Community, Culture, and Giving Back

Community, Culture, and CSR go hand-in-hand when it comes to building an authentic brand that customers will positively resonate with.

Special Guest: Nathan Decker, Director of Ecommerce at evo

On this episode of The Impact Exchange we have special guest Nathan Decker, Director of Ecommerce at evo. He swung by our office to discuss corporate social responsibility hot off the ICRE event where he spoke about innovation in omni-channel retail.

The foundation of evo is built on "Community, Culture & Giving Back", which is why we are so excited to learn more about how they are integrating corporate social responsibility to enrich their communities, ignite their culture and prioritize giving back. Take a listen and get actionable insights to inspire your own CSR strategy.

What is evo?

evo explores the collaboration between culture and sport by seamlessly joining art, music, streetwear, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, and wakeboarding. Our aim is to bring all things relevant to the urban, action sports lifestyle into one creative space. Whether it is on the website, on the phone or in our stores, our aim is to make all who come into contact with evo feel welcome and excited about their experience.

As evo evolved from an ebay store, to multi-channel brand as it is today - they made the crucial decision to identify their values and their mission. They created 3 pillars to define their mission:

  1. Build an iconic brand in business (like Nike or Apple)
  2. Create an extraordinary place to work
  3. Use both of above to give back

As Nathan explains, they truly need all three to work together in order to achieve any of them. As simple as each sound, it actually took years for them to develop. Since then they have seen a remarkable shift as they have stayed committed to their values and mission. Nathan describes that moment as an inflection point.

"We were like- this is what we are about, this is what we are doing. Since then we have attracted a different talent pool. We've retained a different set of people. It's been really interesting to see how that's helped our business click."


A big challenge we see when we speak with companies is that there are countless causes and nonprofits that need help. It can be quite daunting when trying to decide not only how to give back, but who to give back to. As we say to brands, FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS.

Does it have to exactly align with your product? No.

Do you have to already have been involved in that cause or organization? No.

Do you have to choose just one? No.

Are you going through process of choosing who to support, explore these questions:

Would you personally want to learn more about this specific cause or organization outside of business?

How do you foresee your brand engaging with this cause or organization?

In ten years, will the mission of the cause or organization still inspire you?

What does the ideal community look like that would rally support around this specific cause or organization?

Bryce Phillips, evo's Founder & CEO, has had a long standing passion for helping underprivileged youth so it was a natural fit to help organizations such as Big Brothers & Big Sisters. But evo understands that everyone has their own passions for giving back. So in order to honor their employees individual interests, they give one week off paid time off to do any volunteer work they choose. Take a listen and learn more about the different initiatives they are implementing to engage their community in giving back.


It's no secret that unemployment rates are at a historically low rate, and the talent pool is shallow. Since evo has articulated their vision, Nathan has noticed a serious difference in attracting better talent and more talent to choose from with new openings on all levels.

"More than 9 out of 10 employees, we found, are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work." - Harvard Business Review

"In a recent survey, more than 10% of workers said they'd be willing to take a $5,000 - $10,000 pay cut to work for a company that is sustainably responsible" - Fast Company

Attracting talent is just the first step into creating an innovative workforce, holding on to top talent can be the hard part if you're not a purpose-driven company. Pair the fact that the stigma of switching jobs is lessening, plus a 15% pay increase when a person switch jobs, and you have businesses taking on the majority of the turnover negative effects.

$109,000 average cost per turnover - Oracle

Giving back is invaluable, but that price tag should be hard to ignore.

Giving Back

As much as giving back feels good, it can be hard to measure the success of your initiatives. We understand, oh boy do we understand. In fact, we built our entire business and technology at ShoppingGives in order to offer a solution to help make charitable giving seamless and also measurable for brands.

evo takes corporate social responsibility seriously, they even defined KPI's for their initiatives. They created a corporate dashboard and have monthly leadership meeting where they review key metrics from every department, such as conversion rates, fulfillment rates, etc., but part of that is tracking their giving back program with goals such as their monthly target for volunteer hours for each department.

One of evo's most effective CSR initiatives is their in-store and in-cart donation function. They have seen a triple in conversion rate of people who get through the checkout process. Since they have more margin in their new private label brand, they are also giving back more with those products.

"There is a lot of research to support that people are motivated with financial rewards to a point. But as soon as you get into free thinking, knowledge worker work, if you reach a base level of income you're not really that motivated by the next tier. In fact, performance gets worse." - Nathan

Nathan suggests everyone watch the video about the novel "DRIVE" by Daniel Pink. It's good, check it out!

Ultimately, your CSR strategy doesn't need to be isolated, it can be used as a performance metric, it can become a tool for attracting top talent and customers, or it can simply be something you look back on and feel good about the time well spent on making this world a better place.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of The Impact Exchange, until next time...

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