Data-Driven Storytelling: Is your Company Collecting the Right Data to tell its CSR Story?

Recently, we welcomed two thought-leaders in the CSR space Christina Bowen (VP at Good Done Great) and Cynthia Figge (COO/Cofounder of CSRHub and Cofounder of EKOS International) as co-hosts for a webinar discussing data-driven storytelling.

We had an overwhelming number of engaged attendees from across the country! If you weren’t able to attend, don’t fret! This post will provide you with the highlights from this informative discussion on how to collect the correct CSR data, analyze it, and share it with both external and internal stakeholders.

Prior to the presentation, we reported findings from two questions asked of our webinar registrants:

1) How do you collect your CSR data?

  • Spreadsheets 54%
  • CSR Software 31%
  • Access Database 5%
  • Don’t collect data 4%
  • Paper 3%

The majority of our audience realized the importance of data, and 31% even utilize a CSR software to manage and track this data!

2) How do you communicate your CSR story to your stakeholders?

  • CSR Report 23%
  • Email 4%
  • Website 4%
  • Social Media 3%
  • E-Newsletters 1%
  • All of the above 64%

Our first presenter, Christina, is a huge proponent of sharing your CSR story with internal and external stakeholders. It was great to see that the majority of our registrants communicate their story using both traditional and new media.

I. The Importance of Data

Christina began the webinar discussing the importance of data to tell your CSR story. She discussed how data points are the proof points that demonstrate how your company shows up in the communities where you do business. Data points provide meaningful and powerful information to your CSR statements. With data, CSR statements are believable. With quantitative data, a CSR story becomes more substantive. She provided the following examples:

  • Number of people impacted through your CSR programs
    • Meals served
    • Houses built
    • Immunizations provided
    • Coats or toys collected
    • Computers donated
  • Total dollars contributed
  • Total volunteer hours logged
  • Total dollars matched by your company

With robust, data-driven statements, your CSR content is more likely to be picked up by media. Additionally, it delivers proof to your stakeholders, including current and potential employees, that your company is a socially responsible business.

Christina also discussed the importance of identifying the story you want to tell. Is there a social injustice you’re trying to correct? Is it important to reduce your environmental footprint? Are you trying to create a more vibrant economy in your community?

She went on to say that after you identify the story you want to tell, you must leverage it appropriately. Review data on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis and evaluate how it will support your programs and initiatives. After you strategically collect your data and analyze it, you are ready to share it with the world via traditional and social media.

II. Benchmarking and More

After Christina’s dynamic conversation, Cynthia provided information on benchmarking and ratings.  In today’s world, business managers are under pressure to report CSR performance. Even if you don’t provide data to the media, your company is still rated and covered!

Companies receive data requests from a variety of sources including ESG research firms, supply chain systems and industry organizations, and activists and NGOs. With all these requests, it’s important to ensure accurate data.

Along with the influx of requests to receive CSR data, the need to know CSR performance is increasing. From business managers to consumers and investors, CSR data provides vital information on activism, research, and social impact.

CSR Performance

In addition to the six markets featured above, it’s important not to overlook your employees and customers.

The CSRHub platform maps, aggregates, and normalizes data from stakeholders. The platform collects 5,000 data types and 73 million data points from 402 sources. CSRHub maps this data to four categories: Community, Employees, Environment, and Governance.

CSRHub and Good Done Great

Cynthia noted that CSRHub has collected data since 2008. Since this year, the depth and breadth of data has changed to include human rights and climate change. Today, the data is much richer.

A question that CSRHub and Cynthia receives often from CSR professionals is: do we increase our risk by providing data? CSRHub believes in the full circle benefits of external reporting. CSRHub compared companies in their database reporting according to GRI guidelines to those who did not. A strong statistical improvement of perception exists if the company does report based upon GRI guidelines. [pullquote]A strong statistical improvement of perception exists if the company does report based upon GRI guidelines.[/pullquote]

Toward the end of the presentation, Christina noted how corporations are the intersection of human and financial resources. When we can successfully combine these two resource groups, business truly is the strongest driver of social change. Real and reliable data allows for a powerful story which legitimizes our efforts and motivates us to continue our work.

Thanks to Christina and Cynthia for such an informative discussion! If you would like to view the presentation, please click here.

Boost your CSR ROI with Pro Bono

This week, October 25-31 2015, is Pro Bono Week, a global celebration of harnessing professional services for good. Inspired by the American Bar Association’s National Celebration of Pro Bono work, Pro Bono Week occurs the last week of October each year. Events take place all over the world from discussions on corporate volunteering in Moscow to Pro Bono Challenge days in Osaka and Indianapolis.

Pro Bono Week

Pro Bono is derived from the Latin word pro bono publico, meaning “for the public good.” Pro bono is a term for professional services provided at a low or no cost to the benefitting organization. In the United States, pro bono initially started as a service to qualify lawyers, but now it encompasses services such as legal, marketing, strategic planning, IT, and human resources.

Considering that pro bono service is valued at $150/hour as opposed to $23.07/hour for traditional volunteering, nonprofits gain tremendous value from pro bono and skills-based volunteerism programs. A 2009 Deloitte study indicated that 62% of nonprofits reported a need for pro bono support. A follow-up study provided by FTI Consulting and The Taproot Foundation identified the top areas of pro bono need:

1. Marketing

2. Board Member or Executive Search

3. Organization Design or Coaching

4. Financial Advisory or Consulting

5. Information Technology

6. Human Resources

According to CECP’s Giving in Numbers: 2015 Edition, pro bono is the fastest-growing employee volunteer program with 40% of companies offering pro bono in 2012 to 51% offering pro bono in 2014. This is great news, as pro bono not only positively impacts the non-profit organizations but also the corporations and their employees.

Through pro bono programs, corporations invest more powerfully in their communities. Employees build leadership and professional skills while increasing their creative thinking abilities. True Impact, a management consulting firm focused on helping corporations measure the ROI of CSR programs, noted that employees who participate in pro bono are three times more likely to receive professional development than traditional volunteering.

It’s clear that pro bono programs are a win-win-win for nonprofits, corporations, and employees, but how do you develop a pro-bono program within your corporation? In addition to collaborating with your most passionate employee volunteers and nonprofits first, there are several resources available to you as volunteer coordinators:

1. A Billion + Change


A Billion + Change is a movement to encourage all businesses to offer pro bono programs. In less than twoA Billion Plus Change years, A Billion + Change inspired over 500 companies delivering over $2 billion in pro bono volunteerism. Join them in their mission to inspire 5,000 businesses to conduct pro bono programs.

Take the pledge to provide your employees with pro bono and skills-based volunteerism programs. Review their resources to learn how to develop a pro bono program.

2) PYXERA Global


PYXERA Global is a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating partnerships between corporations, non-profit organizations, and public service organizations. PYXERA Global partners with corporations in designing global pro bono programs which boost the professional abilities of participants while creating shared value for communities.

Who is doing pro bono right?

Deloitte offers pro bono and skills-based volunteering to their employee base. Over the past four years, Deloitte employees completed over 1,000 pro bono projects. Furthermore, Deloitte’s Center for Leadership and Community gathers non-profit professionals to discuss areas of concern and develop skills which further their missions.

83% of their pro bono clients report more than a 20% improvement in productivity due to the project.

Pro Bono Deloitte City Year

Want to learn more?

  • Check out our #GDGShares episode on skills-based volunteerism.
  • Read our VP of Strategic Partnerships’ favorite way to volunteer.
  • Check out the Pro Bono Week website for the entire global event listing.

Pro bono programs provide immense value to non-profits, employees, and corporate groups. This week, consider how a pro bono program will elevate your volunteerism programs and expand your corporate citizenship efforts.

Happy #PBW15!

 

Fantasy Football is More than Trash Talking: How to Utilize Gamification to Increase Giving

Cooler air, shorter days, and a new school year signal the arrival of the fall season. Along with the changing leaves, fall also indicates the return of football and the office tradition that is fantasy football. At Good Done Great, we participate in a league that spans two of our offices and multiple departments. (We even have a channel on our internal communication site solely dedicated to trash talking.)  

Fantasy football and March Madness are easy and fun ways to engage employees across departments while increasing collaboration, interaction, and team-building. There’s nothing like a little bit of competition to fire up your employees!

Gamification and Employee Engagement

Today, corporate groups including Target, Omnicare, and Ford Motor Group utilize games and game design to engage and motivate employees, drive positive behaviors, and positively impact business. In fact, 55% of Americans say they are interested in working for a company that uses gamification to increase productivity. Current gamification strategies impact everything from customer service to training and onboarding new employees.

Gamification strategies easily translate to workplace giving programs. Through utilizing reward and recognition programs, corporate philanthropy professionals can increase the amount and number of donations or participation in volunteer events. Millennials in particular expect positive reinforcement as their baby boomer parents were quick to praise them as children. Rewards may include tangible awards including plaques, increased match ratios, or volunteer grants. Intangible awards include recognition on a company and department level. But, beware! You must alter reward types in order to avoid employee boredom.

In addition to awards, 4 other examples of gamification strategies to increase giving include:

1) Badges for Giving and Volunteering

Utilizing your workplace giving technology platform (may we suggest Good Done Great), award your employees for giving and volunteering through virtual badges. Apply levels so that employees are motivated to go above and beyond their normal donation and volunteer amounts to achieve higher ranking badges.

Employee Recognition

 

2) Team-Based Volunteer and Giving Programs

Giving and volunteering is much more fun in teams!  Form teams based upon location, departments, and interests. Challenge other teams to volunteer, or give, or complete specific volunteer opportunities (ie build one house with Habitat for Humanity, tutor 30 students).

3) Peer-to-peer Fundraising

Allow your employees to create personal fundraising pages to raise funds on behalf of a cause. Fundraisers may work to achieve sponsorship for an upcoming race or personal event or challenge (such as Movember). This type of fundraising encourages goal-setting and collaboration with colleagues while promoting a worthy cause.

4) Nonprofit Challenges

In addition to donating, employees can provide significant value to non-profits by offering their unique skill sets. Offer your employees volunteer projects which solve a particular challenge that a nonprofit faces. Examples may include building a digital marketing strategy to attract Millennial donors or building a donor database which allows the non-profit to collate communication with repeat donors. Through providing a challenge or puzzle for your employees to solve, they will unite under a common goal and work diligently to provide a solution.

 

As you begin to strategize and plan for your end of the year giving campaigns take an example from fantasy football! Utilize gaming techniques to reinforce positive behavior and encourage your employees to give and volunteer!

Go Global Part Two: International Vetting and Compliance

Last week on our 411 on International Giving post, we covered how one goes about setting a strategy for a global CSR program. Today in part two, we will address the other major concern that the 2013 Giving Beyond Borders study raised as being of significant concern to those embarking on developing an international employee engagement program.

PART TWO: INTERNATIONAL VETTING AND COMPLIANCE

After mastering international employee engagement program design and implementation, the next step is to determine how to perform international vetting and disbursements. The following recommendations are for companies who are disbursing funds from the USA.

According to the study conducted by LBG Associates:

  • 43% of companies surveyed utilize both company resources and vendor resources to perform vetting.
  • 39% of companies utilize the vendor only to perform vetting.
  •  18% of companies rely solely upon themselves to perform vetting.

This statistic is not surprising, as vetting international organizations is expensive and time intensive. Imagine the difficulties in communicating in a foreign language with a small NGO in a remote area of the world. They may not have an Executive Director or contact listed on their website, or even a website for that matter! You can attempt to contact them via postal mail, but your multiple attempts may go unanswered.

International Corporate Giving

Several companies utilize workaround solutions in order to avoid the hassle and expense of international vetting by implementing lower standards for vetting volunteer or matching gift donations. Some companies only allow employees to donate to non-profits supported by the corporate grant program. Lastly, some companies will only work with US 501(c)(3)s that have an international program or affiliates.

Depending upon your corporate structure, you may only need to comply with certain laws. If your CSR department is a corporate foundation, you must complete equivalency determinations for each international non-profit you wish to support. This process determines the non-profit’s equivalent status in the United States and maintains the corporate foundation’s charitable status.            

If your CSR giving is solely corporate contributions, you must concern yourself with FCPA (Foreign Foreign Corrupt Practices ActCorrupt Practices Act). Compliance with FCPA ensures that the recipient organization is a NGO and prevents bribery or other illegal activities. And don’t forget Patriot Act compliance! This ensures that your corporate dollars do not support terrorist organizations.

You may need support in completing these processes, and a variety of partners exist to assist you in ensuring that you are abiding by these laws. TechSoup Global is a non-profit with an international network of NGOs that provides technology and other services to the social sector. TechSoup offers two services for vetting international NGOs including NGOSource and NGOk. NGOSource is a membership service and provides members with a database of Equivalency Determinations. NGOk is global validation service ensuring that an organization is recognized as an NGO in their country of origin.

GlobalGiving is yet another organization which provides vetting services. This non-profit organization has boots on the ground in the most remote areas of the world performing vetting at both the project level and organization level. With this type of service, you can ensure that the non-profit organization is fully compliant with national/international law and corporate goals.

Global Giving International Vetting

No one said going global would be easy, but with the proper support from partner organizations and your international staff, you can ensure that your programs will be a success from design to implementation. Imagine your global philanthropy impact!

 

Go Global: The 411 on International Corporate Giving

After mastering domestic employee and community engagement programs, the natural next step is to expand abroad. With a global CSR program, you can expand your company’s impact beyond your home state or national boundaries to include your international employees’ communities. Imagine the global philanthropic story you can tell by utilizing the skills of your entire employee population while addressing community challenges around the world!

Expanding internationally does provide a plethora of challenges including vetting of international NGOs, disbursements of funds, and compliance with national laws. Furthermore, managing a global CSR program with tens, or hundreds of thousands of employees is challenging especially if you are unfamiliar with the languages and cultures.

According to the 2013 Giving Beyond Borders study conducted by the Lilly School of Philanthropy,

  • 46% of corporations indicated a need for a global employee engagement strategy
  • 50% of corporations indicated a need for vetting services

In this two part series, Good Done Great will highlight each of these challenges and offer suggestions and insights into how to master them.

Global CSR Solution Good Done GreatPART ONE: SETTING A GLOBAL CSR STRATEGY

Prior to implementing any formal employee or community engagement program, you must evaluate the country’s cultural opinions on volunteering and service. Traditionally, Americans are naturally philanthropic either donating, volunteering, or performing random acts of kindness. However, in other countries, this is not always the common practice or the attitudes about doing these things in the workplace are different.

A study conducted by LBG Associates collected data from 36 multinational companies surrounding their experiences in launching global employee engagement programs. This study indicated that matching gifts, workplace giving, and volunteerism are viewed as benefits similar to vacation time or insurance. This stance indicates that corporate philanthropy is not a priority, or at the core of the business.

Consider these various viewpoints of volunteerism:

  • Employee A: “It’s not the company’s business if I volunteer. Volunteerism is personal and shouldn’t be associated with corporate programs.”
  • Employee B: “Volunteering should only be associated with church-related initiatives.”
  • Employee C: “The government should take care of its citizens.” (Brazilians often view volunteerism as such; however, they are apt to volunteer in instances where the government fails to intercede.)
  • Employee C: “If I volunteer on company time, my manager may look down upon me, and it may hurt job performance.”

Surveying and understanding employee viewpoints on volunteerism will impact program design and even whether a program is viable. Consult with employees, customers, and other stakeholders to determine social values prior to program launch.

Global CSR Solution Good Done Great

In addition to understanding employee opinions on giving back, managing a global program is challenging and will require collaboration. Consider implementing a volunteer council to lessen your workload. Their position in-country will provide invaluable insights into program design, implementation, and success. Host regular online meetings and plan to meet in person at least once a year for a brainstorming session.

Don’t allow differing viewpoints on philanthropy to prevent you from going global! As long as you take into account cultural differences prior to program launch, you will succeed in launching a global CSR program which will provide a holistic view of your company’s philanthropic story.

The ‘Benefits’ to Becoming a Benefit Corporation

There has been a drastic reshaping in the core structure of the business world over the past decade. According a study conducted by Nielsen, over 55% of global online consumers would pay more for products from companies committed to a positive social and environmental impact, and B Corporations do just that. They drive product innovation, market growth, and job creation while simultaneously contributing to a net positive impact upon society and providing escalated profit for shareholders.

partner-with-peers-slide-1

Being a B Corp has proven to be fiscally advantageous in many unexpected ways. B Corporations have saved five million dollars in accessed technology, talent, and expertise for their businesses through access to over 80 service partnerships. Most investors are attracted to corporations that strive to meet morally virtuous standards because they strive to benefit not only themselves but also everyone their business touches creating a healthy and sustainable business environment. The good publicity that B Corps generate is unparalleled by any other business venture group. Certified companies represent 31% of America’s most promising social entrepreneurs as stated by Bloomberg Businessweek. By joining a community of some of the most favorable companies including Ben & Jerry’s and Etsy, a B-Corp status indicates to your stakeholders that you are committed to their personal wellbeing and development.

Ben-and-Jerrys-Collage

However, despite all the benefits (pun intended) to becoming a Benefit Corporation only 28 of our 50 states have adopted legislation to accommodate B Corps. So the question stands, if being a B Corporation is such an amazing opportunity, why don’t all corporations strive to join the movement? And why don’t all states strive to adopt new legislations?

bcorp map

The same two issues that create resistance to any new initiative are the same two issues that create a resistance to B Corps: money and time. In addition to the completion of the B Impact Assessment, corporations are evaluated in five areas based on the GIIRS Rating System that include community, consumers, environment, workers, and governance. Scoring high enough to be eligible to become a B Corp could require significant changes to the way a company operates often dissuading the pursuit of such certification. Additionally, in order to maintain a company’s certification, the business is required to publish annual benefit reports of their social and environmental performance, which offers information on the company’s impact upon all stakeholders. In some states, the corporation must also submit the reports to the Secretary of State (although the Secretary of State has no control over the report’s specific content).

44116385-BTC_Retreat-Mountains_R2

While it’s complicated to move businesses from being solely profit minded to also incorporating human rights and social issues into their agendas, it is a ultimately a very powerful way to change the world. We are so proud of all of the businesses in our B Corp community and they inspire us every day to work harder. We hope to see all fifty states adopt B Corp legislation because together we can do exponentially more good than we can apart. #bthechange

 

Elevate your Sustainability Reports with the Top 5 CSR Guidelines and Standards

We are trying to tackle big challenges through CSR including climate change, world hunger, and lack of global education. In order to make significant progress towards our goals, the CSR community along with governmental bodies and non-profit organizations must work together through partnerships and integrated reporting.

Several standards and guidelines exist to guide CSR executives to report upon their impact upon the environment, community, and economy. As corporate groups utilize these standards, the global community will better understand their impact and assess our progress in achieving national and international goals.

This post highlights five standards and guidelines with the information you need to know in order to achieve recognition.

(1) Social Accountability International (SAI)

SAI is a non-profit organization based in New York City dedicated to promoting human and worker’s rights. Their multi-stakeholder approach to human rights involves companies, trade unions, NGOs, and government entities. In addition to developing the SA8000 standard, SAI offers training on supply chain management to CSR professionals.

Standard:

SA8000

The SA8000 is a voluntary standard utilized in over 3,000 factories in 66 countries and across 65 industrial sectors. Based upon the UN Declaration of Human Rights, International Labor Organization, United Nations, and national law, the SA8000 is a universal labor standard. This standard seeks to address human rights abuses not only within the corporation itself but also within its suppliers, sub-contractors, sub-suppliers, and home workers.

Requirements that compliant organizations must fulfill include:

  • No child labor practices
  • No force or compulsory labor
  • A safe and healthy workplace environment
  • The right to join trade unions
  • No discrimination
  • Dignity and respect for all workers
  • Appropriate working hours
  • Legal wages

SAI Corporate Members Include:

Eileen Fisher, HP, and VF Corporation

(2) Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)

Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) in partnership with RobecoSAM, is an investment specialist focused on sustainability investing

Standard:

Launched in 2009, the DJSI is a group of indices evaluating the sustainability of the largest 2500 companies listed on the Dow Jones Global Total Stock Market Index. In order to be listed on the DJSI, long-term economic, social, and environmental asset management plans are evaluated. Issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards, and labor practices are considered.

Criteria developed by RobecoSAM assess the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the corporations; this criteria is chosen based upon a Corporate Sustainability Assessment performed by RobecoSAM. Companies are evaluated based upon the data collected in the Corporate Sustainability Assessment, company documentation, media and stakeholder analysis, and personal communication with the company.

The criteria changes each year, and all DJSI companies must continue to advance and evolve as they are constantly evaluated throughout the year.

2014 DSJI Industry Leaders:

The new 2015 DJSI members will be announced September 10, 2015. Leaders from 2014 included: Abbot Laboratories, LG Electronics, and Sodexo.

(3) Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

SASB is a non-profit organization which develops and disperses sustainability accounting standards. Their purpose is to provide industry-specific reporting standards to allow for company comparison and benchmarking.

Standard:

SASB developed a Sustainable Industry Classification System which covers 10 sectors and over 80 industries. Sectors with standards thus far include: health care, financials, technology and communication, non-renewable resources, transportation, services, and resource transformation. KPIs are updated annually and are relevant to all publicly traded companies. Ultimately, SASB hopes that standards for sustainability reporting will become recognized by the SEC as a requirement.

Participating Companies:

The legal review process for participating companies is lengthy; therefore, significant time will pass before SASB standards will become incorporated within a firm’s 10K. However several companies mention SASB as a guideline used including Citigroup, Delta Airlines, and Owens Corning.

(4) GRESB

GRESB is an industry organization which evaluates the sustainability performance of public, private, and direct real estate portfolios.

Standard:

Institutional investors utilize the GRESB standard to engage with their investments with the goal to improve the sustainability performance of their investment portfolio and the international property sector. The standard collects data surrounding: energy, GHG emissions, water and waste, sustainability risk assessments, performance improvement programs, and engagement with employees, tenants, suppliers, and the community. The GRESB standard aligns with the GRI, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

The public may complete the GRESB survey which benchmarks their current sustainability performance and offers the opportunity to centralize ESG as a corporate priority. The annual survey covers topics including: management, policy and disclosure, risks and opportunities, monitoring environmental management systems, performance indicators (energy, GHG emissions, water & waste), building certifications, and stakeholder engagement. The environmental portion of the survey is most important, and actions are rewarded more than policies.

After the data is collected and analyzed, the total score is divided into two dimensions including: management and policy, how the company/fund manages sustainability and the actions adopted by the company/fund, and implementation and measurement, how the decision or plan is executed and measured.

Current GRESB Members:

CBRE, JLL, and Cushman & Wakefield

(5) Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an international organization dedicated to educating businesses, governmental bodies, and other organizations on their impact upon society including climate change, human rights, and corruption.

Standard:

The latest version of the GRI guidelines, G4, was launched in May 2013. As of 2015, 7500 organizations use GRI guidelines for sustainability reporting.

Within the GRI Guidelines, data is collected on the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of the company. Economic data includes economic performance, market presence, indirect economic impact, and procurement practices. Environmental impact includes materials, energy, biodiversity, and eight other elements. Social impact includes labor practices and decent work, human rights, society, and product responsibility.

The GRI guidelines are developed through an international multi-stakeholder process including professionals from business, labor, civil society, financial markets, auditors, and various other experts. These guidelines may be utilized internationally across sectors and organization’s sizes.

Companies Utilizing G4 Guidelines Include:

Danske Bank Group and Duke Energy

Complying with these standards and guidelines takes effort; however, if CSR professionals work collaboratively with their team, it will be much easier to compile the appropriate information. In addition to improving the chances of investment, utilizing the above standards will contribute to the standardization of sustainability- a benefit for all.

What’s in a Name: CSR

VARYING DEFINITIONS

There are several ways to define what exactly corporate social responsibility is and what it means to an individual business. Businesses may use terms such as corporate philanthropy or corporate citizenship to explain the ideas behind their business strategies when incorporating CSR into their objectives. The primary objective of CSR, or whatever you may call it, is to promote the welfare of customers, community, shareholders, stakeholders, employees, and the environment while at the same time promoting the raison d’etre of the corporation — maximizing shareholder value.

COMPONENTS OF CSR

Despite the varying definitions of corporate social responsibility and how it should be applied to business, five components of CSR programs constantly remain the same: philanthropy, the environment, social engagement, ethics, and diversity and inclusion. These key areas of focus build the foundation for an impactful CSR business strategy.

Philanthropy: Volunteerism & Workplace Giving

The philanthropic aspect of CSR programs consists of charitable contributions of time and money. Many corporations have a charitable foundation, which contributes allocated money to deserving non-profits. Some businesses will also donate their facilities for non-profits to gather and fundraise. Corporations also engage their employees around philanthropy in a variety of ways, such as raising cash donations, matching gifts, volunteer grants and time volunteered by the company’s employees.

IMG_7195

Environmental: Reducing Water Usage, Waste, & Carbon Reduction

Environmental sustainability can be incorporated via operations and product development. Within the operations of a company, CSR leaders can work to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Products can be designed with less packaging and with an environmentally sustainable impact. These actions are generally also very good for the bottom line, as reduction in usage of raw materials bring material savings. Furthermore, companies can tie environmental initiatives with employee engagement by rewarding employees for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Examples include using reusable water bottles, carpooling to work, and encouraging eating lunches brought from home in order to reduce waste.

Social: Engaging in Shared Value Initiatives

Social initiatives work to closely tie business objectives with social goals. These programs are designed to solve a societal issue through product development, human resource allocation, or market expansion, which would benefit not only the business but also society at large. For more information, read our blog post about creating economic prosperity through shared value.

Ethics: Human Right Standards

Working with suppliers and internal departments to create human rights standards helps to ensure fair working conditions abroad and at home. Corporations have an ethical duty to every person and place involved in the production of their products, and it is their job to promote the highest standards while doing so.

Diversity & Inclusion

It is important that a company strives to hire individuals with unique backgrounds (race, age, geographic, etc.) in order to promote corporate diversity. Today’s most troubling societal ills: clean water crisis, systemic poverty, and hunger, will only be resolved when individuals with diverse ways of thinking unite. Tackling difficult issues with individuals who think similarly will result in stagnant results, so utilizing diversity and inclusion to evaluate social initiatives will provide for broad-reaching solutions to challenging problems. For more information, read our blog post about diversity and inclusion.

INTERNATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF CSR

Internationally, CSR’s meaning and philosophy is anything but homogenized. Each country has its own set of priorities, issues, and values that will shape how companies approach the adaptation of social responsibility.

Traditionally in the United States, CSR has been defined in terms of a philanthropic model. Companies make profits, unhindered except by fulfilling their duty to pay taxes. They donate a certain share of the profits to charitable causes to boost their image even though it is commonly seen as an act void of any kind of legitimate increased profit for the company.

The European model is focused on operating the core of a business in a socially responsible way, complemented by investment in communities for solid business reasons. Social responsibility becomes an important part of the wealth creation process, which enhances the competitiveness of business and maximizes profit.

India has recently passed a law that requires corporate groups to donate 2% of their profits to social causes. Could governmentally enforced philanthropy be the best approach to get business to adopt CSR? Of course there are a plethora of new issues that come with the implementation of required philanthropy such as dishonest data records, how to monitor each business, and how effectively the donated money will be used. But it is an interesting approach to consider and a much more proactive one than has ever been used before.

No matter what the definition is, no matter which country you’re in, CSR is ultimately a business strategy to create social and environmental impact upon the world. Properly implemented CSR tactics can bring competitive advantages for a business while simultaneously creating a positive social impact. Effective CSR strategies have increased sales and profits, cut operating costs, improved productivity and merchandise quality, enhanced customer loyalty and of course improved brand image and reputation!

Make a Difference in Under an Hour

Keep Charleston Beautiful, a local affiliate of the national organization Keep America Beautiful, has been working to decrease the litter in our beautiful city and surrounding marshlands as well as engage the community in the process. Since 1997 the organization has promoted the health of our local environment by supplying trash bags, gloves, trash pick up tools, and waste removal to small groups looking for a way to get involved in improving their community. Since 2015 alone, they have worked with 1,562 volunteers who have donated 2,918 hours of service to litter cleanups and prevention. Their volunteers have collected 1,151.5 bags of litter and 124 tires!

Volunteer

We love this organization so much that this was actually our third time partnering up with Keep Charleston Beautiful, you can read more about our other experiences with them in the past blog article here. However this time we decided to try something a little different by scheduling an appointment during our lunchtime to clean up the neighborhood surrounding our office to show the community how much we care about them and value their presence! Only three people were required to get the job done but an overwhelming ten employees volunteered their time to pick up trash! I am so proud that our company, full of wonderfully caring employees dedicated to changing the world would supply over three times the amount of volunteers needed! With all the extra help we were able to collect 6 full bags of litter weighing in at about 120 pounds. Our team saved the city of Charleston $205 through volunteering.

Volunteer

We were fortunate enough to be lead and directed by Keep Charleston Beautiful representative Jen Scales. Jen started off working for KCB as an intern while she finished earning her masters in environmental studies. Since 2009 Jen has been working for KCB full time and she loves that every day is different and she gets to help make the city she loves a more beautiful place. Jen came prepared with water to keep our team hydrated during the summer heat and made a fun game out of the trash collection with prizes and awards for things like “most interesting item found.”
Volunteer

Organizing a volunteer event for your office doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be as easy as picking up trash around your local community and can take less than an hour to do! For more information about Keep Charleston Beautiful or to set up an clean up day for your office, visit their website here.

How to Set up a Volunteer Opportunity in a Month: The Finale!

We did it! Our volunteer event with the Carolina Youth Development Center was a huge success! Although we weren’t able to play bubble soccer (an event which has been postponed for a later date), our afternoon was filled with dancing, food, and kickball!

To kick off our fun-filled afternoon, we fired up the grill with hotdogs and hamburgers to satisfy the hungry appetites of the kids. Before our meal, two of the older youth offered a prayer, and Good Done Great’s co-founder, Earl Bridges, spoke briefly on Good Done Great’s mission and work as a technology company.

Earl Talking

In between bites of mac n’ cheese, Good Done Great employees chatted with the children and shared with them insights about our roles at GDG, our taste in music (Katy Perry vs. Iggy Azalea), and our unique talents including break-dancing and singing.

A poorly-timed hotdog eating contest immediately preceded a game of kickball. Although the kids outnumbered the GDG team, GDG pulled off a great win despite a popped ball and hot weather. We’re not proud that we beat a bunch of kids, but we felt it was beneath their dignity for us to just let them win.

After a quick break to catch our breath, the afternoon continued with a Charleston RiverDogs baseball game in downtown Charleston. The kids and their chaperones hopped on the CYDC bus to the stadium where we enjoyed the game complete with dance breaks, balloon animals, and face painting. Some of the kids even participated in an activity on the field in the middle of the third inning!

Activity

We had an incredible time volunteering with CYDC. Our employees spent time with an amazing organization and peaked one young man’s interest to code! Like any one-day volunteer event, it is important to extend the work with the non-profit. Good Done Great looks to support CYDC in future volunteer and giving campaigns.

We hope this three part series inspired you to plan your next volunteer day of service! Not only does volunteering boost employee engagement and team bonding, it also provides tremendous benefit to the non-profit which lasts way beyond the short time spent serving them!

Happy Volunteering!


Check out our other posts in this series:

How to Set up a Volunteer Opportunity in a Month: Part Two

How to Set up a Volunteer Opportunity in a Month: Part One