Toronto-based technology firm Uberflip is shaping its company culture by giving back to worthwhile causes.
“When you give people an opportunity to be charitable, they’re almost grateful for that,” says Randy Frisch, president and co-founder of Uberflip. “They want those opportunities, but they don’t always know where to start. When they’re part of a business that gives back, they have pride in both the company and themselves.”
Uberflip is a long-time supporter of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and is one of several technology businesses taking part in Tech4SickKids, an initiative to raise $25 million for a new emergency room at the hospital. In addition to lump-sum donations, several of the companies involved have also established corporate donation matching programs for employees contributing to the initiative, according to a press release. Beyond financial support, Frisch says Uberflip employees have also given their time by reading books to Sick Kids’ patients.
Uberflip’s charitable partnership with the hospital started in 2014, after the company decided to contribute part of its annual revenue to the facility. These annual contributions have grown alongside the company, raising a total of $160,000 and becoming a rallying point for employees, says Frisch.
“We started our company in 2012 and my co-founder and I did little things on the side to be charitable, but it wasn’t ingrained in our company culture. As we started to grow, it became a tricky thing because as a start-up tech company, the mentality is every dollar you earn should be invested in growing the business. We said to ourselves, ‘If we don’t start now, when are we going to start?’”
In addition to the Sick Kids initiative, Uberflip employees can nominate causes or charities for support, which Frisch says further strengthens the company’s culture. Among the recent causes nominated is supporting coronavirus pandemic relief efforts in India, where several employees have family members.
“It creates this mindset that we’re connected to our customers and all sorts of organizations and the ability of being able to put your hand up and say, ‘There’s an important cause to me’ or one of our stakeholders. [It’s] a nice way to give back. . . . We have an employee who’s been with us for six years and they give to a children’s cancer charity — we do something with them every year. It helps him create a bond between working with us and this organization.”
These efforts also translate to increased motivation and teamwork, as well as higher rates of employee retention. “There’s so many benefits to giving back,” says Frisch. “The first is, depending on what you’re trying to solve as a company, it can be motivating in terms of growth and passion. But when you go home and tell your spouse or family that your company is giving back, there’s an element of pride. . . . Those intangibles can make a difference in getting someone to think about how their employer backs what’s important to them.”