Learning Series | Leveraging your Corporate Expenses for Good

July 11, 2022

Ben (00:04): Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the WeHero learn series. We're so thankful we're here because we have a wonderful guest from an incredible company called Purpose in Expenses, where as I like to say, PIE, and our guest is Jamie, who is the co-founder and COO of this company. We're really very excited to have Jamie here because this is something that we can do for almost every business that's very cost effective. That's very easy to do, easy to set up and creates a huge amount of impact by taking something like our expenses to subscriptions like zoom to Amazon web services, so on and so forth. And there's so many companies that can make a huge amount of impact just by doing this service. And so that's why we're very excited that Jamie is here. So Jamie, welcome to your, the show and we're so thankful that you're taking the time to be here today. Maybe the first question I have for you is let's dive into the tandem bike ride across the globe. I want that to be the very, our very first starting point. So could you tell us a little bit about that bike ride and, and how this idea for PIE came about?
Jamie (01:02): Yeah. So I had an idea to ride a tandem bicycle around the world and invite strangers on an empty backseat, so that to pilot the front seat invite strangers, and it was called peace peddlers. And the idea was to be able to ride with people from all different languages, cultures and religions and broker peace, one bike rider at a time. You know, it was one of those ideas I had in my late twenties. And and so in order to do that, I needed to raise some money and some sponsors. And, and so I was, I went out and started to find corporate sponsors. I found about 40 corporate sponsors, Panasonic, and some other nice sponsors who believed in this mission. I had to lower unjust fears and prejudices in the world by using this bicycle tour as a, as a vehicle. And one company that I approached didn't have any money in their budget to give to me.
Jamie (01:54): They also didn't have any product to donate, because it was a, it was mostly a software company. But they said, what else can we do? We love what you're doing, but we just, we can't donate cash right now. We don't have anything to donate to you. So I started thinking out the box, we needed to raise some extra money. And what we ended up coming up with was I became their independent technology advisor or their independent technology partner. And what they allowed me to do was to procure their current services that they have, like every business needs to have the internet, they need to have phones, they need to have conferencing. They need to have a bus, a big series of fixed technology expenses that every company needs to operate.
Jamie (02:36): And they allowed me to just simply procure those expenses under me as an independent technology advisor. And by doing that, everything stayed the same. There was no downtime. There was no increase in cost, but what ended up happening was those technology providers, which was Verizon at the time, Verizon ended up paying us every single month, month after month, year after year. So while I was out traveling the world this that those expenses that the company had to pay anyways, ended up generating a recurring stream of financial support for me while I was traveling in other countries. So, and as that company scaled, they, the company scaled from about 20 employees to about 250 employees. This amount of recurring support ended up growing year after year and ended up really being a very important stream of support to help me finish an eight year 81 country trip around the world.
Ben (03:28): That's amazing. I, I just love the story. And you have a book, right? Jamie, if folks are interested, check out Jamie's book, it's pretty incredible.
Jamie (03:36): Yeah.
Ben (03:37): So Jamie, talk to me a little bit about how simple this is for businesses to do and talk a little bit about where you are as a business today. And for folks that are listening, WeHero actually just went through this program. We actually just went through Jamie's program. Our expenses are all run through him. Now it didn't cost us anything additional. There' no downtime for us. It took me probably like 15 minutes for us to get this set up realistically. And now we're actually making impact for nonprofits that we're selecting, which is really exciting. So Jamie, can you talk to just how simple this is to do for companies that are interested in making impact in this way?
Jamie (04:11): Sure. well, every business has expenses. So purpose in expenses PIE, the name of our company is about finding ways to increase impact using something you already have, which is your business expenses. Right? So what we did with WeHero, as Ben said, it takes very little time. What we basically need to do is get a list of some of the common expenses you have. Like, would it be zoom like we're on right now, or your phone or your internet or your software and email get a list of what those looks like. You see someone from finance does that in about 15 minutes. And then we go through and do an analysis on that very quickly and are able to find and let a business know within a couple days on our time of what we can do to create a new recurring stream of donations just based on reprocuring those services under our platform, right? So we're an authorized reseller with Google, with Microsoft, with AWS and 500 different providers. So pretty much any, any, any technology service stack that anybody has, we can procure those with purpose and generate new recurring streams of support. And it's literally a couple minutes never more than an hour total time generally to go and, and do the analysis and to even do the actual procurement
Ben (05:30): Let's double click on the downtime. Again, I know we already talked about like this, no downtime piece of this. And that was my big concern. When I first heard about the program is like, oh my gosh, like, is this going to drop our zoom calls for a day? Or what is that going to look like? And, and I think about like, just AWS, for example, and hosting, like, that'd be a big fear for me. It's like, is this going to disrupt any of our hosting capabilities? So can you talk about that downtime piece, Jamie, and how we make sure that there's no downtime across the, for any services?
Jamie (05:59): Sure. The, the technology providers, it's probably important to know that there's a big trend and a big shift of technology providers themselves take AWS, take Microsoft, take Google, right? They want to move end customers to partner relationships, right? So what I'm, I'm a partner versus a direct relationship. A direct relationship is with somebody just pays their Google bill every single month. And you're working directly with Google Google's management, a exceed by 2030, once every single business customer pushed over to partners, because partners better handle those relationships and there's better customer satisfaction. There's also better retention. So, so there's no, they don't want there to be any downtime in that shift. So there's not that that shift is any data migration. It's not that that shift is any major. It's literally a billing change, right? It's a very quick, simple billing change. As you, as you went through, it takes 15 minutes or less to go through the process and it all, everything stays the same.
Jamie (06:57): So the zoom calls stay the same. All the logins stay the same. All the backend data stays the same. It's just an ownership of the account that changes, which is where the billing and the, and kind of the money moves, right. And the way our business model is works quite simply is that we're a B corporation pure purpose driven technology partner. So our business model is to donate the revenue we receive by the technology providers for managing your account, right? So we hero uses the zoom calls we're on right now, or uses the email that they use every single day we get compensated and we split our revenue with your nonprofit partner. And so there is no downtime because there's nothing really changing. It's just account ownership, that's changing really a rebuilding, so to speak.
Ben (07:45): It's pretty cool that the zoom call right now that we're on it, how we're recording this it's purpose powered as Jamie would say. Yeah. Which is really exciting. Let's talk about the fun part of this Jamie, which is like the nonprofits and the actual impact that's created. Can you talk about that part of the setup process in regards to selecting nonprofits, can folks choose nonprofits that really passionate about, is there any kind of reports they receive? Just, I think folks be really curious about that, especially as we have CSR and ESG leaders that are interested in doing this with their companies as well.
Jamie (08:16): Yeah. So when we, when we go through the process of doing the analysis, the first thing we'll do is just get that list, find out how many users you have on various kind of key technology services and business services that you're using. And then when we go to the, to the next phase, we'll say, okay, this is what it would look like when we purpose power, that service right after we move that, do the migration of the rebilling and the, the procurement over we'll, then say, there's going to be approximate a thousand dollars a month. That's available for your nonprofit of choice. So your first question is can they choose a nonprofits? Absolutely. Whether it's an existing nonprofit, for some people, it's a nonprofit that they wanted to donate to, but they just haven't had the budget. So now you'd have new budget, a new recurring budget that can be allocated out to a new nonprofit.
Jamie (09:01): And so yeah, they can choose that nonprofit. And and then they'll, we don't have a formal report right now. We don't have a dashboard. We're still a startup, quite frankly. So we are plan to build that out and build some integrations and things to various software programs in the future as we grow. But for now, it'll come in an Excel format on an annual basis that you get an understanding of each service where those services are going. And a confirmation that the donations have been made, we make the donations on behalf of the company. So we do the donations and, and so you get to still have the, our clients still get to have the benefit of that, of that recurring stream, but they don't have to handle the donation. It doesn't cost them any money.
Ben (09:40): This next question, Jamie is going to seem like somewhat of an obvious answer, I think for most of us, but I'd love you just to hear your take on this. Cause I think you have a really good view and picture of why this is so important for companies. And the question is, you know, why should companies really consider doing this? Obviously, companies are making other forms of donations right now, other forms of giving skills based, volunteering so on and so forth. But why should companies really consider doing this right now?
Jamie (10:05): I'd say two reasons. The first reason is because of a company is truly pur, truly purpose driven. They, they really want to maximize their ability to use their company as a force for good, right? That is why they're existing, their purpose led. They're finding ways they're being creative and they're leaving. Most companies don't understand. There's an opportunity that they didn't even understand that they're leaving money on the table. These technology providers have already have already allocated a portion of these budgets to two partners. And if they don't take advantage of that opportunity, they're really leaving money on the table. And because it's so simple, it, it it's really a no brainer to do it in my opinion, and to, to increase and maximize that impact. Another really strong benefit is that because the actual employees touch these services every day, whether it be a zoom call or whether it be a phone call, whether it be their email, it could be messaged to the team of that enhanced and increased commitment to purpose that, you know, in, in a quarterly meaning like what, what, what some of our clients do is, you know, every quarter that they go live with a new a new purpose powered service, they'll, they'll communicate that to their team and say, Hey, by the way, starting now every email you send is purpose powered.
Jamie (11:19): So every, you know, this actual service, we, you know, we, that we are more deeply dedicated to purpose because we're going into the infrastructure of our company and finding ways to increase our impact in the services. So it happens to be that that's a nice benefit because there's so much daily touch to those services that the services themselves can also help with morale and, and employee engagement and things like that are also important for leaders. Mm-Hmm
Ben (11:47): <Affirmative> employees really do care about this stuff. And I love that we could take something that might seem pretty mundane, right, and actually put purpose behind it and impact behind it, which thinks really special. I think for anybody that's in CSR or ESG, that's listening to this. We all have goals right around the social impact that we need to be making. And the amount of donations that we're trying to contribute to nonprofits that we're, we're supporting right now. And this is a great way to help reach those schools. If you're falling a little bit behind, you're looking to just overachieve some of the impact goals you have right now, this is a great, really easy thing that you don't have to go get budget for, to plug into your programming right now. And so one of the bigger reasons we wanted to have Jamie on is that we just think this is a great solution for all of you that have those social impact goals, and you're in charge of creating social impact at your company.
Ben (12:31): And so, yeah, Jamie, we're really thankful you're sharing this with us and Jamie for folks that are listening. What's a really good, easy way just to dip their tone, the water with this. I think it's, it's obviously a little new for folks it's really easy to do. I can, I can definitely vouch for that. But you know, one of the things that I did was I just kind of sent you a list of vendors and you got back to me in like a couple days time with what was possible. Is that a good, easy, next step for folks that are interested in doing this to reach out to you, maybe do that vendor list and, and see what the kind of impact could look like.
Jamie (13:01): Exactly. Yeah. I mean, you are you're, I mean, a smaller company that we, some of the smaller companies in the dozen two dozen employees and those can generate generally hundreds of dollars of recurring donations. And then when we start to move into larger organizations and into the enterprise, you're talking about thousands or tens of thousands of dollars of recurring donations that that, that, that nonprofits can budget for their operating budgets. Right. That they, that it's not, it's not dilutive. And, and so the first step, obviously, yes, is just reach out to me. We can do a short meeting, like we did about 15 minutes just to run through the program a little bit. And then and then the the vendor list, we have a, we have a, we have a non-disclosure agreement to one page non-disclosure agreement. So they feel comfortable sharing the vendor list over with us.
Jamie (13:45): And then, yeah. And then from there, it's, it's pretty simple. We just go through and we kind of identify the low hanging fruit of where, where we can definitely quickly make an impact. And, and then, then go through a process that that that can give them a really quick snapshot of what's possible without a lot of distraction and time, time suck as, as you can attest to, it's not something that you have to create a project for and have a project leader for and, and take people off other projects. It's, it's, it's pretty simple. Most, most admins or finance admins can probably handle most of it.
Ben (14:17): Yep. It's super easy. Jamie, what else are we not sharing with folks? What do, what do people need to hear about your company about what you're doing? Open mic here for you
Jamie (14:27): <Laugh> I would say that at scale, the potential of it's probably important people to know that the, the technology industry at a global scale is at about 4.5 trillion in spend, right? So everything's moving into the cloud, all the SAS applications, communications and, and so it's a large amount of money and, and, and what people, I, I think the most exciting aspect of this is, is you ask for what other reasons would somebody want to consider doing? And, and that's just to be part of something that's can be really very impactful, right? Because nonprofits in general, they, nonprofit leaders spend a lot of time raising money. They're spending money on the phone and they're hiring teams to raise money. They're hiring teams to do events and send mailers. And there's so much administrative costs to raising money. And what's powerful about this program is that these donations get tied to fixed costs.
Jamie (15:23): They get tied to something that's as, as fixed as that, that bill for your email and that bill for your hosting and that bill for your communications. Right. and so, and those donations become at just as fixed. So there's no dilutive cost to those, to those donations coming in. And if we can do that at scale like enterprises and larger businesses doing this at scale, we can literally fund operating budgets of a lot of nonprofits with no dilution, right? No distraction. So those teams can do the impact that we want them to do without the distractions of getting back on the phone and doing another meeting. And, and, and, and, and also the costs of that capital that they raise being diluted by all those costs to go and compete with all the other non the, all the other nonprofits, all fighting for the very limited amount of funds. So this is a, it has the ability to create literally millions, if not billions of dollars of recurring donations, but we do need some, some companies, some early adopter, larger companies to get on board to VA to continue to validate it, like, like we here did, and we have about six clients now. So we need to bring that to 60 or 600, and we can watch this thing really scale and, and really create some incredible impact.
Ben (16:33): Yeah. I love the, the vision you have for how these nonprofits are supported and just understanding the operating costs that they have right now and how we can just even eliminate just a part of that with this work is really, really incredible. So love that you're doing this, Jamie, how can people get a hold of you? Where can people find the company and the website? Like, what are those details?
Jamie (16:53): Sure. Purpose in expenses is our, is our domain. So it's easy to remember purpose in expenses or PIE, easy to remember PIE purposes and expenses. And up there, there's a quick, there's lots of called actions to, to take the first step, which is a 15 minute meeting. It never goes over 15 minutes on that first meeting. And that's where we just identify what you know, that if there's a good fit, right. And if there is, I set a very short step that they can take from there and get a chance to know us, get a chance to know me, my wife, my co-founder and we're a, we're a small, yet very capable team that can, that can really make an impact in your organization.
Ben (17:29): Yeah. Well, thanks so much for jumping on Jamie. I think it's so important that you're, you're taking the time to do this, cuz again, I think so many companies can benefit from this. I can't think of a company that cannot benefit from this and it doesn't cost anything. There's almost no risk to this whatsoever. And it's a great way to generate increasing impact for your company. So I hope a lot of people take Jimmy up on his offer, jump on the phone with him for 15 minutes. And if you want to go beyond that 15 minutes and ask Jamie about his bike ride, it's a pretty incredible story. And I definitely spent like an hour plus talking to Jamie just about the bike ride. So definitely get in touch with him. So Jamie, thank you so much for jumping on and we wish you the best success with this business. Thanks very much. Appreciate it everyone. Thanks Jamie. Have a good day.

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Andy VandenBerg
Andy VandenBerg is the co-founder and COO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Andy speaks actively about the importance of aligning strategy with social responsibility and how companies can pursue both purpose and profit. Andy’s past experience includes private equity and family office investing. If he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him in the Pacific Ocean or Lake Michigan.
Ben Sampson
Ben Sampson is the co-founder and CEO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Ben speaks actively about corporate social responsibility, volunteerism, sustainability, and how companies united with activism drive powerful change. Ben’s past experience includes leading product teams, building startups, and studying sustainable business strategy at Harvard. In his free time, he’s an avid outdoor enthusiast focused on skiing, surfing, and mountain biking.

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Website: https://purposeinexpenses.com/