10gen recently partnered with RaisedBy.Us a platform for company giving. We were challenged to give as little as $1 from every paycheck for the next 6 months, through RaisedBy.Us. I was thrilled that we had gotten involved in the program and was excited to spearhead the challenge with my colleagues in HR.
10gen was the third startup to sign on to the RaisedBy.Us challenge, so to kick things off, I met Danny and Simon, the co-founders of RaisedBy.Us to see how we could encourage more employees to give. They had some awesome ideas, one of them being an art installation!
“What are those yellow gas containers doing around the office?”.
The cans were a gift from our friends at Charity:Water, a New York City Charity that 10gen employees could donate to through RaisedBy.Us. To increase the hype around the last day of our 2-week donation blitz with RaisedBy.Us, we decided to bombard the office with yellow Jerry Cans! Simon, Danny and their friend Kate helped me lug 60 Jerry cans from Charity Water’s offices in Tribeca to 10gen’s offices in Times Square and create massive Jerry Can installations around the office.
So what’s the deal with the yellow Jerry Cans. Made to be used as gas containers, in the developing world Jerry cans are often used to haul and store drinking water. Charity:Water, sees the Jerry Can as a central image of the water crisis. People in the developing world, mostly women and children, spend over 40 billion hours a year carrying water from the source to their homes. For reference, NYC commuters spend about 2.8 billion hours a year commuting (that’s 8 million people commuting to work 5 days per week). Charity:Water is helping people in these communities gain access to clean drinking water, by bringing pumps and other resources to local communities, so they spend less time seeking out clean water, and more time supporting their families. The yellow Jerry Cans were a huge hit. Immediately, people started donating. A bunch of my coworkers actually came up to me and asked what charities I recommended, while some others emailed and confessed to giving into peer pressure and donating. Still, we only had about 8% of employees giving. So I needed some help.
Simon and Danny were there to coach me along the way. They suggested some great ideas, including getting some of my colleagues to send an email blast to the entire company naming their charity pledges. Oddly enough, it got viral, and everyone who donated began sharing their pledged charities. This made the numbers go up dramatically and close to the end of the day both of the co-founders were at our offices, watching the excitement. Our CEO, Max Schireson, noticed that we weren’t doing a company match, and decided to match the percentage of employees participating with the full amount raised. So if we raised 500 with a 10% participation rate, Max would donate $50.
At the end of Friday’s fundraising blitz, 10gen raised $23,070 for the charities of our choice through RaisedBy.Us! 25% of Employees gave a total of $18,456, and Max was generous enough to match our giving by donating $4,614 (25% of the total giving), bringing us over the $20,000 threshold. It was so exciting to see all of our US employees coming together to raise money for causes we care about. We’re doing our next round in 6 months. Not sure what schemes we’ll have next!