Together, We Can “Flatten the Curve”

March 17, 2020 Bryan de Lottinville

A global movement fueled by collective action

By now, you’ve probably received at least a hundred emails from the companies you do business with outlining the measures they are taking to maintain business during this time, and the precautions they are implementing to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Open and transparent communication is absolutely essential at a time like this, and we have done the same

And we want to convey a different message as well.

For those of you who know Benevity, you have likely heard me or others talk about one of our cultural underpinnings: “We Are We, Not Just Me.” This value is about humility and solving for others’ needs, not just one’s own. It’s not a political endorsement for one side or the other, it’s about doing the right thing; about taking responsibility for problems however caused, sharing in success, and recognizing the plain truth that together, we are better. We’ve been thinking a lot about this value as we’ve watched people and companies react to the spread of COVID-19 reaching pandemic levels. And we’ve realized that there’s an opportunity to use this value to impact not just the culture at Benevity, but maybe even the world.

Our mantra is to “infuse the world with a culture of Goodness” through our technology, and we’ve always believed that the collective power of small actions is the path to achieving it. We did a little video last year about the power of mobilizing “7.7 billion armies of one” around Goodness that is almost an eerie foreshadowing of what is required of us now. It is remarkable to see this notion literally manifesting before our eyes in an unprecedented example of how interdependent the world really is, and how we truly are a single community.

Collective Impact in Action 

Perhaps we can look at this pandemic differently. While no one would prefer that COVID-19 would be the catalyzing event, the fact is we have in front of us a social and societal challenge that crosses all geographies, ethnicities, religions, occupations, companies, governments – you name it. This is an equal opportunity threat. The virus has and will likely continue to stress people and institutions for months to come, and it requires us to think collectively – to embrace “We are We, Not Just Me” as a guiding principle to help “flatten the curve.” Whether it’s closing offices, businesses and borders, cancelling events and travel, self-quarantining, adopting social distancing, more frequent handwashing, or not hoarding supplies, the world is demanding that people and companies embrace a “We” orientation. There is tremendous power in this, and maybe even some learnings that may form the beginnings of habit.

How we respond to these challenges – both as companies and as people – may be more significant than anything we have ever done in our lives. 

There is also anxiety, and fear, and disconnection, and people and nonprofits in need, and a potential for people and governments to act selfishly instead of inclusively. How we respond to these challenges – both as companies and as people – may be more significant than anything we have ever done in our lives.

Compassion in Crisis

Benevity does not have all the answers. But we are doing all we can to continue to help companies help people be their best selves. And we want to do more.

With some of the world’s most iconic brands in our client community, we are uniquely positioned to see what purpose-led companies are doing to positively influence the trajectory of the spread of COVID-19, while seeking to support all of the people, communities and causes who are negatively impacted by this crisis. They (and we) are focused on addressing many of the social needs that are not likely to gain attention right now. Here’s some of what they are doing:

  • Running special matching campaigns for their employees to support vetted causes working around the world to help to manage the spread of COVID-19. Apple announced this just yesterday and many others are stepping up.
  • Shifting from in-real-life volunteering to virtual volunteering opportunities so their people and their communities can continue to benefit from their peoples’ time and talent. Instead of conventional volunteer opportunities, many companies are also promoting the idea of Acts of Goodness as something they can track and reward (buying groceries for people who are self-quarantined, helping the elderly, sharing supplies, etc.)
  • Sharing learning and awareness information to help their people take positive actions and maintain their physical and mental health during this period of social isolation.
  • Engaging their customers and the public in supporting organizations helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 or dealing with its consequential impact, through a public giving portal that offers matching dollars.
  • Reaching out to their non-profit partners to affirm that funding will remain as planned, and announcing new grants to communities and organizations in need, like Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia and others did recently.

With the stock markets tanking and commerce impacted world-wide, it may seem counter-intuitive to be thinking about giving back and helping others, but it is precisely what we need to do. As a company who strives to “walk the talk”, Benevity launched a public giving opportunity with a 1:1 donation match up to $300,000 as our way of amplifying your impact and stemming the spread of COVID-19.

The goal with all of this is to replace the pervasive sense of fear, helplessness and social isolation with a sense of hope, connectedness and optimism through collective action. The opportunity to get connected through Goodness and to something bigger may serve to buoy all of our spirits. We aim to bring even more tools and learning to everyone in the coming week through an online resource portal and community, which we hope will also help.

As a company who strives to “walk the talk”, Benevity launched a public giving opportunity with a 1:1 donation match up to $300,000 as our way of amplifying your impact and stemming the spread of COVID-19.

There is opportunity in this adversity that could change the world for the better. And we can all be the catalysts! When we are, of course, focused on keeping ourselves and our families safe, we can also give back to our communities and help those most vulnerable. When we are being asked to socially isolate and retreat from our normal lives, we can also create a sense of community and connection in new ways. And when we are overwhelmed by information, misinformation and decisions being made in uncharted territory, we must learn the facts and take action that is not only right for us as individuals, but also as a collective battling a common challenge. It takes all of us to flatten the curve. Together, We are a mighty force for collective impact.

UPDATE: Thanks to the generosity of our community, we matched $300,000 in public donations within a matter of a few short hours on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and encourage you to keep that Goodness going!

For the most up-to-date information on what actions Benevity is taking to support companies with resources and tools to manage the spread of COVID-19 and the social issues facing our broader community, visit our Business Continuity Hub.

About the Author

Bryan de Lottinville

Bryan de Lottinville is the Founder and CEO of Benevity, Inc., the leading provider of cloud-based software that powers purpose-driven business for hundreds of iconic brands. Known for espousing a democratized approach to corporate ‘Goodness’, Bryan provokes ideas that provide better social and business returns, while simultaneously tackling some of the biggest struggles in the social impact landscape.

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