One of my favorite columnists, Mike Cassidy at the San Jose Mercury News, just wrote about how one of my favorite companies (yes, the one that I work for!) has distinguished itself with an innovative corporate-philanthropy program. And, as his column points out, he’s not the only one who thinks so:
Scott Henderson, who’s advised corporations on giving strategies, says corporate philanthropy is typically a top-down operation fueled by the company’s money. But Yahoo’s approach reflects some key Silicon Valley values, he says.
“It’s more reflective of the individual, democratic ways of the Internet,” says Henderson, a managing director of CauseShift, a Massachusetts marketing consultancy….
it could be that a new workforce demands new methods to give money away. The latest generations of workers expect to be in on workplace decisions, whether it’s the direction of the next product or the direction of philanthropic donations.
As a journalist and as a marketer, I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand your audience. And as this San Jose Mercury News column shows, Yahoo! structured this philanthropic program around an intimate understanding of its audience — Yahoo! employees — both in terms of their values underpinning how to make decisions and their motivations for doing good in society.
This is another example of how the creative thinking and the can-do spirit that permeate Silicon Valley — from the schools to the local governments to the corporations to the social scene — make this such a stimulating and rewarding place to live and work.