Percent Pledge Press

2020 Year in Review: Gratitude + Self-Reflection

Joel Pollick
Posted by  Joel Pollick on Dec 29, 2020

4 minute read

This time of year is often a race to the finish line, but it also affords some space to practice self-reflection and gratitude. And that space is even more important in a year like 2020, a year in which definitions for terms like “business as usual” and “normal” were either rewritten or completely thrown out. So we have taken the space to practice reflection and gratitude; this blog shares the results of those practices for Percent Pledge and 2020.

To begin with our practice of gratitude, these are a few of the things we are most thankful for:
  • Being able to continue our work, at the most base level, when so many students and professionals and even many charities were not able to continue theirs.
  • Our Self-Sustaining Ecosystem of Impact; this model (which combines nonprofit vetting, subscription-giving, and personalized impact reporting), made it easy for our customers, and their employees, to rapidly join the fights against COVID-19 and for Social Justice.
  • Launching 4 new vetted Cause Portfolios, featuring 19 top-rated nonprofits in total:
    • COVID-19 Relief
    • Racial Equality*
    • Disaster Relief
    • LGBTQ+ Equality
      *thanks to our team for launching Racial Equality in just 5 days; new record by A LOT!
  • Garnering our first 2 articles in Forbes, about our rapid response COVID-19 Relief Portfolio.
  • Empowering our Pledger community to support a total of 270 nonprofits in 2020*
    *a third of which were new nonprofits (aka not already in one of our Cause Portfolios), that Pledgers introduced via our Build-Your-Own-Portfolio feature and 1M+ charity database.
  • Our team; that our team members, and their families, were lucky enough to stay safe and healthy during this heavy year; that our team worked their asses off during this long year; and that our team miraculously grew 150% in 2020.
  • Our privilege; being a founder, and having team members, that are privileged enough to have secondary opportunities had we not survived. We are not complacent because of this, but we are grateful for it and grateful that 2020 taught us how to both identify and understand it. And 2020 also taught us all that it needs to be stated and shared.
Next to our practice of self-reflection, and some of the things that were most challenging in 2020:
  • Knowing when, and how, to change our pace. As a startup, picking our pace is often quite easy: it’s always fast. But in 2020 that changed. Late in March, for example, uncertainty was the word of the day, every day; so we made a swift decision to essentially pause operations; for the first time and for an entire week, we did a team-wide content marathon.
  • Keeping current team members engaged, and onboarding new team members, remotely. This one’s still quite challenging, but this small thing worked incredibly well for us:
    Full-team zoom happy hours every 2-4 weeks; each time a different team member presents (loosely defined, props encouraged) on a topic that has nothing to do with work but everything to do with them as an individual.
    I kicked things off with a presentation on Sleep Apnea, and what it’s been like using a CPAP machine since I was 17; another teammate did a presentation on fencing, including many props they had from their time on the US National Team (which was news to us all).
  • Maintaining growth and productivity while fundraising. This one is not novel in any real way, and likely felt more by smaller teams, but certainly applicable. And this is one we are actively accepting ideas on (really) so that we are smarter if it happens again.
If you’ve gotten this far or even just skimmed, then you saw that our list of things we are grateful for is much longer. And that feels right.

So lastly, to pile on and look forward to 2021, we are grateful to grow our Ecosystem of Impact; we are grateful for how energized our growing community is to make AND measure a positive impact on the causes they care about most; and we are grateful for the positive impact, small and large, they will make on the world we all share.

Joel Pollick, Founder & CEO of Percent Pledge
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Joel Pollick

Written by Joel Pollick

Founder & CEO @ Percent Pledge. Expert in workplace giving, volunteering, and employee engagement for fast-growing companies.

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