Atlassian: Applying Lean, Start-up Culture for Great WPG Results

28 June, 2016

While workplace giving (WPG) can be a fabulous vehicle for donations and employee engagement, employers still haven’t fully maximised the opportunities these program can offer. Many are happy to leave it as a nice-to-have employee benefit buried (six feet under) in pages of HR policy and intranet sites.

Don’t worry if this sounds like your organisation – it even happens in highly innovative, progressive technology companies like Atlassian.

Here’s how we changed that.

The problem

A stagnant, ineffective, resource intensive, ‘put-me-out-my-misery’ workplace giving program, with a dismal participation rate of 2%.

The outcomes


  • Only 2% participation rate
  • Donations available to any eligible charities


  • 40% participation rate in six months
  • Two click sign-up process – six seconds or less
  • Expected donations to charity per year is $200,000+

The four key lessons we learnt

  1. Start lean in everything… especially with your beneficiaries.
    Driven by a lean start up culture (and limited resourcing to administer the program) one of the earliest changes was to limit the program beneficiary to one charity (‘WPG purists, please close your eyes’).We focussed the efforts of the program by supporting the Atlassian Foundation’s corporate partner – Room to Read. Did we get resistance? Yes we did (from the people already on the program), but most supported what we were trying to achieve and even signed up for the new program.
  2. ‘Two clicks and you’re done’.
    You can’t avoid metrics in a tech company. And our analytics gurus were the first to tell us that simplifying the user experience journey was critical to increasing sign-up. By the end of the revamp, we had reduced the sign-up requirements from eight open-entry fields to two simple clickable fields –taking less than six seconds to sign up.
  3. Slap on a theme and make it part of something bigger.
    Why not align your WPG program to your community investment goals?At the same time we were revamping WPG, our Foundation launched a new giving strategy that focussed on sponsoring the education of one Cambodian girl for every Atlassian employee.We leveraged this with a new campaign called ‘$1-a-day’ that challenged our employees to match the Atlassian Foundation’s support (a reverse play on the traditional donation matching) by further sponsoring a second girl’s education.And guess which newly revamped vehicle was ready and waiting for employees to participate through?
  4. Give a little nudge through Incentives.
    Atlassians love their swag (t-shirts to be specific). It’s strongly embedded in the tech scene globally. abound for everything, from product launches to celebrating significant milestones. To capitalise on this, we set about creating a highly desirable article of clothing – a limited edition Foundation Hoodie, which was offered to the first 100 employees who signed up to the program.And while some question the value of incentives, the results spoke for themselves: (1) It helped create momentum – 100 sign-ups in 43 minutes and a crashed server and (2) It helped create leverage – cost of a hoodie = $35, amount leveraged as result = $365 per year for the charity. That’s a pretty good return!

By: Jonathan Srikanthan, Manager, Atlassian Foundation