The end of 2017 brought lots of joy at Buffer. It was the best financial position we’d seen ourselves in in a few years and the team was excited to celebrate. Our CEO, Joel Gascoigne, and Director of Finance, Caryn Hubbard added to the celebrations with the wonderful news that they had managed to set aside money for Buffer to donate to charity.
The whole Buffer team has recently been involved in choosing charities, talking about their merits, and helping us decide as a team where to send the donation. Organizations who support charities are not scarce and we’re proud to be joining the ranks in a small way.
We’re thrilled to have donated a total of $50,000 to seven incredible charities this year.
As a profitable company, we believe in giving back to the community, in supporting charities, and in all around helping contribute to a better world. It feels like the right thing to do for the Buffer team to take advantage of the better financial position we’ve put ourselves in and give to others.
We’re going to share a little bit more about how we got the team involved and the charities we’re supporting below. Let’s dive in!
How We Chose Which Charities to Support
With the resources to be able to give a donation to charity, we got quite excited to involve the team. We love every opportunity to put decisions to a team vote (for example our retreat location was voted on by the team) and wanted to make sure that deciding on charities would be a transparent and collaborative effort.
It was a two-step process to narrow in on which charities we would support.
First, we had the team nominate any organization they thought we should help, with a few guidelines:
- Transparency: Does this organization practice transparency in its financials and processes so we can see where our money would be used?
- Size: Would a contribution of our size feel like fairly small to this organization, or would it be a difference-making figure?
- Values: Does this organization have a tie to Buffer’s vision and values and/or your own values? If so, what is it?
- Qualified: Is the organization a registered 501(c)3 non-profit? (We limited donations to U.S.-based organizations this year.)
Finally, we had the team vote on their top three from our list of nominated organizations.
Here are a few great websites we recommended to the team for further research into each charity before they voted:
- Overall info: GuideStar
- Financial health, accountability, and transparency: Charity Navigator
- Financial details: Nonprofit Explorer
- Accountability: Give.org (this is an incomplete source but might be helpful nonetheless)
Putting this decision to a vote helped refine the list to the charities closest to the hearts of those at Buffer and the number of votes influencers how we would disperse the $50,000.
The Charities We Support at Buffer
We are over-the-moon to be able to support seven incredible charities this year. Here is each of them with our donation size (this was based on how many teammates voted for the organization.)
Charity:Water – $15,000
Charity: Water received the most votes from Buffer teammates, they bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. This can change lives in so many ways. Instead of collecting water all day, those who benefit from this organization’s work have the chance to have an education or to learn a trade.
Restoration Place – $10,000
Restoration Place provides long-term aftercare for girls ages 11 – 17 who have been abused, neglected, sexually exploited, and specifically those rescued from sex trafficking. This organization helps victims become victors through spiritual guidance, equine therapy, trauma-focused therapy, art, music, education, and physical activity. Their current activities include educating the public on human trafficking, how to identify and respond; working with adolescents on prevention and identification, and developing and implementing fundraising activities to provide a home for survivors.
GiveWell – $7,500
GiveWell is dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of their analysis to help donors decide where to give. It’s a fully transparent organization that removes bias from charitable donations using evidence-based research. Although it is U.S. based, it has a global focus on direct aid.
Southern Poverty Law Center – $7,500
Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society, using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy. Using the law, this org has toppled institutional racism; destroyed some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist groups; and protected the civil rights of children, women, the disabled, immigrants and migrant workers, the LGBT community, prisoners, and others who faced discrimination or exploitation.
GiveDirectly – $5,000
GiveDirectly targets extremely low-income households and transfers cash to households in developing countries via mobile phone-linked payment services. Besides helping people living in poverty, GiveDirectly also gathers the data to advocate for basic income, which is increasingly considered to be one of the key components to make sure more people will have more meaningful work now, and in the future.
The Food Trust – $2,500
The Food Trust’s mission is to make sure everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and the information to make healthy decisions. They are actively working in local communities (that don’t have any grocery stores with fruits and vegetables) to increase healthy food access. They’re making a tangible difference every day to children and their families!
Susie’s Senior Dogs – $2,500
Susie’s Senior Dogs works to bring awareness to the plight of and sponsor veterinary care of homeless senior dogs. Senior dogs have so much love to give but are often overlooked by adopters. These special beings often fall through the cracks. They make wonderful companions and they simply need to be given the chance.
Over to You
We’d love to hear from you! Which charities would you nominate next year and why?
Photo by Scott Webb