For big companies like Google (s GOOG), Salesforce (s CRM) and Microsoft (s MSFT), being active in charitable causes is practically a must-do. Companies of this size often have entire teams of employees focused on philanthropic initiatives and organizing company-wide volunteering events. But at smaller companies that don’t have the same infrastructure in place, employees often don’t have the same opportunities to give back, on-the-job.
That’s where a new software platform built by Los Angeles-based startup Causecastcomes in. This week Causecast debuted its Employee Impact Platform, a web-based program that connects companies and their employees with non-profits and charitable causes. With Causecast, employers can select a group of causes to which they’ll provide matching donations to whatever employees give. The platform can also be used to organize company-wide volunteering events. Non-profits plug into Causecast for free, and companies are generally charged a flat rate of around $5 per user per month.
Causecast founder Ryan Scott walked me through a demo of the new platform. To me, the best part to me is how easy Causecast makes it to spend extra-curricular time with your co-workers doing something other than going out for happy hour drinks. Non-profits of course will benefit from more companies donating time and money to their causes — but according to Scott, companies benefit a lot as well. He put it like this:
“Employees who aren’t engaged with their jobs aren’t as productive. And it sounds counter-intuitive, but you often have to leave the office to become more engaged with your work, and with your co-workers. Volunteering is a really great way to get everyone together outside of the office to do something bigger than themselves.”
Causecast, which was founded in 2007, currently has 30 employees. Thus far, Causecast has been self-funded by Scott, who first became known in the late 1990s for co-founding NetCreations, where he created and patented the “double opt-in” process that propelled the email marketing industry. After selling NetCreations in an all-cash deal in 2001, Scott said, he decided to find a way to merge his desire to do some good in the world while still staying active in business.
When Causecast first launched, it was an online platform to let all people contribute to charitable causes touted by celebrities and brands. The shift into the enterprise space is a smart one, as small businesses are becoming increasingly important parts of the employment landscape and the general public is calling more and more for corporations to behave responsibly. With Causecast, small businesses can compete with larger, more established companies when it comes to offering their employees ways to give back. It’ll be interesting to see how the new iteration of Causecast takes off in the months ahead.