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Pledge 1
Community Manager
Community Manager

Author: Adara Development


It was a desire to make a difference that first put Pledge 1% on Ansarada Co-Founders’, Sam and Rachel Riley’s radar. And it was a transformative meeting with Adara Group Founder and Chair, Audette Exel AO, that led Ansarada to pledge 1% of their equity, time and product to Adara.


Ansarada is a global ASX-listed software as a service business that companies, advisors and governments rely on for securely managing critical information, workflow and collaboration in high stakes processes like deals, risk, compliance, governance and procurement. The Adara Group is an international development organisation delivering quality health and education services to people living in poverty in some of the world’s remotest places.


When Ansarada learnt of Adara’s life-changing work and their innovative business-for-purpose model (more on that here) it seemed like a meeting of minds and a natural alignment on purpose. It marked the beginning of a powerful partnership that is still going strong, ten years down the line.


This partnership has seen Ansarada staff give their time to set up technology platforms or provide marketing support as part of the 1% of time pledge. It’s seen Adara get access to Ansarada’s software thanks to the 1% of product pledge. And it has seen Adara become an Ansarada shareholder through the 1% of equity pledge.


Since the beginning of the partnership in 2015, both organisations have grown and evolved. But what’s held it all together?

“It goes back to the culture,” Rachel says. “As we have gone from start up to scale up, it’s culture that trumps all other strategic outcomes. And as you scale up, that culture can change based on the people you hire and the community around you. Culture is obviously influenced by the people and your growth journey. But the starting culture of a start-up business is arguably built by the values that the founder(s) have.”


The founders of Ansarada always knew they wanted to create impact beyond just their business. They built giving – and Adara specifically – into their culture, right from the very beginning.


“Adara hasn’t just fit into that culture, Adara has actually helped create that culture,” Rachel says. “If we did a survey today of everyone globally across the business, in terms of what philanthropic impacts they’re passionate about, they would say the disadvantaged, the women and children in poverty in remote places. That’s Adara. They’ve grabbed that passion, they’ve heard that story and they can see the impact of what they’re doing.”


By understanding the causes that would resonate with their staff and embedding it early, Ansarada built a powerful culture that has endured recruitment drives, capital raisings, ASX listings and stakeholder changes.


“In a million different ways, the culture of Ansarada and the culture of Adara have clicked really deep,” agrees Adara’s Founder, Audette Exel. “And I cannot emphasise enough how important culture is for a business – everything flows from there.”


It’s been a mutually beneficial partnership. And the decision to choose Adara as the sole beneficiary of Ansarada’s 1% pledge was conscious, according to Rachel.


“Having a foundational rock with a non-for-profit that you support really helps your business,” Rachel says. “Having the pillar that everyone is centred around, that’s where the deep impact comes from.”


This hasn’t stopped the Ansarada team from getting involved with other local volunteering opportunities. But it has meant they approach their corporate giving in a much more strategic and targeted way, with Adara at the centre, bringing it all together and creating a bigger impact.


Audette, a social entrepreneur in her own right, has one key piece of advice for any organisation looking to begin their Pledge 1% or social impact journey: “Do it early. Like really early. Do it quick. And then embed it. When you’re starting, 1% may be 1% of very little. Once you grow a business, if you’re lucky enough and if you’re able to build something to scale, the impact can be massive – as it has been for us at Adara.”


Rachel agrees. “Ansarada wouldn’t be what it is today without the Adara relationship,” she says. “But if these partnerships aren’t embedded early on, it’s a difficult story to tell stakeholders later down the line.”


The tangible impact of a 1% pledge became clear earlier this year when Adara sold their stake in Ansarada. This followed the announcement of the proposed sale of part of Ansarada’s business.


“We poured that money straight into saving lives,” Audette says.


For both Adara and Ansarada, the impact of this 1% of equity is more than you’d ever see on a balance sheet. It’s a baby opening its eyes in a hospital in rural Uganda, who otherwise might have died. It’s a 12-year-old girl in a school uniform, rather than a wedding dress. It’s a child who was pulled out of a basement on her way to the trafficking trade, graduating top of her class.


And that’s exactly what the Pledge % movement is all about. Using the power of business to create change. To save lives.


To be a force for good.