The Giving What We Can Company Pledge asks businesses to give at least 10% of their profits to highly effective charities.
"I, [name of authorised person], recognise that [company] can use part of its profits to do a significant amount of good. I pledge that from [start date], [company] shall give at least [pledge percent] of net profits to whichever organisations can most effectively use it to improve the lives of others, now and in the years to come. I make this pledge freely, openly, and sincerely."
The Company Pledge asks that you pledge at least 10% of net profits to highly effective organisations, but we have several member companies that are donating significantly more than 10%, and in some cases, 100% of profits.
The spirit of the pledge is that it is a “meaningful portion” – high enough that it’s a serious commitment, but not so high that it’s detrimental (e.g. prevents investors, hurts employees, etc). We suggest you think carefully about what percentage you’d like to pledge.
Given that some companies aren’t profitable (or can shift profits around), each company is required to make some fallback conditions. For example, a startup might pledge $500 per employee for the first two years and then at least 1% of sales revenue until 10% of net profits is greater. This will be determined based on the company’s business model and circumstances; again, the goal is to pledge a meaningful amount.
Profits are determined by the company year based on their own financial year. Companies will be expected to make their donations once profits are known, in their next financial year.
The company chooses their own start date and the profits and donations are calculated on a pro rata basis (e.g. if their financial year starts on January 1 and their pledge start date is July 2nd, then the pledged amount for that year would be 10% of ~50% of that year's profits).
Similar to the pledges for individuals, we try to harmonise the effect of taxes on the amount pledged. In most cases, donations are tax-deductible for businesses or able to be claimed as an expense (or possibly a sponsorship if done in certain ways). If the donations are not tax-deductible in your region, please contact us to discuss this case so we can help advise on the appropriate amount.
If a member has a personal pledge (% of income) that they are paying from company withholdings, then this is considered their personal pledge as per their income (basically, it’s workplace giving). If they are listed as a company pledge, then they are additionally committing to profits from the company.
Of course, both the company and employee/founder are welcome to donate more than their pledged amount.
None of the employees or shareholders are required to have existing GWWC pledges for the company to take the Company Pledge.
Similar to the personal pledges, companies can resign from its pledge at any time by writing to us. The company will simply be removed from the list of company pledges on our website.
If a company pledged higher than 10% and wants to reduce back to 10% without resigning, they can write to us to let us know they are making this change and previous donations could be considered "credit" (i.e. putting them ahead of the 10% pledge).
We encourage companies to discuss specific circumstances that might affect their pledge with Giving What We Can. We will work cooperatively with companies to help them act within the spirit of their pledge and if it’s no longer the right fit for them then they are free to resign. In these cases, Giving What We Can will be appreciative of the giving and advocacy that they engaged in for the duration of their pledge.
View the list of companies who have taken the Giving What We Can Company Pledge: