better place. We’ve been supporting many non-profits for years by donating free or half-price SI licenses, we’re paying our taxes without looking for odd loopholes, and we’re storing our surplus buffer on an ethical bank — but we felt we can do more. Last year we collectively spent 2% of our annual revenues to charities of our choice.

It was so well received by everyone involved that we’ve decided to do it again, donating $60,000 this time!

Personal donation budgets

Our company is all about the team, so we asked each of our 20 employees to individually nominate the charities for their “donation budget” of $3,000. To keep the process simple, everyone could only nominate up to three charities with a minimum donation size of $500. We kept the process anonymous, and our office manager collected the list and removed all names.

Donations went to amazing organizations around the world, and today we’re proud to share the list of recipients:

ACLU  1000USD https://aclu.org
Alameda Food Bank  1000USD http://www.alamedafoodbank.org
Amnesty International  2000USD https://www.amnesty.de
Anticorruption Hungary  3000USD http://k-monitor.hu
Ärzte ohne Grenzen (Médecins Sans Frontières)  3500USD https://www.aerzte-ohne-grenzen.de
BGKoleda  3000USD http://www.bgkoleda.bg
Black Dog institute  1000USD http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
Bowel Cancer UK  1000USD https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk
CharityWater  1000USD https://www.charitywater.org/whywater
Child’s Play  1500USD http://childsplaycharity.org
Children.org  3000USD http://children.org
City Year  1000USD http://www.cityyear.org/about-us
ClojureBridge  1000USD http://www.clojurebridge.org
Deutsches Rotes Kreuz  1000USD http://www.drk.de
Die Gelbe Villa  900USD http://www.die-gelbe-villa.de
Envirolaw.org  2000USD http://www.envirolaw.org
Frauenhäuser  1000USD http://www.frauenhaeuser.at
Frauenrechte.de  1000USD http://www.frauenrechte.de/online/index.php
Girl Effect  1500USD http://www.girleffect.org
Greenpeace  1000USD http://www.greenpeace.org
Immigration Equality (LGBT immigration to
US)
 1000USD http://www.immigrationequality.org
Kinder Hospiz Sonnenhof  4200USD http://www.bjoern-schulz-stiftung.de/berlin.html
Medico International  1500USD https://www.medico.de
Oaktree (education)  1000USD https://oaktree.nationbuilder.com
OneGirl  1000USD https://www.onegirl.org.au
Possible Health  1500USD http://possiblehealth.org
ProAsyl  2000USD http://www.proasyl.de
Reporter Ohne Grenzen  1000USD https://www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de
Sapa O’Chau  900USD http://sapaochau.org/
SeaWatch 1000USD http://www.sea-watch.org
Skateistan (health)  1000USD https://www.skateistan.org/content/our-story
SOLWODI (Women in Kenya)  1000USD http://www.solwodi.de
SOS Barnbyar – Help Children  1000USD http://www.sos-barnbyar.se
SOS Kinderdorfer  1000USD https://www.sos-kinderdoerfer.de
Special Olympics  1000USD  http://www.austria2017.org/de/games-2017/pre-games-2016
Steirische Kinderkrebshilfe  1000USD http://www.kinderkrebshilfe.at
Stiftung Naturschutz  1500USD http://www.stiftung-naturschutz.de/startseite
The surfrider foundation (world oceans)  1000USD http://www.surfrider.org/mission
WADI (Women in Iraq)  1000USD http://www.wadi-online.de
WaterAid  1000USD https://www.wateraid.org

Summary

The entire process was surprisingly smooth and simple, I can only recommend that other companies try this as well. Yes, it’s easier if just the CEO decides where to send donations, or to have a collective vote, but if your company is really about team work, then making everyone participate is the best way.

All transfers have been completed by now, and we’re hoping for even more revenues in 2016 so the process will be even more fun next year! (smile)