Canva: Creating a Force For Good – by Cameron Adams, Cofounder and CPO at Canva

One of the key factors behind starting Canva was that we wanted to create a business *our* way. That means not only thinking about the product (which millions of people love), but also the philosophy behind it and the processes we employ along the way.

Our mission is to “empower the world to design” and one of our key values is to “be a force for good”. So when we are thinking about ways in which we can empower the world to design we are always thinking about how we can do that in a way which has the most positive impact we can.

This has resonated with so many people that have joined us along the way to help fulfil Canva’s mission and when I do my on-boarding session to all newbies about Canva’s culture, it’s one of the top reasons why people are attracted to working at Canva.

Although we have weaved goodness into everything that we do here (whether that’s the sustainability of the inks in our print products, our non-profit giveback program, or the way that we source food for our lunches) in 2019 we also officially committed to Pledge 1%, a global initiative where businesses donate 1% of their profit, equity, product and time in order to give back to their communities in any way they can.

Our involvement in Pledge 1%, combined with our drive to enable everyone to design anything, anywhere, was the spark that brought Canva for Education to life. Canva for Education gives teachers and students across the world access to the premium features of Canva for free, as well as a creative workflow that’s tailored exclusively for the classroom. It is the first free creative suite available across the globe.

So why give it away for free? Over the 7 years since we launched Canva we have seen an amazing response from educators all over the world. Teachers these days spend less of their time in front of the blackboard and more time helping to guide children through an evolving, digital world; one that values creative and critical thinking. More than ever, they are helping to mould our next generation of creative, energetic and inspiring leaders.

Teachers have embraced Canva, taken it into their classrooms, and shared with us the excitement and engagement that they have received from their students because of it. The ability to explore and communicate visually is a vital part of learning and as part of us being a force for good, we think that putting an easy-to-use design tool into the hands of students anywhere in the world is one of the most powerful things we can do to help improve learning outcomes on a global basis.

Being a force for good is one of the things that drives every single one of our 860+ (and growing) team. Social responsibility isn’t just the job of big business, nor is it just the job of charity organisations. As individuals – and particularly as a startup – it’s our responsibility to create a new model for businesses that properly balances profits and the planet. It’s imperative for the sustainability of our environment and our societies.

It’s refreshing to see a new wave of emboldened companies coming through that think about this, and place positive social impact at the heart of their companies too. Veterans like Atlassian and Salesforce are drivers behind the Pledge 1% movement. And startups like Humanitix and Karst are finding innovative, sustainable solutions to age-old problems. The smaller your company is, the easier it is to embed this social conscience into your organisation.

So if you’re a budding entrepreneur or startup leader, map out how you want your organisation to ultimately have an impact and give back to your community from day one. It doesn’t have to be part of a huge cash donation, it can be with your time, your product ideas, and even with the values that help drive the decisions you make every single day. Give back, and the returns you, your team, and the planet will receive will be many.