Social media and CSR: how to leverage your good works

Traditionally, corporations did not want to share their volunteer hours or donation amounts publicly because they did not the public to think they were bragging. Times have changed. When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility, it’s important to share your good works with your constituents.

Consumers continue to place demands on corporations to share their good works and CSR policies. They will talk about you no matter what, so it behooves you to take control over the information shared.

According to the 2015 Cone Communications/ Ebiquity Global CSR Study, consumers look beyond the traditional CSR report to learn about corporate citizenship activities. Social media is increasing in importance as an effective communication vehicle for social and environmental programs and products. In 2011, 7% of surveyed consumers indicated social media as the most effective channel; this number increased to 13% in 2015.

Not only do consumers view social media as an effective communication channel but also as a means to share their opinions and thoughts regarding corporations and their CSR programs. According to the Cone Communications/ Ebiquity Global study, “61% of global consumers use social media to address or engage with companies around CSR issues.” The majority of users (34%) utilize social media to communicate positive information about companies and CSR issues. Thirty percent of users use social media as a way to gather information about CSR issues, and 25% use social media as a way to communicate negative information. Your consumers are out there looking for information, and they speak positively about your efforts! Take advantage of social media as a tool to inspire, inform, and engage your consumers in giving back.

Social media and CSR

Here are five tips to successfully engage consumers in your corporate philanthropy efforts through social media:

(1) Be authentic

Do not overstate your commitments or downplay your failures or setbacks. Consumers demand transparency and authenticity from brands. By sharing challenges, you open the door for conversations that may create solutions. Start by hosting a twitter chat on the current issues your company and industry face in CSR and invite your charity partners and other stakeholders to participate.

(2) Inspire your consumers to take action

Social media is the perfect means to share campaigns that inspire your consumers to take actions that benefit the community.

In recognition of International Women’s Day (March 8), Cisco created its first Social Sharing Campaign. This 24-hour Twitter event encouraged Twitter users to retweet any of Cisco CSR’s tweets around Opportunity International, Water for People, or TechBridge. Cisco agreed to donate $1 for every tweet shared on International Women’s Day, up to $25,000.

This campaign inspired Twitter users to act as a Global Problem Solver for Women while raising awareness and funds for three worthy causes.

(3) Promote a cause

As indicated above, social media users use social media to find information about CSR. Use your social platforms to communicate information about timely causes.  

For example, if your consumer base is primarily women, encourage your followers to take action during National Women’s Health Week to protect their health. You will inform your consumers, and they will view your brand as a brand that cares.

(4) Feature your employees

Your employees actively engage in volunteering and giving. Feature them in your social media campaigns, and share their passions and causes on your social media platforms. Your employees will appreciate you recognizing them as changemakers, and your consumer base will appreciate putting a face with your brand.

(5) Engage with your followers

This probably goes without saying, but don’t forget to engage with your followers! Respond to their comments (both positive and negative), share relevant information, answer their questions, and like their comments and questions.

Your consumers and stakeholders thirst for knowledge surrounding your giving and volunteering programs. Don’t be hesitant to share your CSR statistics or opinions on current environmental or social concerns! You may inspire your constituents to join you on your journey to enact social change.

Strategic corporate philanthropy: driving business results through giving

Once upon a time and not too long ago, corporate philanthropy followed a pretty simple approach. Companies would make contributions for various good works with a preference for traditional charities that often helped the underserved, the arts, or education.

The corporate foundation, which is a separate legal entity from the sponsoring company, often became the vehicle companies would use to meet their charitable giving goals. In the not so distant past, corporate foundations did little more than support the company’s employee matching gift program and hand out small donations far and wide in communities where the company operates and where employees reside.

Increasingly, a new kind of philanthropy is moving to the front and center in the corporate world. Company sponsored foundations, like other private foundations, are becoming more proactive. In the case of corporate foundations, they are becoming strategically aligned with the mission and business interests of the company.

We’ve seen a significant shift in the number of companies that are tying their foundation’s giving to specific causes and interests. Corporate Citizenship, a global CSR consulting firm, reports that nearly three-quarters of corporate foundations surveyed across 20 countries said their giving strategy is linked to the parent company’s business focus. The number of companies becoming more strategic and linking charitable activity to their business focus areas is up in recent years, and we expect this trend to continue. 

For example, let’s look at where tech companies, car makers, and energy firms spend their philanthropic dollars. Most of these companies pour grants into STEM education as they look to the future supply of skilled workers for their sectors. Big banks, which rely heavily on entry-level workers coming from diverse urban populations, invest millions in grantmaking to boost basic job skills and career readiness.

Good Done Great Strategic Philanthropy

We see two other significant changes in the world of corporate foundations. The first is the desire to make an impact and demonstrate that they are making a difference. The previously cited Corporate Citizenship study found that half of the corporate funders surveyed said they currently measure their impact, and three-quarters said they would like to.

The second change is that corporate foundations engage with other key stakeholders in the nonprofit and educational sectors to create partnerships to collaboratively address issues.  They aren’t attempting to solve the big challenges alone. For example, when a company identifies STEM as a focus area, they will often partner with educational groups, nonprofits, and governmental entities to collaborate on a strategy to make a significant difference and to ‘significantly move the needle’ on a complex issue.

The Walmart Foundation is a great example of what we’re discussing and what is happening in the world of corporate foundations. The Walmart Foundation was originally designed to sprinkle donations in every large and small community where they have stores. The company has a long list of organizations receiving grants from its foundation. For example, at a store opening, the Walmart Foundation would give a $500 grant to the local United Way. Millions of dollars were distributed in this way through small donations to local nonprofit organizations often with no expectation of how the funds would be spent. It was done as a goodwill gesture on the part of Walmart when moving into a new community.

While the company still makes these type of grants, foundation giving has become more strategic and aligned. Since 2014, giving at the Walmart Foundation has undergone a paradigm shift with a long term push to revamp a tarnished image and increase bottom line results by focusing on core social issues that tie directly to the company’s business. They publicly talk about the new strategy and how it ties back to the company.

As a foundation, they are focusing on several key issues including employment, women’s empowerment, hunger, and veterans. Foundation giving is closely tied to business interests and needs such as promoting better labor practices, helping front line employees get ahead, and providing better job opportunities.

While hunger and veterans’ issues aren’t unique to Walmart, these are issues in which the company can make a significant difference by leveraging its advantage as a top grocery supplier with a presence in communities all across the U.S. The company is donating 611 million pounds of food and $61 million to organizations fighting hunger.

Good Done Great Strategic Philanthropy

Some may argue that these investments and contributions aren’t truly philanthropic in nature and smack of self-interest. However, it is important to recognize that the company is making a difference, and strategic philanthropy is now the norm.

Whether it be Walmart, a large bank, a tech company, a car manufacturer, or any number of companies who invest, collaborate, and measure their impact, a focused strategic approach to corporate social responsibility is good. When companies engage in strategic philanthropy, they can make a difference and have a positive impact both in the community and for the company. It’s a win-win situation.

Is it bad for companies to address issues important to them if at the same time those same issues are impacting communities all across the world? It is a good question and one certainly to ponder. We think it’s a good business practice and one that will continue for years to come.

SCRA provides Good Done Great with a second investment

SCRA initially invested in Good Done Great in 2015. They recently provided us with an additional investment to launch our product into the small to mid-size business market. Read more about our recent investment here.

The Tech Life Podcast features Good Done Great

Rich Conte of The Tech Life Podcast featured Good Done Great in 2015. We thought it was about time that we sat down again with Rich to discuss our latest news and future product plans. Take a listen here!

Giving back: the secret to a happy life

In the 1975 cult classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his knights embark on a journey for the Holy Grail. Legend holds that this vessel, discussed throughout Arthurian literature, provides youth and happiness to whomever possesses it.

Throughout history, humans have sought the secret to happiness and fulfillment.

Even the United Nations has designated March 20th as the International Day of Happiness, a day celebrating the importance of happiness in individuals around the globe.

Happiness and Giving Back Good Done Great

Will we find happiness if we find the Holy Grail, or is there another way to secure happiness and fulfillment?

The answer may be simple: give back.

In 2008, Michael Norton, an assistant professor of Marketing at Harvard Business School, conducted a study with Elizabeth Dunn and Lara Aknin of the University of British Columbia. The researchers surveyed 632 Americans and asked how much they earn in a year, how much they spent on bills, expenses, and personal gifts in a month, and how much they spent on gifts for others and charitable donations in a month. Additionally, the researchers asked those surveyed to rate how happy they were.

The research showed that those individuals who spent more on other people were happier. The money they spent on themselves did not impact their level of happiness.

Additional studies indicated the same – individuals that spent their money on other people were happier than those who spent money on themselves.

Norton highlights the importance of corporate social responsibility and employee giving stating that if companies provide their employees with the opportunity to give to their own causes versus providing a blanket donation to a company cause, employees will be happier. This opportunity for employees may entice further charitable giving.

Beyond donating to your favorite charity, volunteering with your favorite charity can also bring you happiness. According to research conducted at the London School of Economics, the more individuals volunteered, they happier they were. In fact, if you spend time helping others, you may feel as if you have more time to yourself.

Researchers from The Wharton School, Yale School of Management, and Harvard Business School conducted a study surrounding time and giving back. According to this study, “giving time makes people feel efficacious – like they can get more done. Therefore, we also included behavioral measures reflective of feeling less time constrained and more capable: committing to future engagements and following through on those time commitments.” By giving away your time to others, you will feel more productive!

If you want to boost your spirits or embark upon a journey to lifelong happiness, the answer is simple, give back. We think this solution is a heck of a lot easier and more fulfilling than enduring a trek with killer rabbits and holy hand grenades.

They say that when you give, the effect upon your brain is similar to eating chocolate. If you love chocolate (and giving), then sign up today for an individual giving account!

Silicon Harbor Magazine features Good Done Great’s acquisition of Dexterity Ventures, Inc.

Silicon Harbor Magazine featured our acquisition of Dexterity Ventures, Inc. Check it out here.

Business Examiner features Good Done Great’s acquisition of Dexterity Ventures Inc.

Business Examiner featured our acquisition of Dexterity Ventures Inc. Read it here.

LowcountryBizSC features Good Done Great’s acquisition of Dexterity Ventures Inc.

LowcountryBizSC featured our release of Dexterity Ventures Inc. Check it out here.

The Post and Courier features Good Done Great’s Canadian Acquisition

The Post and Courier penned a brief article about our acquisition of Dexterity Ventures Inc. Read the piece here.

Good Done Great Expands Canadian Services With Purchase of B Corp, DVI

Good Done Great, an innovative Benefit Corporation (B Corp) dedicated to revolutionizing individual and corporate philanthropy, announced today the purchase of Dexterity Ventures Inc. (DVI). DVI is a Canadian B Corp focused on the creation of business to business donation tools for small to medium sized enterprises that want to incorporate giving and social good into their products and online presence.

“As one of the pioneers of charity big data, DVI has spent the last seven years building technology to harness this information and put the power of strategic giving into the hands of every day North Americans,” said Gena Rotstein, CEO and founder of DVI. “We are very excited about the private sale to Good Done Great as they share our same values and desire to fundamentally change the way people think about their giving.”

The purchase will add further momentum to Good Done Great’s ambitious efforts to expand the ways individuals and companies alike do good. By incorporating DVI’s award-winning Give_API Good Done Great will seamlessly offer the Canadian market its catalogue of corporate and individual giving solutions along with its outstanding customer service. Charitable allocations from Canadian donors on the Good Done Great system will be processed in partnership with The Place2Give Foundation, the donor advised fund set-up by DVI to manage charitable transactions in Canada and US.

“Since our inception, Good Done Great has focused first and foremost on the needs of the giver, be that giver a Fortune 500 corporation, or a single individual,” said David Barach, CEO and founder of Good Done Great. “DVI’s focus on using charity data to enhance the giving experience is why this is such an outstanding B Corp acquisition for Good Done Great, its clients, and the philanthropic world at-large.”

Good Done Great is a trusted brand providing first-rate CSR and philanthropy technology and services for businesses, charities, and donors. Through its continued collaboration with givers and businesses, Good Done Great has processed more than $500 million in charitable contributions to tens of thousands of global charities. The organization has developed a suite of products and services that will benefit from integrating those developed by DVI.

DVI will cease all operations as of April 30, 2017, and founder Gena Rotstein will transition to a consulting role in support of Good Done Great clients and others. The Place2Give Foundation will retain its charitable status as a Donor Advised Fund providing philanthropic services for donors through, TheCardThat.Gives, and several other platforms. Canadian donations and Canadian donations to the US will be processed by Place2Give. All US donations will be processed by DonateWell, Good Done Great’s US foundation. US donations to Canadian charities will be processed in partnership between DonateWell and Place2Give Foundation US.

About Good Done Great:

Through innovative technologies and engagement practices, Good Done Great inspires, supports, and expands the charitable aspirations of corporations and individuals. From personal giving accounts to scalable Corporate Social Responsibility platforms, Good Done Great provides solutions that eradicate barriers to giving and facilitate meaningful, lasting connections between givers and the causes they care about.

As ardent believers in the power of business to effect positive change, Good Done Great was one of the first certified and registered Benefit Corporations (B Corp). To date we have processed more than $500 million in donations on behalf of tens of thousands of charities around the globe.


Good Done Great
(803) 500-1380

Dexterity Ventures Inc.
(866) 936-4483