The Charity Challenge: Why giving isn’t as simple as it seems

December 14, 2015 | Justin Gray | No Comments |

If you’ve been the recipient of clickbait journalism in the last week, you’ve likely been witness to the blowback over Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement about he and his family’s charitable plans for the future.

I’ll spare you my opinions on this topic, with the exception of what you might already have inferred from the opening paragraph so far, save to say that giving isn’t as easy to do as you may expect.

In fact, for years I’ve been struggling with both our company’s charitable strategy as well as my own.

Giving away money is easy … right?

You might think that giving away money and time is easy. Perhaps it should be. Add in a lot of opinions, the structures that must be put in place to give efficiently, and the opinions of everyone and you have a rat’s nest on your hands. The same hands that are now being thrown in the air while you mumble something about opinions and assholes and how both truly are in surplus.

Let’s rewind a bit. Our goal at LeadMD has always been to give away 1% of our time and 1% of our revenues (revenues, not profits). It’s not an innovative idea. We stole it from like many other companies. It should be noted that they also provide 1% of their product but as our product is time, I figured a good way to equalize that was to simply shift up to a function of revenues rather than profit and it would then even out in the wash.


So, since day one we have been very good at giving charitably from a financial perspective but very poor at giving our time. Time, as you know, flies.

I should clarify that when I say we are great at giving monetarily, I simply mean we are great at checking the box. Over the course of the year, we make attempts to poll the team around where their charitable passions lie. We’ve sponsored walks for cancer, we’ve taken very cool groups of kids with learning disabilities surfing, we’ve collected T-shirts and sponsored golf tournaments. These activities have been awesome, but I always have that creeping doubt that we haven’t made the most out of our efforts because they are a bit all over the board.

For me, giving shouldn’t be an afterthought or something that you hurry through. There should be a sense of unity in both strategy as well as team. So, for 2016 we wanted to do something different. This year we are finally doing two things that I think are innovative and I’m really excited to see how they work.

The breakdown

First, at this year’s holiday party we gave each member of the LeadMD team a FitBit fitness tracker. Now, 32 bright green bands adorn our wrists. They’re hard to miss and that’s part of the goal. We will donate .0005 cents per step, with the goal of getting each employee to hit at least 10,000 steps per day. A high, but attainable goal. There is no cap on steps. If each employee hits their 10,000 steps per day goal for the year, LeadMD will be at it’s charitable goal of 1% of top line revenue.

Giving is easy, giving to the right cause is often hard to do. With this program, our company also realizes an immediate benefit of health along with making an impact through giving. So, I’m optimistic.

I’m even more excited about the second pillar of this 2016 plan – the time plan. At LeadMD time is our greatest resource, so billable hours govern most of what we do. In the past, we’ve always held to the notion that we want our employees to be involved in the community, but the billable hour requirement can sometimes hinder the execution around this.

For 2016, we are removing that barrier by not only allowing time from work to participate in the community through time donation but we’re also giving them billable hours credit. For those non-consultants out there, let me clarify why this is a big deal. This means that we are in essence doubling our donation as we are crediting the hour and also giving up the chance to bill it.

We need your help!

As I stated before we want to make an impact, but we also want to spread the love around to charities our group feels passionately about. For this reason, we are supporting a different charitable cause each calendar quarter. For Q1, we’ve chosen F*ck Cancer, which in-and-of itself just oozes LeadMD, right down to the name. Beyond that – well that’s the reason for this post. We are looking for great charities to partner with for the rest of this year.

Causes close to our hearts are: Autism research, children’s health, and animal well-being. We hope to find a great organization that aligns to each of these with your help.

Please email me directly at to talk further, and help us reach our goals for giving in 2016 and beyond. We are hoping to use fitness, our resources, and the undeniable spirit of our employees to make an impact on our surrounding community. In the process, we look to focus our efforts into a more intentional strategy and like everything we do here at LeadMD, we hope to provide hyper value.

Leave a Comment

Want more? Here's some related content


#MAfails: New to Marketing Automation and Looking With Your Eyes Shut

My most memorable fail in the marketing automation world happened when I was still pretty...

Do You Have It? Thoughts on the "Optimism Effect"

I often wonder: is optimism an inherent, or learned skill? I hope it can be...

The Two Things Your Business Must Have to Grow

When I graduated from college way back when (can a little more than a decade...
email best practices ebook

Walking the Talk: Email Best Practices

 Here's how WE talk to OUR clients about email. (more…)
click to convert: landing page best practices

Click to Convert: All You Need to Know About Landing Pages

The only guide you need for consistently high converting landing pages. (more…)

Content Planning Checklist

Your first step in the right direction to creating high caliber content is a content...

Back to the Marketing Future: From Demand Gen to Account-Based Marketing

Great marketing doesn't require stolen uranium. And while we may not need roads where we're...
Email Subject lines ebook

Email Subject Lines: How to Write Enticing Copy that Readers Can't Resist

With the rise of digital marketing, businesses are using multiple platforms like social media and...