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November 4, 2021

What Does it Take to Make a Real Difference?


Most of us won’t recognize that formula right off the bat, but that’s what compounding interest looks like to scholars and machines. It is one of the most powerful equations known to the universe. [Source: me.] Compounding interest is not a new concept. In fact, it has been around since the 17th century when it was thought to have originated in Italy. Simply put, it is the “Interest on interest” and makes the lump sum grow faster than typical simple interest.

Chances are you learned about compound interest in high school econ, or from your mom growing up, but it is the staple to building wealth. I’m a writer, so let’s go with basic math (and easy peasy numbers). If you invest $10,000 with a simple interest rate of 10% over 30 years you’ll have an investment total of $40,000. If you take the exact same initial sum of $10,000 with compound interest of 10% over 30 years your ending investment will be $174,494. That’s a big difference! The trick is, the sooner you start the better. Now, what if there was a way for businesses to pool their resources as a way to give back to their communities?

The Pledge 1%

Okay, now that our collective abacus is in order; let’s discuss how Bitwise Industries leverages this compound interest idea to make a real difference in our communities and the world. Since we specialize in Salesforce org management and implementation in business, we are a proud Salesforce Certified Partner. That means we are all in on Salesforce and have followed their lead with the Pledge 1% initiative. And their list of companies who are already onboard is a who’s who of amazing businesses–big and small.

This movement has been the catalyst of global corporate change. They encourage businesses to take on early-stage philanthropy with a small commitment that continues to grow based on your future success. This civic-minded action is geared towards helping local nonprofits of your choice. And yes, giving money is always an option, but that’s not the only thing a company can pledge.

Equity. Time. Product. Profit.

This inspiring initiative is all about giving back to the nonprofit organizations in your town who find themselves in the trenches each day working to improve your community. How you participate is up to you. Pledge 1% carves opportunities into four giving categories: equity, time, product, and profit. 

Equity–personal, corporate, or both–is easy. Smaller startups can commit equity before they realize profits to allow their business a chance to grow. Established firms can formalize a solution before a liquidity event to maximize their shares’ worth. Either way, pledging equity is a formal procedure that requires legally binding documents. Make sure to confer with your legal department or discuss options with community partners who have crossed this bridge already. 

Time donations vary in size and allow many to participate. There are always traditional volunteer opportunities–e.g. downtown beautification projects, serving at food banks, or highway cleanups. These are great because they can be team-building events that include staff or even their families. Oftentimes your “time” can be pro bono or skills-based. Whatever your company specializes in, consider providing that service to a local nonprofit or the greater community you serve. 

Product giving is similar to Time if you are donating services. However, giving a physical item can happen in numerous ways. Depending on your hard costs you can consider a discount or donation, you can provide it outright or for a limited time; maybe you give the whole enchilada to one nonprofit or slice it into smaller bites for more deserving entities to enjoy. No matter your decision, your company is putting a necessary tool or resource in the hands of those who can really benefit from its use. 

Profit is just that, a portion of your annual profit. With so many stages of the business cycle and levels of company maturity, a profit contribution sits on a sliding scale. Pledge 1% puts their preferred contribution number on their sleeve. For you, it might be a different amount. There are lots of ways to give monetarily, but a lot of companies want to maximize their efforts and pair any profit giving with product or time donations to increase employee engagement and further the overall impact. (This is how Bitwise does it, but we’ll get to that in a moment). 
If you want to look at it another way, consider the fact that giving programs help you hire and keep top talent (2.3 times more retention rate), they boost your bottom line (87% of consumers believe corporations should place equal weight on business and supporting communities), and allow you to be recognized as an influencer in your community who is leading the movement toward positive change. Whatever trigger motivates you to move; grab it and get started.

Onward and Upward

Bitwise Industries is invested in reaching the underserved with opportunities in the tech industry. That’s what we do every day. However, we needed to step up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? One-in-four California workers became unemployed due to the stay-at-home order, and the State of California required a technology solution that provided the scaling power and infrastructure to handle a massive dataset to pair citizens with immediate job opportunities and basic provisional needs like housing and food.

Almost overnight, Bitwise Industries mobilized a consumer-facing, emergency platform called OnwardCA to cover every request made by the State of California to ensure the safety and well-being of millions. In the first 24 hours of this custom tool being live, more than 100,000 California residents visited the future-focused website—using standard and custom architecture tools—to see what hope it could offer. Within the first week alone, 250,000 people were paired with emergency services, employee retraining, and employment opportunities that were found within their specific geographic location. To date, the platform has securely served over 600,000 people. As of October 2021, this platform has also been implemented in 12+ states across the nation.

The Return Rate

Compounding interest is easy to calculate when you’re talking about accumulating money over time or considering car loan payments. But how do you figure the return rate on a parent who was able to put food on the table again after earning a wage because they were quickly able to find a new job during a difficult time in our country? I don’t know, but I’m sure those kids were glad to have a meal. This is what the Pledge 1% is encouraging every company to consider. You might not ever see or hear about the person’s life that was changed because of your generous gift, but they are out there. And they are worth the small price that we might pay.

Let Us Help

Technology Consulting is the Software Development-as-a-Service division of Bitwise Industries that specializes in custom software development, managed services, and Salesforce implementation. Our technology professionals have deep experience applying cutting-edge technology solutions to help entities with mission-driven needs navigate the technology landscape to find solutions to optimize their operations.

If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization or want to make an impact in your community with technology, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts.

This post was written by Jeff Rickels, Technical Writer for Bitwise Industries. When he’s not writing, he’s not thinking about math. Yeah, I’m spent.

If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization or want to find more ways to increase your ROI with technology, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts.