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Living and Giving:

Stories And Causes You Care About

Simple Ideas Change the World

By Leo Ramirez Posted on February 17, 2016

The most powerful ideas are simple. They are what change the world. And always have. We had one that caused us to found our company. It’s this: Anyone can be a philanthropist. Encast believes giving is at the very nature of who we are as people. We want to help each other.

So, we are building a company to facilitate that giving. And there are a number of reasons we think that is important, not just for individuals but also for businesses. First, we looked at basic facts. According to the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), in 2014, the average annual American household donated $2,974 and gave $358.38 billion, which was an increase of 7.1% over 2013. Corporate giving also jumped 13.7% over that same time to reach $17.77 billion. The unavoidable conclusion is that people are generous and want to give.

NPT’s research shows we also like to give our time. In 2014, 64.5 million adults volunteered 7.9 billion hours of service worth an estimated $175 billion. The dollar value for each hour was estimated at $22.50. A lot of this happens without basic tools and technology that would simplify and increase charitable engagement.

Our idea at Encast was to build a cloud-based system that connected people to virtually any cause that might be of interest. We reach these donors, initially, through their employers. A business can offer our employee benefit service to its staff, which can deduct contributions from payroll and track volunteering activity on the go. The employee’s dashboard allows them to support from among 1.5 million organizations.

This makes a number of good things happen. When it’s easy, people give more. If an employee isn’t all that excited about donating to the company’s chosen charitable organizations, they can send their money to something that aligns with their interests. Furthermore, Encast intelligently recommends causes. Tools will track the hours they volunteer, establish personal metrics, and measure the impact of their generosity. At year end, a single receipt documents every donation. Of course, anyone can further promote their favorite causes through other social media channels.

Employers use their company dashboard to manage corporate giving and run customized campaigns aligned with its employees. Most importantly, they will discover that a work culture with giving in its DNA will attract and keep top talent. People want to work for companies that care. Millennials, in particular, believe that corporations concentrate too much on profit and not making the world a better place. At a time when employee retention is at an all time low of 3 years, company culture, enhanced with philanthropy, will create happier, more meaningful workplaces that keep people around.

Our motivation is to increase giving to make the world a better place. We want everyone realizing that the power to support our most important causes lies in their hands. In fact, 72% of all charitable giving in the U.S. comes from individuals. Pennies and minutes add up.

The best part is: Through Encast, we will make this possible without charging a fee to either the giver or the recipient cause.

We call our Giving as a Service™ (GaaS™) platform “WorkHERO™” because we think it will make heroes in workplaces and communities.

The world needs more heroes. We're the catalyst.


Author: Leo Ramirez

Leo is the co-founder and CEO of Encast, an organization dedicated to improving the way CSR professions create, manage, and measure CSR programs. Leo is passionate about the role that culture plays in business success. Leo has launched and managed social ventures, lead multi-disciplinary teams, and built solid relationships with civic and corporate leaders. His 25-year career has spanned executive management, business development, consulting, nonprofit management, technical support and engineering positions with Southwest Key Programs, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Coremetrics, Trilogy and Apple.

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