Introducing Help Scout for Good
Essay published on July 24, 2019
Note: this was originally posted on the Help Scout blog.
In February, our company completed a process that had been more than a year in the making — Help Scout became a certified B Corp!
As part of the effort, Help Scout’s legal status also changed to a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation. What’s a B Corp, you ask?
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.— B Lab
We’re proud to join the ranks of Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Kickstarter and other B Corps who are advocating for these values alongside their core business models. A small number of software companies have earned this certification, but we did it for a few reasons:
- B Corp Certification is a high standard that keeps us accountable to our stated values as a company. It’s easy to say we care about important issues, but certification forces us to measure the ongoing impact.
- We want our customers to know who they’re doing business with. We often select vendors and partners based on a sense of shared values, so it’s important for people to know what we stand for.
- We’d like to see more businesses in the world that balance profit and purpose. In our experience, the best way to catalyze that sort of change is to model it for others to see.
What’s Help Scout for Good?
Help Scout for Good represents a variety of initiatives we invest in as part of our commitment to B Corp values. Today, to kick things off, we’re announcing the first two important initiatives.
1. Giving our product away
All non-profit or fellow B Corp organizations are welcome to a 10% discount on our products, no questions asked. Once you sign up for an account, just let us know and send over proof of your organization’s status, and we’ll take care of the rest.
We’re also offering discounts of up to 100% for organizations that advocate for one or more of three issues we’ve decided to focus on as a company: human rights, environmental sustainability, and underrepresentation in tech. If you’d like more information or are ready to start the application process, more information is available here.
2. Sponsoring events
If you host a technology meetup or group whose primary audience is composed of people who are underrepresented in our community, we’d be happy to consider sponsoring it. Tell us about your group/event.
We’re working on a couple more Help Scout for Good initiatives as well, and we hope this program continues to grow over time.
Why brands should talk about values
As a company, it can be hard to talk about values or things you believe in. It makes you vulnerable to criticism or to folks who believe you should “stay in your lane” and not talk about things that may be part of our public political discourse.
I’ve been asked multiple times why we do this. People ask me if we aren’t afraid to rub someone the wrong way – to lose clients by being too controversial. People ask, why don’t you stay out of politics?
But companies have always been political. They lobby for the right to pollute more, to pay less taxes, to lower the minimum wage, for less regulation, more protection from competition. They often literally write the laws. They pay for political campaigns. They assert their power to influence politics every day.
I didn’t start Ueno to be political. I really wish we could just make nice things all day and trust that other people solved everything else.
But that’s not how this works. We have responsibilities, just like everyone else. We’re not a big company but we do have a bit of power. We have a voice and some money. And we believe in things.
There’s no such thing as being “above politics” or not taking sides as a brand. It would be great if companies didn’t have political agendas, but they inevitably do. And if companies are inevitably political, then we want to be deliberate about the things we stand for.
For example, we recognize Pride every June with celebratory images that appear once your mailbox queue is cleared. We call these images Huzzahs (because why not?).
Every June, we receive emails from people who are upset by the Pride Huzzahs. The celebration of Pride, however, is a positive, non-violent stance against discrimination toward other humans. It’s an internationally recognized holiday, no different from celebrating Black History Month and Women’s History Month, which we also observe with celebratory Huzzahs. It’s just one small way we talk about our values.
Real people run this company, and we can’t pretend we don’t have values and beliefs. Treating others with love and respect is a value shared broadly by our team. That may mean we lose a few customers, but as Thorleifsson says, as a human being I have no doubt it’s the right thing to do.