Earlier this week, I was privileged to join Cisco employees and executives to sort 27,100 pounds of food at the Second Harvest food bank in Silicon Valley. This food will go to help the 1 in 4 Santa Clara and San Mateo County residents at risk for hunger – roughly 625,000 individuals.
This event is just one part of Cisco’s largest annual giving campaign to help stop global hunger in Silicon Valley and around the world. We’re in the middle of our 12th annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign, involving over 160 food agencies worldwide.
Since we started this effort, we have raised $40 million dollars for hunger relief, which translates into 160 million meals for those who need it most.
And this year, the bar is set high. We’re in the midst of a two-month effort to raise $1.8 million in employee donations for hunger relief, most of which will then be matched by the Cisco Foundation.
At Cisco, giving back is part of our DNA. I’m proud to be a part of this effort to help stop global hunger. And I’d encourage all of my Cisco colleagues to consider making a donation or volunteering at a local food bank during this holiday season.
Together, we can really make a difference.
Cisco execs and employees sorting food for Second Harvest
It’s the holiday season, and ’tis the season for giving!
Since one-third of donations occur in the month of December (source: Network for Good, Chronicle of Philanthropy), digital plays an increasing role in expanding the reach of requests for donations, in creating a propensity to give, and in delivering connected experiences that even themselves provide community benefit.
Known as ‘digital philanthropy,’ more and more donations are digital and utilizing mobile, social media, web and video. Growth of online donating has increased to 11.8% year-over-year, while overall giving increased 3.8% (source: Blackbaud, Charitable Giving Report: How Nonprofit Fundraising Performed in 2012, February 2013).
Easy Giving via Text Message
Donations come in all sizes and packages. The one we often hear about most is donating money via text message. To donate for typhoon relief in the Philippines via the Salvation Army, for example, all you need to do is text TYPHOON to 80888. And with just a click or two you’ve made a contribution. Quick, simple and immediate.
Cisco’s 63,000 employees live and work in hundreds of cities globally. No matter where we are, we’re committed to using our expertise and conducting our business in a way that ultimately benefits our communities. That’s core to our culture. Our 2011 Global Hunger Relief Campaign, which just closed, raised a record $4.1 million. It’s a vital example of the power that arises when employees take action and leverage networks – both human and technology – to multiply our impact.
Over two months, our employees donated $1.6 million to more than 130 food agencies through Cisco’s unique global matching gifts IT solution, Community Connection. That tool allowed us to quickly aggregate and approve donations, and disburse matching funds from the Cisco Foundation and Chairman Emeritus John Morgridge’s TOSA Foundation, bringing the total delivered to $4.1 million. Employees also volunteered thousands of hours to food agencies, recording that time in the tool to deliver additional matching funds.
For 15 years, Cisco has united with food agencies to help serve hungry people. Our employees give significant time and expertise, along with corporate product donations, to multiply the impact of each dollar donated. So, although our campaign delivers critical support, it’s only part of a multi-layered community strategy that ensures nonprofits maximize efficiency and scalability by using networking technologies. That’s why, in part, agencies are providing 28 million meals with Cisco’s 2011 campaign proceeds.
When our network of employees connects to a common purpose, impact multiplies. We all can access a network – online or through friends, families and villages – to make extraordinary change. Learn more about Cisco’s work in communities around the world at our new CSR website, launched today.
This post was authored by my colleague Jessica Kelly (@JessGoddesse)
If you’re wondering why social media should be an key part of your communications strategy, just note these current statistics demonstrating the ubiquity of the medium:
Facebook now boasts more than 800 million active users worldwide, and more than half of these log on to the network on any given day.
Twitter too is no slouch (and growing), with 200 million registered users, one quarter of whom tweet daily.
Want more justifying numbers? A recent infographic on MediaBistro lists more compelling stats―like, say, the fact that 56% of consumers are likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan on Facebook, and 20% of marketers have closed sales using Twitter.
Given that social media networks are timely (if not immediate) communications platforms that are interactive, and therefore― if used correctly (that is, authentically)―engaging, their success in marketing should come as no surprise. Read More »
Recently, I visited Arletta Jorgenson, an American single mother of three who relies on food pantries to help feed her family (see video below). Arletta, who lost her job as an administrative assistant three years ago and has survived on public assistance ever since, reminds us that financial hardship can happen to anyone – our neighbors, our cousins, colleagues…and us.
In the U.S., 49 million people are “food insecure” (families with at least one member who sometimes is hungry because they can’t afford enough food), according to Feeding America. These people aren’t necessarily homeless – or even unemployed. In fact, more than a third of them have at least one working adult.