How DoorDash decides how and when to take a stand on social issues

  • DoorDash’s CMO explains how the company decides to take a stand on thorny social issues.
  • It assesses issues based on their impact on its core values ​​and mission to help local communities.
  • The approach resulted in the approval of an accelerator to help minority-owned businesses.

Brands have worked to connect with social causes to win over employees and consumers, but often struggle to figure out what hot-button issues to wade into and what to say.

DoorDash has launched a number of social initiatives, promoting black-owned businesses on its app, cutting its commissions for local restaurants by 50% during the pandemic, and launching a acceleration program for minority-owned CPG companies.

CMO Kofi Amoo-Gottfried, named one of Insider’s Most Innovative CMOs of 2022, believes these efforts have helped DoorDash retain its leading position in food delivery – the platform has achieved 59% of all U.S. meal delivery sales in the month of April, according to Bloomberg’s second measure.

To understand how to solve tough social issues and communicate them internally and externally, the company uses a system called DoorDash Compass.

DoorDash Compass


Amoo-Gottfried described it as follows: The company has a stated mission to help local communities and promote progress and equity while protecting against prejudice and exclusion. DoorDash uses the system to assess how issues compare to this mission and these values.

In this way, the company has given the green light to an accelerator to help minority-owned businesses and SafeDasha tool that allows delivery drivers to discreetly call for help if they find themselves in a threatening situation.

“During the pandemic, we’ve been focused on how to help each of our audiences,” Amoo-Gottfried said. “How can we help Dashers to keep rushing? How can we help local restaurants that have no more people coming through their doors through the pandemic? How can we help customers not walk out of at home? It’s less useful with a capital P’ but understanding where consumers are at any given time and responding to them.”

DoorDash also used the compass as a basis for not getting involved in issues, as was the case with the 2020 Facebook ad boycott. DoorDash acknowledged that Facebook had a hate speech problem, but that it would best solved by working with all platforms, although Amoo-Gottfried declined to say how he did it. (Of course, many brands dropped the boycott or returned to Facebook later anyway).

To gain internal buy-in for its decisions, Amoo-Gottfried said the company communicates them to employees and offers them incentives to create compass-inspired products, such as $5,000 to donate to charity. of their choice and $1,000 for a team activity.

“If people understand that you have a way to make those decisions and it feels transparent, fair, and consistent, they’ll understand the decision,” Amoo-Gottfried said.