At MailChimp, we love our hometown of Atlanta. Our company's values are humility, creativity, and independence, and we see those values reflected in the city all around us. In 2013, we decided to start investing in the city that made us who we are. We began partnering with local nonprofit organizations by identifying shared values and asking how we could help them succeed. Since then, we've invested more than $3 million in 90 small- and medium-sized nonprofits based here. Our aim is to make Atlanta better, weirder, and more human by increasing access to artistic excellence, encouraging considerate urbanism, and helping stop cycles of poverty.
Earlier this year though, we realized that most of our 500+ employees weren't aware of the extent of our community work and impact. So we decided it was high time to report back on our efforts.
In compiling this internal report (which we eventually made public, too), we wanted to inspire trust, facilitate understanding, and elicit an emotional reaction from our employees. We wanted to demonstrate to them the unique impact MailChimp has had in Atlanta over the past 3 years and illustrate how our community work and our company are strategically connected at the values level. Officially, our objective was to instill MailChimp employees with a real sense of pride. Unofficially, we wanted to make them cry big, fat, happy tears.
While brainstorming for the project, we kept coming back to the idea of an "investor report." MailChimp is proudly boot-strapped—we've never taken outside investments, and we don't have shareholders, so we've never had to issue a traditional "investor report." But we do have investors, of a sort: our own employees. Their hard work has made MailChimp's success possible, which in turn has made it possible for the company to invest more than $1 million annually into the Atlanta community on their behalf.
With this Investor Report, we wanted to give our employees a real sense of ownership in MailChimp's community work. We also wanted knowledge of our community work to be made public. When you see "investor relations" on a company's website, you usually expect to see financial information and a share price, but we wanted to subvert that expectation. Rather than discussing our bottom line, we wanted to show MailChimp's heart—and to prove that a company's involvement in its community can be both an outgrowth of and central to its success, not just an afterthought or hollow lip-service.
We debuted the Investor Report at a company Town Hall in April. Our unofficial goal of making folks cry was immediately satisfied.
Recently, we asked our employees to complete an anonymous survey, and asked if they thought that our community work was important. Here are a few of their responses:
- "I'm proud of what MailChimp does for the community and what we stand for."
- "It gives me a way to feel additional ownership in what we do and why we do it."
- "I have such pride in working for a company that wants to give back to Atlanta."
- "It instills loyalty beyond imagination."
MailChimp's community involvement now extends beyond supporting these 90 great organizations. Freddie & Co., or new e-commerce site, launched earlier this year and donates their net proceeds to a different local nonprofit every month. And this year all employees received 16 volunteer hours to take in support of the community organization of their choice. We love helping our hometown, because we know Atlanta helps us be better, weirder, and more human every day.