Friday, June 18, 2010

Business Giving: How the Small Number "One" Can Make a Big Difference

One little number, the number "one"-can pack a powerful punch in corporate philanthropy and small business giving by making a difference to one person, to one organization, to one cause.

There is a story that is often told to illustrate the philanthropic principle of the power of "one". The story goes like this: A man was walking on the beach when he came across a  boy who was sifting through the debris. When the boy found a starfish he would throw it back into the sea. The man asked the boy why he was doing that and he replied that a the starfish will die if they are out of the water for too long. "But you can't possibly save all of them?" "No," the boy said, "but I can save that one."

Businesses are discovering that allocating even a small amount of their resources to a variety of causes, can create meaningful impact. In our upcoming three part series we will have take a look at three business giving models that are designed around the concept of "one", and that have invited other businesses to join them in finding innovative ways to give back to humanity and the world.

Buy One, Give One- Buy1Give1- One For One- all about giving "one" to someone need, for every one bought.

TOMS Shoes has rapidly become the sweetheart of the philanthropic world with their appealing model of giving a pair of shoes to one needy child, for every pair of shoes bought. We wrote about TOMS' One for One model, a little more than a year ago, and the number of businesses since then that engage in this type philanthropic model  has mushroomed.  And other companies like Socks For Happy People have adopted  a Buy One, Give One Model also.
And Buy1Give1 is a transaction based membership organization that helps businesses donate to good causes. 

One Percent
One Percent For the Planet, developed by Yvon Chouinard the founder of Patagonia - is an alliance of  businesses that promise to donate 1 percent of profits to environmental causes.
One Percent For Humanity is an association of businesses committed to giving at least 1% of their annual revenues to approved non-profit humanitarian organizations.

1/1/1  Model

Marc Benioff, CEO of  has created's integrated philanthropy 1/1/1 Model — a commitment to giving one percent of profits, one percent of employee volunteer time, and donating one percent of products to non-profit organizations.'s visionary 1/1/1 integrated philanthropy model now includes a  fourth "1" - one with the Earth

Here are some ideas any sized business can use to build on the concept of giving "one".
Just do one thing!  sponsor one child, give to one school, one day of fundraising, match one dollar for dollar, customers add on one dollar to a sale, a penny jar collection, a promotion on the first of every month.

Collectively one can become many, and one can make a big difference. The important thing is realize that even a small amount of giving back can make a difference for humanity and the world.

What is "ONE" way your business can use the number one to give back?

1 comment:

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