CEO of Peter Coppinger discusses standing for more than money–and a new initiative that gets the whole team involved in choosing what causes the company gives back to and supports.

It’s no secret that I want to be an amazing company in every sense. However, in order to be a truly great company, we can’t just rely on profit alone to measure our worth or impact.
Sure the bottom line is important. But to be a truly great company–you need a purpose beyond profit.
Profit is important, but there are a couple of other factors I use when measuring’s success. These include our reputation as a company that:

  • Builds world-class software
  • Offers our team a great place to work
  • Always prioritise our users
  • Stands for more than just money

Once Teamwork’s financial status moved from “on its feet” to “profitable,” I knew it was time to start standing for more than money. I felt this so strongly that I made it one of’s company values. To put this value into practice, we decided it was time for Teamwork to give back.
Last November, Dan and I decided that in 2017 we would give 1% of 2016’s profits back to great causes, but we decided not to choose them alone.

How We’re Making Giving a Team Effort

The decision about what cause(s) a company gives back to is usually a decision made by the leaders of a company. We didn’t think this would be a very fitting option for–a company where collaboration underpins our existence and our approach to everything we do.
After discussing things with Dan, we both decided that we needed to put the decision about the contributions should make into the hands of our team. Rather than asking every member of our team to reach consensus on a single cause that deserved a large contribution, we thought the best option was to allow each team to take a chunk of the 1% and choose which cause they wanted to give back to.
In 2016 we posted a profit of €4 million so the donations made in 2017 will total €40,000 split between each of our teams.
Here’s how we plan to divide up the donations for each team:
Note: These allocations were based on the number of team members on each team when we announced the 1% initiative on our internal blog in November 2016.

Teamwork’s Guidelines for Giving

We want to to give our teams the freedom to choose a great cause that benefits the world, even in a small way, so we’re placing very few rules on the funds we give them. Teams can donate the money all at once or bit by bit. We’re fine if it goes to a local GAA (sports) team, cancer research, school books, laptops for unprivileged kids, guide dogs, whatever… so long as:

  1. The entire team agrees on the spend.
  2. The donation won’t personally benefit an employee like a relative’s cake shop.
  3. It will help to make the world a better place.

This framework gives each team member the chance to participate in an act of generosity as they worked with their team to determine who should get the funds.
Last year, before we introduced the 1% initiative we donated €2k to Reimagine Cork, a local community effort that’s rejuvenating historic buildings and public spaces so every corner of the city reflects the imagination and innovation of the people who live here.

Reimagine Cork -- Teamwork
Reimagine Cork’s international ‘welcome’ boxes to show Cork’s friendly side.

We’re excited to see how all our teams decide how to use their funds. Make sure to check in with us at the end of 2017 to find out more about the causes that received contributions.

Giving Back More Than Money

Our 1% initiative is just one part of the contributions that is making. We’re also working on a couple of other initiatives to support and build the Irish SaaS sector.
I’ll be discussing these efforts in more detail in an upcoming post, so make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any updates.