Box.org, Box's social impact initiative and what we like to call our embedded social enterprise, celebrated its fifth birthday this past week - happy birthday, Box.org! The leadership team recently spent time hiking and reflecting on the digital and general capacity building we've pursued with the nonprofit sector during the past five years. We also celebrated the progress we've made supporting our three main stakeholders: nonprofits, Boxers (Box employees) and Box (the company).
We decided the words that summarized our recent efforts were: collaborative, community and blueprints. We discussed the exciting path ahead of us and arrived at two theme phrases for Box.org's near future efforts: Empowered Ecosystem and Structured Impact. The goal of this post is to celebrate with the entire Box community on some key metrics, the structures underpinning them, what lies ahead and how folks can get involved.
Box.org's mission is to power how the world does more good together. Since our founding in 2014, Box.org has mobilized to serve and elevate nonprofits via three pillars: Box Technology, Boxers and Box Inc. Here's a quick glimpse into the status of all three:
We're pleased that more than 8,500 nonprofits have joined the Box community and decided to utilize our technology in their work to achieve their critical missions. We continue to offer our solution donated or at a significant discount to eligible nonprofits. We also offer complimentary coaching from Boxers in order to ensure a nonprofit understands how to get the most out of the Box offering.
Our nonprofit community ranges from organizations with just a few staff such as Think of Us, to some of the largest in the world like the International Rescue Committee. At Think of Us, the team is focused on leveraging innovative technology to improve the lives of youth in foster care. They lean on Box for a digital locker, where an individual's confidential and critical documents can be stored, such as a driver's license, social security card etc. (learn more here). The IRC utilizes Box as the platform layer for their intranet to provide lightning fast information to thousands of employees at once (read more here).
We're thrilled that more and more nonprofits have chosen Box as their cloud content management solution. But we know that much more important than numbers, is understanding the type of impact our technology and program is having and whether they are actually helping nonprofits achieve their missions. As such, we launched our first annual Box.org survey a couple months back in an effort to learn more about the impact of our program, and to better understand what is important to our nonprofits. We were moved that 96% of respondents said that Box technology and Box.org programs had improved their ability to fulfill their mission. We take that as validation that we are headed the right direction, and this further motivates us in our quest to better enable our nonprofit community.
As we reflect, we're also grateful for our partnerships. #ImpactCloud, a coalition we created with peers including Okta, Salesforce, DocuSign and more, meets regularly to discuss challenges, how we can operate more effectively, and where it makes sense for us to jointly invest. We recently held a meeting with the United Nations to discuss the digital divide, and as a group we will be funding a tech accelerator with Full Circle Fund to enable the scale of tech centered nonprofits addressing society's most pressing challenges.
Finally, with our commitment to building digital capacity, we continue to value and invest in our partnerships with TechSoup, NetHope and NTEN. We are a founding member of the NetHope Center for the Digital Nonprofit, and invest in research that helps inform and guide large nonprofits through digital transformation. We also announced a grant this year for TechSoup that helps fund a digital assessment and guidance tool and program for smaller nonprofits.
Among other insights, we learned in our survey that our nonprofit community is eager for more online training, webinars, mentorship, and partner guides to better leverage our technology. This will be a focus for us as we continue our commitment to building nonprofit digital capacity.
In the past year, we energized and expanded our giving and volunteering engagement with nonprofits. Since we added employee engagement as an official arm of Box.org two years ago, we've gone from 5% to 74% Boxer participation in our Box.org giving and volunteering opportunities. This has been made possible through amazing Box.org Committee Leads in each of our major offices who have built the structures to scale impact, organized all giving and volunteering opportunities in their regions, and partnered more closely with our Employee Resource Groups and Chief Fun Officers (it's a real role here!). One of our biggest internal feats was collaboratively pulling off our very first Global Holiday Impact Day last December, where we had opportunities for Boxers in 19 cities across 7 countries to engage with over 35 nonprofits in their communities. In addition to group efforts, we've seen continued commitment to weekly virtual tutoring through TutorMate in our SF Bay Area, NYC, and London offices.
We've also continued to evolve our volunteering to incorporate more skills-based opportunities, continuing our work with Team4Tech, and adding new programs like our Box.org Coaching Corps and Skills Swaps. At each of our internal and external events, we've ensured that Boxers and customers have an opportunity to take action. We've also seen teams such as our Sales Engineering organization take the reigns and make impact an important part of their off-sites and gatherings.
Since opening our doors, it has been important to us that we welcome the community into our offices. In partnership with local nonprofits and schools, we host career visits in our offices, showing a "day in the life of a Boxer" and providing workshops on building skills for the workplace. We also open our space whenever possible for nonprofits to use for their gatherings. This past year, this took the form of BUILD's student sales bazaar, FFWD's Demo Day, an Idea Lab with Full Circle Fund, and more!
We are excited for another year of growing Box.org employee focused programs and opportunities to achieve #MoreGoodTogether!
Box technology and Boxer volunteering contribute greatly to nonprofit enablement. However, when both are combined with Box's brand reach, office spaces, philanthropic capital and good business practices, even more enablement and resulting societal benefit emerges. Box.org's mobilization of Box's resources for nonprofits has evolved since our founding. More and more nonprofit enablement comes online every year. Here are a few examples that stand out:
- Box puts nonprofits in the spotlight at our annual BoxWorks conference. Hundreds of Box.org eligible nonprofits attend the annual event on full scholarship every year and are featured in keynotes.
- Box mobilizes funds, volunteers and other assets during times of crisis. We responded robustly during the refugee crisis with the IRC, NorCal fires with Tipping Point Community, Puerto Rico hurricane, Texas flooding and many other natural disasters.
- Box’s People team partners with Box.org to award a $500 donation credit per referral to any Boxer referring a new colleague. Hundreds of thousands of charitable dollars have flowed to nonprofits through this much adored practice called Boxer Referral Bonus’ for Good.
- Box’s IT organization partners extensively with fantastic workforce development organizations like Year Up Bay Area, Upwardly Global, Job Train, Genesys works, Stride Center and JVS San Francisco Bay Area to bring extraordinary talent with less traditional backgrounds to Box, and it’s incredible to watch their promotions and career growth.
- Box contributes cash and equity into the Box.org Fund which is a donor advised fund (DAF) housed at the Tides Foundation in San Francisco. In addition to a quarterly donation, Box deposits a percentage of the heavily discounted subscription revenue contributed by the global nonprofit sector back to the fund each quarter. Boxers are also known to donate equity or cash to the fund. As of this week $644,000 in grants have now been contributed from the fund to support Boxer volunteering mobilization and partnerships; direct unrestricted general operating gifts (especially to nonprofits focused on youth, inclusion and humanitarian aid); and innovative and sustainable partnerships with leading digital capacity building ecosystems for nonprofits like NetHope, TechSoup, Fast Forward, Full Circle Fund, TAG, Tech Bridge, Tech Impact.
We are powering how the world does more good together by forming, joining and super-charging strategic coalitions with our tech sector peers. We never hesitate to inspire, mobilize and advise our commercial sector peers endeavoring to weave social impact into their business and operating models. We're active members the Pledge 1% movement and were first to fund Pledge 1%’s “Builders” group which helps companies transition from pledge to action! We're excited to report that dozens of organizations Box.org advises have accelerated their contributions to society by learning from our mistakes and successes. We hope many leaders reading this post will contact the Pledge 1% team or us to super-charge your social impact as you scale.
For five years, Box.org has made incredible progress achieving our mission by contributing Box technology to more than 8,500 nonprofits, Boxer volunteer capacity, office and event space, in-kind gifts, awareness generation and philanthropic grants. We're excited about the digital and overall operating capacity we’ve helped nonprofit build, but are even more excited about where we'll go from here.
So, what’s ahead?
- Growth in the number of enabled nonprofits succeeding with Box technology
- More Boxers sharing their skills and weaving nonprofit success into their leadership journey
- Scaling the amount contributed by the Box.org Fund and Boxers
- Strategic partnerships and programs in key areas such as workforce development
- Additional tangible progress for the coalitions we’ve founded or joined
- More Box Good Practices created and scaled
Please don’t forget, we proudly donate Box to nonprofits at www.box.org.