Scale is the stuff of business textbooks and industrial age business models.

It is also a scary word for just about anyone trying to start up an internal or external new venture (but will it scale Ryan?)

The strategy of “leveraging scale” led to 19th & 20th century riches. By smartly  understanding how to leverage scale, some companies have grown unfathomably large and sometimes even “too big to fail.

Guys like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have also grown rich beyond anyone’s imagination by understanding the power of scale.  So, it is exciting to learn that Buffet and Gates have joined forces to build “philanthropy scale” via the giving pledge, an initiative aimed at getting billionaires to pledge at least half of their net worth to charitable donations.

So far, Gates & Buffet have been pretty successful (40 enlightened billionaires are now signed up). I found a great digital graphic (a must look) on the amount of good this money could do if all the cash was focused on an individual cause.

Crushing the others by themselves

The giving pledge is even more impressive when you consider that “Fab 40” giving alone crushes the 2009 giving of the entire Fortune 100 (probably even the entire Fortune 500).

Imagine if a couple of giant, enlightened companies led the way with their own form of the Giving Pledge.  Even a meager 1% to 2% of revenue donated by all Fortune 500 companies (per year) would step change the world…vastly increasing the amount of good in the universe.

Some enlightened companies (like Patagonia) have been doing this for a while already.  And hey, people in the US give about 2% (on average) of their income to causes per year.  Aren’t corporations people too?)

So who will stand up and lead the corporate America effort here?  Anyone?  Google?

I predict that a smart, BIG company will pick up on the giving pledge zeitgeist and lead the way–earning loads of goodwill and building massive 21st century brand equity.

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