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Corporate Philanthropy: CIOs can Lead the Way to a New Type of Philanthropy

In the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our economies and societies, and on the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, I have been thinking a lot about how CIOs can lead in giving back to the world.

Corporate Philanthropy: CIOs are Well-Positioned to Help

CIOs have gained a greater role as influencers in the last two decades. The need to constantly innovate, regulate, and increase the derived value from technology and data, CIOs have started to shift from a purely technological role into a more business-oriented role. In fact, according to the Spencer Stuart S&P 500 Board Trends 2019, board members with technology backgrounds account for the largest group of Board Directors at the top companies around the world.

With an ever-increasing role comes responsibility. When you have the ear of the company decision makers, it’s time to put that influence to work to make the world a better place. Advocating for giving back to the communities in which we serve is an important responsibility that should be embraced.

So, what are some of these socially responsible causes?

The UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals and Why They Matter to Corporate Philanthropy

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are 17 causes that will drive a better and more sustainable future for the world. The goals are:

  1. No Poverty

  2. Zero Hunger

  3. Good Health and Well-being

  4. Quality Education

  5. Gender Equality

  6. Clean Water and Sanitization

  7. Affordable and Clean Energy

  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

  9. Industry Innovation and Infrastructure

  10. Reduced Inequalities

  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

  12. Responsible Consumption and Production

  13. Climate Action

  14. Life on Land

  15. Life Below Water

  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  17. Partnerships for the Goals

Helping any of these causes should come in addition to one’s organizations current philanthropic activities.

Corporate Philanthropy: Enterprises are Doing a Lot to Give Back, but We Collectively can Do More

What is your organization doing for charities? I’ve seen some great examples while at Bank of New York Mellon last serving as a divisional CIO of its Asset Servicing business. The Bank not only had philanthropic avenues, but it encouraged employees to share their generosity in both time and money. In 2019, over $8 million dollars were donated by Bank of New York Mellon’s employees and through its donation matching program. By mobilizing over 20,000 employees, the bank also volunteered over 130,000 hours.

Matching programs and an outreach to your employees are best practices for enterprises who are serious about philanthropy, but is that enough? Is there a way to passively give back without adding pressure to your enterprise’s margins?

New Generation Platforms Emerge as New Avenue for Spend-Based Charity and Corporate Philanthropy

The world looks to the executives and leaders of enterprises to establish a positive ethical and socially responsible ground. CIOs often led the charge in creating efficiencies and eliminating expense for large multinational corporations, being that is the nature of IT.

Platforms are now emerging that offer philanthropic opportunities. Some of these platforms are about making business connections, attracting talent, or assist with buying software, cloud infrastructure or hardware. Because of the multiplier in value generated by platforms, some of them are starting to give back some of their own earnings.

One such platform is WholeSoft Market, whom I advise. WholeSoft Market introduces innovative B2B software products from around the world enabling enterprises to directly meet with software vendors to evaluate their products. The platform also donates 10% of its revenue to charities the software buyers can choose. In essence, without increasing your enterprises philanthropic spend, you can expand your charitable impact.

Hypothetically, if my former employer, Bank of New York Mellon, joined the WholeSoft Market program and went on buying all its software via the platform, the latter would donate to its key causes an amount equivalent to roughly 2% of its annual software spend. This would likely almost double its charity impact in 2019 of $8 million to almost $16 million. And, that’s without increasing any burden on its bottom line. Even if adoption of such a platform were to produce only a fraction of that, it sounds like a win-win situation to me.

To find out more about WholeSoft Market’s charitable approach, please visit: WholeSoft Market


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