Episode 25: Get Your Story Out There With Kate Williams From 1% For the Planet

RTNP 25 | 1% For The Planet


On this week’s episode, I’m proud to talk to one of my favorite people—Kate Williams, Executive Director of 1% for the Planet.

1% for the Planet, if you’re not familiar with the organization, calls itself “a global movement inspiring businesses and individuals to support environmental solutions through memberships and everyday actions.”

Their mantra—”everyone has a 1%”—aims to rally purpose-focused businesses to give 1% of gross revenue to environmental causes.

Revenue commitments aside, one challenge many of these organizations face is a reluctance to get out there and share the great stories they are creating. On today’s episode, Kate and I discussed this challenge, how 1% for the Planet knocks virtual events out of the park, and more.

Links: onepercentfortheplanet.org

Ask: Everyone has a 1%. Whether that’s time or money, look for your 1% and direct it to something that would make a difference.

Listen to the podcast here


Get Your Story Out There Williams From 1% For The Planet With Kate Williams

Our guest is Kate Williams, the Executive Director of one of my favorite organizations, 1% for the Planet. 1% for the Planet lives by the mantra, “Everyone has a 1%.It helps purpose-focused businesses formalize their giving through a commitment to give 1% of gross revenue to environmental causes.

One challenge many organizations and cause-focused businesses face is their reluctance to get out there and tell these stories they’re creating. Kate and I discussed this challenge, how 1% for the Planet knocks virtual events out of the park, and a lot more in this episode. I had a great time chatting with Kate. There are some great takeaways from our conversation. I hope you have as much fun with this as I did. Here we go.

Kate, how are you doing?

I’m good. How are you?

I am well. Thanks for joining me on the show.

Thank you for having me.

How’s everything going at 1% for the Planet?

It’s going well. It has been such a wild year. I know it has for so many. It’s wild in many ways. Net is that we have brought on more new members than we have any other year, which we did not expect. That’s heartening to see. We have also lost some members, so we are feeling the pain. Most of those members that we’ve lost is because of the economic challenges, which is so painful. We want to say to all of them that we’re so grateful for their commitment and we will welcome them back at any time when things take a turn.

In the meantime, we’re grateful for those businesses that have been able to join. Our network is bigger than ever. We’re about 50/50 US and international, so our network has evolved. We’re certifying more giving than ever. We’re driving a lot of positive impacts, which is what it’s all about. That has been great in a hard year to know that we’re still able to be a force for good as a network.

We came on as a partner in either 2015 or 2016. I can’t remember which. It’s amazing to see the growth and also the brand awareness that you guys have been able to achieve over the last few years. When we first came on, people were like, “1% for the Planet? What’s that?” Now, there’s so much more brand awareness. It has been cool to see.


RTNP 25 | 1% For The Planet
1% For The Planet: What’s pretty unique about 1% for the Planet is that it’s not just a foundation giving out money; it’s also a relationship builder.


I agree. It’s so great to hear that. It has been very exciting. For me, some of the things that stand out in my head are the number of new members we brought on, which is about 1,700 and counting. It’s more than the total size of our network when I started a few years ago. That’s pretty awesome. In terms of brand awareness, when I first started, I would often find myself figuring out how to explain what 1% for the Planet is. Now, I feel like there is almost in all cases, “I’ve heard of that.”

I’m more like creating a more refined understanding of something that people are already aware of, which is amazing. I credit our staff team for sure, but also our network because it’s our members who are helping to convey the power of what 1% for the Planet is. I feel that the tipping point has been that we’ve accessed that global network effect, which is powerful and exciting.

There’s a movement in business in general to take a look at what you’re doing and what you’re able to do as a business. More people are getting a good understanding of what B Corps are, what corporate social responsibility is, cost marketing, and all of these things that you are aligned with what you’re trying to accomplish there at 1% for the Planet. All that stuff is creating this snowball effect where people are getting on board.

I would say the consumer role has also changed. What people want to do with their dollars is changing, which is amazing because more people are realizing, “Every purchase I make is a vote. I want to make sure that those dollars are going to things that I believe in,” and that’s a super-powerful force. There’s a lot of data to support that. We’re riding that wave and hopefully contributing to it as well, but that has certainly been a powerful aspect of growth across our network. It’s a positive business decision to do the right thing.

It’s cool to see this thrust coming from a whole bunch of different directions at once. You have this consumer desire to be engaged with brands that are doing good in the world, and you have this brand desire to do the same thing, whether that be from the position of, “Is this maybe going to be better for us from a brand standpoint but also better for the planet?” There’s all of this action around it. It’s fun to see.

What’s interesting, given the crazy year and the very hard year that it has been for many people, are the things that we’ve heard from new members joining or companies that are joining for the first time. I would imagine we would hear similar messages from some of our existing members, but some of these new members are able to articulate, “I’m joining now because I can see how fast things can change. I can see that business is able to act quickly to address things that are changing and I got to do my part.” That has been interesting because we had no idea what to expect when all this first went down.

We weren’t sure that there would be businesses that would be seeing this priority to join 1% for the Planet but it has grown. There’s that sense of, “Big things can happen fast globally, so now is the time to act.” Also, there’s this sense that it’s all connected, the pandemic, public health, and all these global connections. The environment is part of that. The planet is part of that. Seeing the rate of change and the connectedness of things has been a powerful lesson. That has played into all of what we’re talking about.

I like to talk about all of these ecosystems within the ecosystems that we live in. You have this planetary ecosystem, but then there’s this business ecosystem that’s part of that. I was talking to one of my other guests and he likened it to a water balloon. When you push hard on a water balloon, something has to give somewhere else. If you try and take out of that water balloon, the whole thing collapses. It’s all part of this global ecosystem that we live in.

There has been a lot of suffering. I don’t celebrate that in any way, but I do think that as with any challenge, we have an opportunity to learn. That high degree of greater awareness of the connectedness of all things is something we can choose to take away from this.

I realized that I know what 1% for the Planet is, but maybe our audience doesn’t. I didn’t give you the opportunity to chime in and tell us all about it and get people on board.


More and more people realize that every purchase is essentially a vote.


That’s okay. We dove right in. This great network that we’ve been talking about called 1% for the Planet is based on a pretty simple model that has lots of great complexity associated with it as all ecosystems do. We have members, primarily businesses, although we have added individuals as well, so that’s a growing opportunity. Our members joined by committing to give 1%. In the case of businesses, it’s 1% of their annual sales, and then individuals commit their 1% as well. Those members give that 1% to environmental nonprofits.

We also vet and bring on those nonprofit partners so we make it easier for members to develop giving strategies, identify who to give to, and make those important connections. The giving happens directly, so our members give directly to the environmental nonprofits that they identify with our support. We certify that giving annually. If you see a product or a website with the 1% for the Planet logo, it means that we have certified that they’re giving that 1% of sales level annually. I’m talking about the businesses here.

We have more than 4,000 members. We’re about 50/50 US and international in terms of our membership, which is an exciting trend. We started in the US, so a lot of our growth initially was in the US, but we have expanded globally in recent years. We’re certifying the giving that happened in the prior years. In 20202, we’ve certified about $29 million in giving to date. We’re still going. There’s still certification happening. Being our network of members, we are driving powerful change. That’s a lot of giving going to nonprofits. It has been a challenging year, so we’re grateful to our members for that annual commitment to driving positive change year in and year out.

The other thing that I love about the organization is it’s not just about monetary donations. You also allow at least a portion of one’s 1% commitment to come from volunteer hours.

Thanks for bringing that up. We believe, and we’ve ground-truth this with our nonprofits, that supporting nonprofits can happen in different ways. The financial piece is important. I don’t know of a nonprofit that doesn’t need financial support. The majority of the 1% does still have to be in the form of financial. Volunteer and in-kind donations, meaning products or support in other ways, can be super valuable for nonprofits who oftentimes are not able to pay for the contract services or other kinds of support they may need.

It can be great for the companies too to have volunteer opportunities for employees to plant trees or otherwise support a nonprofit. It’s a nice virtuous circle when we’re able to have those other non-monetary forms of donation that can make the membership engagement and partnership that much richer and more valuable.

It reinforces that commitment and gets people on board. It gets people out there and doing things for these organizations, which fuels itself. It’s this self-feeding fire. It’s an amazing thing.

It’s great. We love hearing from both members and nonprofits about how they’re developing relationships through giving, volunteering, and ways they’re figuring out how to share the stories together. What’s pretty unique about 1% for the Planet is that it’s not just a foundation giving out money. It’s a relationship builder. There’s real money that’s being given. That is certainly there, but the relationships that are built as part of that have some real lasting value as well.

Speaking of nonprofit partners, since this is a show geared toward nonprofits, what should people know about the program? What do they need to do to become part of your ecosystem?

The way we set up our nonprofit network is we want as many nonprofits as possible who are approved in our network to receive funding each year. We’re not making the choices about where that money goes. We’re supporting our members in developing their giving strategy. The way we bring new nonprofits in is either through a recommendation from a member. We then put those nonprofits that are recommended through our diligence process, or a recommendation from staff, which usually arises when we’re either identifying an area where we feel like we need more representation from nonprofits.


RTNP 25 | 1% For The Planet
1% For The Planet: As we grow our member network, we invariably get more recommendations for nonprofits, and we have new areas we moved into.


For example, we made a big push driven by our staff to bring in more environmental justice nonprofits. We realized that was an area where we had made some progress, but we needed to make a lot more progress. We went out and did research. We found nonprofits and are continuing to work to bring those in. It is a recommendation model. You won’t find an application on our website, which I recognize can sometimes be frustrating for nonprofits.

I understand the desire to be involved, but it has worked well for us. It is a way that strong nonprofits get recommended to us. Nonprofits that we may never have heard of get recommended and we’re able to bring them into the network. If you’re like, “I want them to know about me,” it’s fine to reach out. We can get you on our radar. As we’re doing future research or whatever, we may have the opportunity to bring you on board. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn if you would like to.

What are the things that you’re vetting for so that people have an understanding of whether they would fit in?

It is an environmental focus, so we do have some guidelines in each of our issue areas. Our issue areas are climate, food, land, water, wildlife and pollution. We have six issue areas. Environmental justice cuts across all those issue areas. In each of those issue areas, we have some different guidelines that we’ve developed that are tied to the sustainable development goals. In the case of the climate area, we have some ties to the project draw-down goals. We have guidelines in each of those areas, so we hold up the mission and work of the nonprofit against those.

We also look at some of the basic aspects whether it is a registered 501(c)(3) and standing. If we’re going to be making a recommendation, we will dig a little further. It’s overall a knowledge-based process. Once a nonprofit makes it through that initial screening, we seek to understand as much as possible about how they are driving impact, how they are telling their story, and what are they measuring. Those are the kinds of things that we’re going to want to understand well in order to match you effectively with our members.

What’s the major thrust? Is it a parallel process trying to bring more nonprofits on board and trying to onboard new members? What are the things that you guys are looking to achieve here in the next couple of years?

We have more than 3,000 nonprofits in our network, which is a lot. I know it’s certainly not all of them. In terms of evolving our nonprofit work, what we’re focused on there more than increased numbers per se is honing the process from start to finish of how we gather information and how we do that diligence. It’s so that we’re in a better position to be able to best represent those nonprofits, and put them forward to the partners that would be the best fit.

It isn’t to say we’re not interested in new nonprofits, but it’s the quality of our knowledge and our practice is our focus right now. We’re continuing to grow the network as we need to build out into different areas to best serve both the issues at hand and the members, and what they’re looking for. In the nonprofit area, that’s what we’re focused on. Overall, we are a nonprofit in which growth is how we drive more impact. More members drive more giving. Nonprofits drive more impact. We do focus on growing that member network, and as we grow our member network, we invariably get more recommendations for nonprofits. We have new areas that we move into. There is some tie for sure between the two. That is the big focus.

We’ve certainly seen ourselves grow and driven by that growth over the last couple of years. We are honing our ability to continue to do that, continue to manage that well, continue to provide good support to all those members because that’s so important, and continue to build connections across the network. We haven’t talked about that yet. I’ve mentioned the important partnership between the members and their giving partners which are the nonprofits, but we’ve also seen incredible value in the partnerships between members in our network and the relationships across all the different stakeholders in our network.

That drive so much learning and evolution of practice in terms of sustainability beyond philanthropy that we don’t measure. That’s not an official part of our model. We’re not certifying that, but we’ve seen how that’s a valuable part of what 1% for the Planet provides. It’s like this engine in which so much happens beyond just the certification, which is not insignificant.


Big things can happen fast globally, so now’s the time to act.


There’s the certified giving that’s close to $29 million-plus in 2020. Those are big dollars there. At the same time, we have members who are learning from each other how to eliminate plastic from their packaging or getting hired to figure out some of the next steps on their sustainability journey. We have nonprofits that are learning other ideas about best practices from both their member and donors, but also some of the other nonprofits in their network. There is a whole lot of learning going on beyond what we’re officially certifying and tracking. Continuing to support that is a goal that we have.

I know you guys have a marketplace where people can get connected with other 1% players, which is cool. It goes back to what you were saying earlier about voting with your dollar. I know that’s one of the things that I try to look for and keep on my radar. I don’t always do the best job of it, but one of the first things I try to think of is, “Is there a 1% for the Planet partner that I can get this from as opposed to going to the standard sources?” You’re providing a cool service there as well.

I appreciate that you said that. We do have a lot of members who make an effort to purchase from other members. We always encourage that because it’s going to drive more giving and more impact. It develops those great relationships. We have seen a lot of that. Figuring out how best we can support that and providing the information about that is something we’re continually working on.

That’s something that I need to keep more in the forefront of my mind when I’m making purchases. I do know when I climbed Rainier a couple of years ago, I went to Osprey who’s a 1% for the Planet partner to get my pack for that particular trip. It’s certainly something that I would encourage people to do. I know that on your site, you have this members’ area that people can always do research on. If they’re making a big purchase, they can go and try to find a 1% Partner to buy from.

One of the great things is that we often think of them as products. Sadly, Osprey is not yet a member. I appreciate that you’ve named them as such because that hopefully will make it so. Nonetheless, it’s a great example that we often think of 1% in terms of products. We have in our network, not only products for taking outdoors, we have food, tea and banks. You can do your banking differently. We have life insurance. We have marketing firms. You can have your branding, marketing and website. You could feed, clothe and house because we have construction companies. You can manage your finances and run your business in various ways with 1% for the Planet members, which is fabulous.

It is cool. I remembered how Osprey popped into my head. They’re a Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance partner. That’s where I got them in the front of my mind. It was a little tangential.

It’s no problem. I have no shade whatsoever on Osprey. I love their stuff and also have a pack of theirs. I just wanted to be clear that they’re not yet a member.

Let’s get them on board. How about that?


As you’re trying to get new members, what is your main strategy there? What are you guys employing to bring more people on board?


RTNP 25 | 1% For The Planet
1% For The Planet: As an increasingly global dispersed network, our ability to have powerful and effective virtual events is something that will continue parallel to getting back to in-person events.


The significant majority of our growth has been organic, meaning it is inquiries coming to us driven by those companies. For most of 2020, we’ve had about 100 of those queries come in each week. Those are people reaching out to us because they got a recommendation from a peer, they saw us in an article, or they saw us on a product. There are all sorts of different ways, but those are inquiries that came to us, so then we follow up on those and ideally bring those people on board. That’s exciting. There’s that side of things.

We work to create more ways in which we can inspire that kind of direct outreach from potential members. We also have a more proactive strategy of identifying potential members and industries that are a good fit either where we don’t have a lot of other members, so there’s a leadership opportunity, or where we do have a strong membership, so there’s a critical mass, and then we pursue that.

We are planning to hire some new capacity for that more proactive outreach. Given the amount of inbound interest that we’ve had, it has been quite hard for us to get to that proactive outreach. We’re excited to be able to move more in that direction, even as we’re thrilled that our “problem” is that we’re swamped with interests.

It’s one of those good problems to have. This episode will air in March of 2021, but in the early part of 2020, I know that we were looking forward to a couple of big events. I’m on the steering committee here on the Front Range for 1%. We were going to put together a community event to try and bring more businesses in and learn about 1% for the Planet. You then have your global event, which was going to be held in Hollywood in 2020. It had to be canceled, but those are great opportunities for members to come together and get to meet and know one another. I know that in-person stuff was a big pillar prior to the pandemic. I’m sure that we’ll get back to that as soon as we can roll out the vaccine and get back to normalcy. Did you do any kind of pivoting in terms of bringing things to a more virtual audience?

Yeah. We and many others did lots of pivoting. It is the year of the pivot. When you mentioned this airing in March 2021, which is three months out, back in ancient times before the pandemic, it was like, “That’s not that far off.” Now, I’m like, “Three months? Who knows what can happen in three months?” It is the year of the pivot, and I’m getting very good at expecting that we’re going to adapt in less than three months’ time.

We had planned not only our Global Summits but also a series of global events. Both of those shifted. We canceled the Global Summit. We didn’t try and replace it immediately with a virtual event. At this point, we’ve bumped it out to 2022. For anyone here and any of our members, it’s an amazing in-person event. I’ll talk about what we’re going to be doing virtually in the meantime, but we’re big believers in the power of in-person gathering because it has this energy that you wouldn’t believe.

We’re excited to get back to that when the time can happen again. We’re thinking 2022 is probably when we can start planning that way. What we did is we took that off the calendar. That was a hard decision. We were all a little depressed for a while but we moved on. We shifted our global tour to being a virtual campaign, focused on sharing the impact stories. These are the stories of what happens when our members make their donations and provide that in-kind support to nonprofits. It’s the so what of our model. All of that was powerful.

What we’ve put in place heading into 2021 and what will be fully underway starting in Q1 is a series of virtual events of all different types. Some of them are more of the mini-summit types with some key keynotes and things like that. Others have more practical webinars. We’ll have a whole variety of virtual events and learning sessions happening across all of 2021.

2022 is our 20th anniversary. We’ll have our Global Summit in-person, and then ideally continue to have parallel virtual events and in-person events. One thing also is starting in 2021, as soon as we can get back to doing some smaller regional events in the Front Range, hopefully by the fall, that would be something that we could start doing again. We’ll be ready to step into some of the smaller events that don’t require quite as much planning as the Global Summit ideally earlier than 2022.

I know that we were planning that event. It was part of that tour that you were putting on that we were going to do on the Front Range. We were looking forward to that. Being not the longest-term member that you’ve ever had, but we’ve been around for a little while, I remember the first Global Summit that you had was in Boulder, right?


This is the year of the pivot.


Yes, it was. Our first two years of the Global Summit were in Boulder. That’s where we first met.

Those were so great. There weren’t as many people there. It was fun because it was intimate, but with some good material. The last one that we were able to attend was out in Portland. It was a lot bigger. It was probably at least twice the size, if not triple the size. It was also amazing. It had all of the great speakers that you got and that opportunity to rub shoulders with so many like-minded people. The other piece of these events is that you were able to engage in action at these events as well. I know that Bret and I did a cleanup there in one of the parks in Portland as part of giving our commitment as part of the event. It was fun to not only bring people together to meet, but also to get them to take some action.

I love that you brought that up. That’s another example of how you can’t replace that in a virtual event. We’re going to have a great virtual series, but those kinds of action engagements and the power of the connections that are built when we’re learning together, we’re super excited about that. We’re eager to get back to those in-person opportunities including the Global Summit. We’re also all about seeing the opportunity in whatever challenges have come our way. Learning as an increasingly global dispersed network, our ability to have powerful and effective virtual events is something that will continue parallel to getting back to in-person events.

There’s certainly a positive environmental effect of not having everyone have to fly somewhere. One of the things that are interesting is the decrease in miles that my business partner, Bret and I have driven in 2020. I’m sure you’ve learned a lot over the course of 2020 in terms of these virtual events. What are some of the things that you’ve seen work well that other nonprofit partners might be able to take advantage of?

I’m sure we’ll continue to learn more because we’ll be embarking on a lot of direct events. Some of the things that we have learned are preparations, as with anything that you do. If you’re going to do a panel, actively prepping all the participants beforehand is important so that by the time you get to the live panel, it’s very much live. It’s unlike in an in-person event where there can be that relationship with the audience where if there’s an awkward pause or a question that needs to be repeated, that can flow more naturally.

When you’re in a virtual setting, a little more prep and polish make that live engagement that much more valuable. I’m stating the obvious, but dialing in the tech is important. While we’re all much more patient with technical issues because we’ve probably experienced them at some point during 2020, there’s also the opportunity to get those right.

Also, less is more. People are spending so much time online that creating ways for concise information to be shared and then maximum time for engagement using different mechanisms is a cool feature. I’m sure a lot of people are seeing and taking advantage of that real-time opportunity to have a speaker or a panel underway and a very active chat thread going so that they can have some interplay in real-time.

We’re not trying to make a virtual event exactly the same as a live event. Instead, we’re acknowledging that this is going to be different so let us do it differently in the ways that make it better. Let’s use the tools that we wouldn’t have in the same way if we were live.” I’m sure there are a lot of other people who have even more and better tips than that, but those are some of the basics that are pretty important.

Those are great. There were two others that I’ve seen work well. One is the idea of making sure that you don’t do it alone during an event like this. Have someone on staff curating the chat so that you’re not trying to run a panel and figure out how to keep track of all the questions and do all of these things at once. It’s engaging your team to be part of that to make it run smoothly.

Breakout rooms have been a cool thing that we’ve seen work well. When you have a panel, take that panel, break it back out, and let people choose which room they go into, or split the audience and allow people one-on-ones with certain panel members. It has been a cool way to create more intimacy within this great virtual conference or whatever you want to call it that you’re having.


RTNP 25 | 1% For The Planet
1% For The Planet: 1% for the Planet is such a hope factory.


That’s a great point. That creates a way for some of those connections that we’re all hungry for to happen in a positive way. I think that’s an excellent point.

I love the idea of being able to bring so many people into a community, and even have a bigger event than you might have otherwise because you’re able to engage with a global audience. Maybe people who wouldn’t have been able to make it in person can all of a sudden participate and be a part of that experience.

I agree. Back to your earlier point about travel, I do think that’s something that we’ve all had the opportunity to learn. I hope we hold onto beyond 1%. We’ve learned that there are things that we used to think we had to travel for that we can handle quite effectively virtually. We can save travel and time. We can include a greater diversity of people in some ways that we may not have thought we could before when we had our mindset on like, “This is something we do in person.”

I do think there are a lot of opportunities that are good for the planet and good for broader inclusion that we can carry forward by having this understanding of what is quite possible to be effective and engaging virtually. Also, acknowledge that there are certain times when there’s nothing like being in the same room or same physical space with people and connecting with them in that way, so celebrating those opportunities when they arise and using them well for what they offer.

I am going to give out so many hugs as soon as this thing is over. I’ve certainly missed that. What are some of the unique or interesting stories that you’ve heard either from nonprofits who are part of the program or even business members that they’ve come out and said how great being part of 1% has been for them?

I feel like 1% of the Planet is such a hope factory. No matter what is going on, I feel like I can always immediately pull up a member or a nonprofit who is such an inspiration. In terms of concrete stories, we had a cool moment where one of our long-standing members, Caudalie, a French beauty and skin product company, focused on tree planting because that ties with where they do their sourcing. They did a great little Instagram talking about the next million trees that they planted. Thanks to the giving, and connecting consumers to how their purchases enabled them to plant all these trees, which makes a huge difference. They were several millions of trees. It’s a big number, and it’s the result of the significant 1% giving that they’ve done. Thanks to their consumers. That’s one example.

The list goes on of nonprofits who have been able to either address some plastic issues in a big way or build out their programs on the ground. It has been heartening to see how, in many cases, it has felt like so many things have had to stall because of what is going on. The giving that our network has done has helped important efforts to stay afoot. In the case of the lead-up to the election, there’s a lot of support going to some of our nonprofits who are doing a lot of work to get out the vote or make sure that there was access to information about voting. That was exciting to see that as well.

It’s great to see people get on board and get excited about how they can help move the needle in terms of environmental stewardship. One of the things that’s interesting that I know Relish hasn’t done as great a job as a member as we probably could, now that I’m thinking of it, is the storytelling component. It’s leveraging the opportunity that both nonprofit and for-profit partners and members have. It’s this idea that you’ve given yourself this opportunity to tell this story, and to leverage the good that you’re doing for the planet. Also, for these nonprofit partners to get that message out there and be authentic and be very explicit about the good things that are coming out of this membership and the partnerships that are created here.

I know that you have some rules around being a partner and a member, in that you want to help people tell that story and leverage the impact of that 1% for the Planet brand that you can put on your business. I’m not being very eloquent here in what I’m trying to say. I think that there’s a huge opportunity for business partners, members, and the nonprofit partners that they are giving to and share the opportunity to tell the story of how this organization is helping both of those entities grow and thrive.

I think you’re being very eloquent. That’s a great point. It’s interesting because it’s harder sometimes than people think to figure out how to tell that story or to prioritize telling that story. In some cases, the members or donors feel like, “I don’t want to brag and make a big deal about it.” On the nonprofit side, they’re busy doing the work. What we’ve seen and heard time and again is the most important thing about the 1% for the Planet brand is those stories of impact. That’s the so what. That’s why it all matters. Real things are happening on the ground that are affecting and improving real places. Being meaningful to real people and driving a positive impact on those is so powerful.


There are things that we used to think we had to travel for that we’ve learned we can handle quite effectively virtually.


I was saying earlier that there is the opportunity to vote with your dollars. It’s so much easier to make the choice to vote with your dollars if you’re like, “This does drive change. I have an emotional sense of the kind of change that it can drive because I saw these great stories about this giving that happened.” Our staff is working. We try to figure out how we can best support members and nonprofits to make it as easy as possible to tell those stories and create opportunities to share those stories. We do want all of our nonprofits and members to feel like they can always come to us as a resource for that storytelling.

That’s interesting. As you’re saying that, I’m thinking that there might be opportunities to put together a storytelling 101 for both the members and the nonprofits, and be able to help facilitate the creation of that messaging for 1% internally. Either that can be very scalable items such as some guidelines in terms of how to get that messaging out there and how to tell that story. This requires some bandwidth on your end, but maybe taking some examples and doing a one-on-one workshop on those storytelling opportunities to get those out there. You can use those internally as well when you’re going out and talking to prospective new members. These become case studies that you can use to increase that membership opportunity.

Back to some of the event stuff that we were talking about, one of the features of our Global Summit, at least for a couple of years if not all of the years, is to have that workshop element on effective storytelling. We have done a couple of panels on that storytelling piece. You’re right. There’s a real opportunity for members and nonprofits to develop that understanding and framework for that opportunity. Particularly, as our network grows, we can’t tell every story that’s happening across our network because we don’t have that many hours in the day or slots on our social media. It isn’t for lack of loving every single one of those stories, but the network truly has to operate as a network. The stories need to radiate out across the network.

One of the things that we have done in our Be 1% Better campaign is to equip members and nonprofits with assets, tools and frameworks for telling those stories of impact, and then communicating them using some shared hashtags. We can share that big story together without having 1% for the Planet be a bottleneck in any way. That’s a powerful opportunity. We’ve seen some great results with that through this Be 1% Better campaign that I mentioned, as well as some other things that we’ve done.

I would encourage everyone to take advantage of those opportunities. I’m going to take that advice myself because I know I maybe haven’t done as great of a job as I could with that opportunity or with those opportunities. With some of the stuff that you were describing, I’m trying to go back and remember when those showed up during the Global Summits. I know that you record the main stage stuff.

Some of the breakout room activities I can recall, I don’t remember those necessarily being recorded. Going back to that vault of recorded materials, maybe there are ways to repurpose some of them as part of a membership toolkit or things of that nature. Make those available so that people can learn from these events. Maybe they weren’t a 1% for the Planet partner at the time. Those might be some ways to repurpose some of those items that you have already.

Using our virtual stage moving forward for continued shared learning about effective storytelling is certainly an opportunity as well.

You have such a hugely diverse talent pool to draw from all of the members and partners. It’s cool to see that kind of brainpower come together.

Having this incredible network is powerful and overwhelming in the best sense of the word because there is so much knowledge embedded across the network. Figuring out the ways to best access and share that across the network is an opportunity. It’s sometimes the best challenge.

What are the things that people should be looking out for in that Q2 of 2021 from 1%?


RTNP 25 | 1% For The Planet
1% For The Planet: The most important thing about the 1% for the Planet brand is those stories of impact. Real things are happening on the ground that are affecting and improving real places.


There are a couple of things. One is we will have some virtual events on the board. Those would be there to look for and participate in. We don’t have that schedule now, but it’s coming together. We will potentially be starting to plan some in-person events. It’s to be determined. We will most likely have a campaign as we have in the past. I mentioned Be 1% Better. It probably will be blended throughout the year, but that creates some storytelling opportunities.

We are going to be launching a 1% for the Planet donor-advised fund, which is our big new launch starting in 2021. The goal for that is to continue to increase our impact. The way that would function is it would enable us to access donations from members but also non-members, and then those donations would drive both further giving to nonprofits as well as drive impact to investing. That would be a new way in which 1% for the Planet could play a role in driving impact.

We’re pretty excited about that because it’s the first new offering that would sit side-by-side with membership. Current membership wouldn’t change at all, and existing members wouldn’t have to participate in that. They certainly could, but it would create a new pathway for engagement for a whole new set of donors. We’re pretty excited about that. That will be the big new offering that we’ll launch probably sometime toward the end of Q2 of 2021.

That sounds amazing. I’m excited to hear more about that.

We’re excited about that. Our staff is going to be growing. The beauty of the 1% for the Planet networks is much of the power that happens is in the hands of individual members working with their regions. You mentioned the Front Range steering committee. Who knows what you guys will cook up? As the world starts to open back up again, there will be more opportunities for those regional steering committees and places where there are members coming together for amazing ideas to take shape and happen.

I know we have a good crew here in the Denver Boulder area with some smart people on it with equally cool businesses. It’s fun to be part of that group. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to be on a steering committee to reach out to their 1% guide who helps their region to figure things out and try to come up with some good ideas to bring other people together and onboard.

If you are a member and you’re like, “I didn’t know there was such thing as steering committees,” it’s a great thing for you to talk to your account manager to learn what might be available to you in your area.

The account manager was the word I was looking for. It wasn’t coming to my brain. Thank you so much for being on the show. How can people find out more about 1% for the Planet?

There are a couple of different pathways. One is our website, which is a great place to go. That’s OnePercentForThePlanet.org. We do have pretty active social channels. I’ll point you to Instagram and you could probably navigate from there. Its @1PercentFTP. That’s a good one. That’s a pretty active channel for us.

I’m all about action as I know you are too. If people who read this episode were to do one thing that’s any type of action, what would you want people to do?


So much of the power that happens is in the hands of individual members.


Think about it and then act on the fact that everyone has a 1%. Our members are bringing that to life in terms of 1% of sales, but if you break it down to every day, think about your time, money or what you might spend on a given day. What would it look like if you took 1% of that time, money, effort or however you want to measure it, and directed that toward something that would make a difference? It’s a powerful exercise.

You can stop at the level of the thought exercise, but what if you brought it to life? If you tallied up 1% of your time and then you decided that you were going to volunteer that at some point, that would be pretty powerful. I know 1% of what you would spend in a given day has gotten funky since many of us are working from home. That stop at the coffee shop is no longer as concrete, but with 1% of your grocery bill for a week or something like that. What if you were to tally that and set that aside and say, “I’m going to give that to a food-focused nonprofit that’s doing great work in sustainable agriculture.” That’s right there for you. Probably, you would begin to see like, “I thought I couldn’t do a lot, but I can do something that ties to my everyday.” That’s powerful.

I agree. I am notorious for providing bad math on the show, but from my calculation, that’s fifteen minutes that you’re awake. If you’re awake for sixteen hours in a day, it’s roughly fifteen minutes which represents 1% of that time. I think that’s right.

I’m doing the math.

It’s 4 to 6 minutes an hour. Maybe my math is off a little bit. It’s not that much.

It’s about ten minutes, but I was multitasking in terms of talking to you while doing my math. It’s very little time. If you think about, “What would that mean if I wrote that down in the corner of my to-do list,” and then did the math. If it’s ten minutes a day and I multiply that by 365, that’s time that I could volunteer. What would that look like?

What we have found when we’ve talked about this and asked individual members and companies who are involved is it’s powerful in a couple of different ways. One is that it puts action within reach because it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by climate change. You’re like, “What can I do?” Breaking it down, it’s like, “With my 1%, I can do my part.” It breaks it down and makes it actionable.

Sometimes, you can also feel like, “I’m not doing enough.” It can also help you to feel like, “I’m doing 1%.” If Stu and Kate are also doing 1% and it all adds up, then you realize, “I’m part of driving that $30 million in change,” that I was mentioning. It’s the power of owning and feeling good about your 1%, but also knowing that it adds up with other people’s 1%. You’re part of a collective act. We want you to be a member because that’s a great way to go, but whether or not you’re a member, if you have the knowledge that you’re part of this larger movement of people who are committing their 1%, that’s a big deal. You realize that a little multiplied by a lot equals a lot. That’s what you get to be part of.

That’s awesome. Thanks for being on the show. It’s lovely to talk to you all the time. I miss seeing you in person. I appreciate you being on. Let’s go get everybody to give 1%.

That sounds like a great idea. Thank you so much. It has been great to talk to you.

Thanks. Talk to you soon.


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