Inspiring and Celebrating Volunteers this National Volunteer Week

Every April we celebrate National Volunteer Week in recognition of the thousands of people who are giving back to their communities and reaching out to help those who might be in need. Initially conceived by Points of Light Foundation, this week is about inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. I hope to contribute to the inspiration and celebration that is taking place this week.

During this one week and throughout the month of April, hundreds of companies and literally thousands of employees put aside their daily jobs and get into the community to “do good things.” The miracle is that volunteering doesn’t only occur during April or National Volunteer Week, it is happening 365 days each year. While we call attention to volunteering in April, it is the countless acts of service, often going unnoticed, that makes volunteering the powerhouse that is doing good in our communities every day. There are thousands of unsung heroes working throughout the year to make a difference. Comedian Erma Bombeck said it best when she wrote,“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.”

It is estimated that more than 62 million people in the United States volunteered in 2015. While the number is down slightly from 2014, the truth is volunteering is part of the American culture. With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer but as Elizabeth Andrews has said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”

The whole idea behind volunteering is to bring some moments of happiness into someone else’s life without asking for anything in return. Yet, volunteers agree that their work is always rewarded.

Good Done Great National Volunteer Week

“Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need,” said Gillian Anderson.

Helping others kindles happiness, as many studies have demonstrated. When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Research also shows that people who volunteer often live longer.

“You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you,” writes an unnamed source.

Anyone can volunteer. Martin Luther King said it this way, “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve…You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

My personal favorite volunteer quote comes from Winston Churchill who said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”

Good Done Great National Volunteer Week

Albert Schweitzer talks about our responsibility to volunteer. He says,“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”

As Aesop has said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Rather than be pessimistic because the number of volunteers is down from previous years, I would rather be optimistic and celebrate all the good that is being done by volunteers around the globe. Collectively, we are an army that is making a difference one person or one project at a time. As Oscar Wilde once said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”

Let’s celebrate before we go to our next volunteer project.

Planning for Disasters Before They Strike

All too often we are finding ourselves faced with large scale man-made or natural disasters that literally impact the lives of thousands. Such events have the potential to disrupt a company’s business operations and employees. Once considered unusual, these episodic disasters are becoming more routine and a part of our life.

An interesting phenomenon takes place when such a disaster occurs. People and organizations around the globe want to help. They unite and rally around the immediate needs. What is it that drives companies and individuals to open their workplaces and wallets for strangers like earthquake survivors, victims of tornados, floods, landslides, winter storms, or other natural disasters? Is it out of sense of duty, business obligation, empathy, guilt, compassion, or something else?

The reasons are many. Companies are acting out of an altruistic interest in being a good corporate citizen, business reasons, or employee expectations. Employees are often driven by a genuine desire to help and doing it through the workplace allows them to join with others in a larger collective effort.

Good Done Great Disaster Relief

Experts say these kinds of acts of responding in a time of need, make people feel like they are part of something larger, and are energizing and emotionally rewarding. Studies show that when people get together and cooperate to do good deeds, it leads to positive feelings.

Research conducted by Liz Dunn, assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada discovered that people get an emotional high by participating with other people in a cause they care about. A team fundraiser or fund drive at the workplace helps create a feeling of excitement when joining with a group of colleagues in a united effort. These collective efforts, supported by the company, give people a more rewarding feeling than just entering a credit card number on an organization’s website.

Is it any wonder that employees are often the first to insist that their employer provide opportunities for them to help? In a matter of hours the expectation is that resources can be mobilized and employees engaged in making an impact on those affected by the disaster.

One would do well to consider this question, is your company prepared to respond immediately and appropriately in times of a disaster?

The number of disasters in the past five years has increased and coupled with the expectations for global companies to respond to such events, makes it imperative that companies have a disaster relief plan in place. They need a rapid response to expedite their actions. The time for disaster planning is BEFORE a disaster strikes.

Advance planning allows the company to incorporate all the primary resources they have including cash, product, and employee resources to address immediate needs in a timely and rapid manner. Planning allows companies to identify the key factors that will dictate the appropriateness and level of response.

In addition, planning allows companies to establish ongoing relationships with a number of nonprofit organizations, including the American Red Cross, that are vetted and well-qualified to become a strategic partner to address the immediacy of the disaster.

With proper planning and forming strategic partnerships with nonprofits and empowering employees, companies are an indispensable conduit for providing help in times of disaster.

Good Done Great encourages companies to be prepared in advance of any specific disaster. Through our strategic services and state of the art technology, we assist companies in developing a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan that incorporates the appropriate use of corporate resources and identifies the specific factors that indicate when and how the company will respond. We want to make it easy for companies to “Go Live” and put into action their own plan the moment a disaster strikes.

Good Done Great and VolunteerMatch Partner to Connect More Corporate Employees to Volunteer Opportunities

San Francisco – March 1, 2016 – Good Done Great, a company offering the only cloud-based, unified corporate social responsibility platform, and VolunteerMatch, the world’s largest online volunteer engagement network, officially announced their partnership today. The partnership provides employees of Good Done Great’s Fortune 1000 clients with access to VolunteerMatch’s network of over 95,000 volunteer opportunities from more than 100,000 nonprofits.

Earlier this year, Good Done Great released GDG 2.0, a cloud-based platform that enables Fortune 1000 companies to execute engaging employee giving, volunteer and corporate grant programs and initiatives through one platform. Within the Good Done Great system, employees can also coordinate volunteer events, log their volunteer hours and request volunteer service program rewards. The partnership with VolunteerMatch takes this platform to a whole new level by allowing employees to search for volunteer opportunities in their communities and respond to local needs.

“Our focus at Good Done Great is figuring out innovative ways to engage more and more people in volunteerism and charitable giving with the ultimate goal of greater social impact,” says Good Done Great CEO, David Barach. “Our partnership with VolunteerMatch makes our technology platform even more efficient and engaging.”

This partnership is part of VolunteerMatch’s new Network Access Provider program, launched at the end of 2015. “By partnering with like-minded enterprises such as Good Done Great, we can better serve the 100,000+ nonprofits in our network by getting their opportunities in front of hundreds of thousands of employees,” says Greg Baldwin, President of VolunteerMatch. “As a nonprofit ourselves, we are driven by this mission of connecting nonprofits with the volunteers they need.”

For more information, visit gooddonegreat.com. To learn how to integrate the VolunteerMatch network into your own platform, visit: solutions.volunteermatch.org/solutions/integrations

About Good Done Great

Good Done Great and VolunteerMatchGood Done Great revolutionizes the way corporations and individuals give back to the communities and causes they care about. Through our unified CSR software solution and our bench of CSR strategists, the Good Done Great team helps more than 75 Fortune 500 and other companies maximize their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Launched in 2009 and headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina (with offices in Tacoma, Washington, Denver, Colorado, and Stuart, Florida), Good Done Great was certified as a groundbreaking B Corps (Benefit Corporation) in 2012 and incorporated as one of South Carolina’s initial B Corporations in 2014. Good Done Great customizes employee engagement and corporate philanthropy platforms for global brands, delivering targeted and measurable impact. More than 2.5 million employees have access to GDG’s innovative tools and more than 65,000 domestic and international nonprofits benefit from Good Done Great’s broad philanthropic reach. Learn more about Good Done Great by visiting gooddonegreat.com

About VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch believes everyone should have the chance to make a difference. As the Web’s largest Good Done Great and VolunteerMatchvolunteer engagement network, serving 100,000 participating nonprofits, 150 network partners and 13 million annual visitors, VolunteerMatch offers unique, award-winning solutions for individuals, nonprofits and companies to make this vision a reality. Since its launch in 1998, VolunteerMatch has helped the social sector attract more than $6.8 billion worth of volunteer services.

Learn more about VolunteerMatch at www.volunteermatch.org.

Media Contacts:

Christina Bowen

Good Done Great

Christina@gooddonegreat.com

 

Bree von Faith

VolunteerMatch

news@volunteermatch.org

Does CSR Equate to Good Business?

Corporate responsibility, CSR, corporate citizenship, corporate conscience, corporate philanthropy, employee engagement, sustainability – these buzzwords routinely can be found in social media channels and even the metrics-driven business pages of mainstream media.

But what do they really mean? And what does all that corporate sowing in the world of corporate responsibility actually reap, if anything?

What do we mean?

Most of the above-referenced buzzwords are trying to get at the same idea – companies are responsible for their actions as they relate to all stakeholders – consumers, customers, employees, investors, the communities in which they operate, and the environment.

And most companies – rightfully – take pride in demonstrating that they are acting responsibly on as many levels as possible.

To avoid debates over the lexicon, let’s stick to the broadest of the terms for the rest of this blog – Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR for short. What is CSR?

For me, pictures always help. The CSR Spectrum, below, not only defines what CSR is, but it also shows what CSR has been. The very idea of what CSR entails continues to evolve.

CSR Spectrum

Follow the diagram left to right … step back in time and walk forward. It used to be that companies understood CSR programs as an employee benefit – special events, United Way campaigns, and company matching of higher ed donations. The largest companies might have a foundation that handed out grants. As programs matured and corporate interest in CSR grew, companies became very interested in more robust workplace giving programs.

As these evolved and companies began thinking about other stakeholders, CSR turned to cause marketing in order to align product and brand with responsibility. As we focused on the employee as a CSR stakeholder, employee engagement took hold.

Why the changes? Because companies – all of us in the industry, really – began to realize that the corporate “practice” of “being responsible” could be applied in newer and better ways … to more and more stakeholders. Not long ago, we added the environment to that list of stakeholders and voila, corporate sustainability programs took shape.Corporate Sustainability and Good Done GreatTo be a good corporate citizen today, for example, means that your company focuses not just on giving and volunteering in the community, but also on business ethics, environmental sustainability, and employee work-life balance.

As CSR evolved, it also became more metric-driven. Companies needed the numbers to back up the many great stories about all they things they were doing beyond just earning a profit for their shareholders or paying a fair wage to their employees.

And – as the CSR Spectrum diagram suggests – the more our CSR programs evolved, the greater the reach, the greater impact they would have.

What do we reap?

So now you might be thinking: greater impact? … really? … like what?

Turns out, Winston Churchill was onto something when he once famously declared:

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Churchill said that long before “Corporate Social Responsibility” was ever on anybody’s list of buzzwords!

More importantly, Churchill was right. Corporate America benefits in ways large and small by giving of itself – its money, its people, its time, and its resources.

How?

Performance – We all understand that business is about making money – for its shareholders and employees alike. We are learning, however, that companies that give of their time/money/resources actually do better in the long run. CECP reports, for example that companies that increased their giving since 2010 have seen an increase in profitability and performance.

Morale – When it comes to employee morale, surveys and polls continue to reach the same conclusion – people regularly report a desire to be part of a company that places a premium on being socially responsible. Consider business ethics, an important component of today’s CSR. According to leading ethics and compliance firm LRN, the perception of a company’s business ethics impacts recruitment and retention. 

Image with the consumer – Socially responsible companies are more desirable to consumers than their counterparts, particularly with regard to younger, more socially-focused individuals. Indeed, companies that give back to their communities and charities enjoy something called a “benevolent halo effect.”

Socially Responsible CompaniesAtmosphere – Companies that give are also inclined to recruit and hire employees with the “it’s up to me” mindset, creating a kind of reciprocating engine of philanthropy and citizenship. Anecdotes and studies alike confirm that those who give are generally more successful than those who don’t, and many companies are using social media and other instruments to identify such candidates ahead of their less philanthropic counterparts.

Sustainability – We believe that sustainability is going to dominate CSR culture, discussions and metrics for years to come. Why? Because sustainability is more than just an environmental topic that we learned about in school years ago. Sustainability is encompassing and impactful to all aspects of our lives. The idea of sustainability is not new to the plant and facilities management folks. Figuring out how to build more widgets with less energy, water and resources is an ever present challenge that has the good fortune of both improving the corporate bottom line AND the world in which we live. So “go sustainability”.

Good Done Great Sustainability

But today, sustainability means much more, especially in the CSR world. Even small business publications target their audience with important lessons about sustainability. Businesses need to pay attention, because sustainability affects product design and life cycle, trade, government regulation and more. What’s more, few CSR programs are more interesting to employees today than those that marry employee engagement initiatives with sustainability opportunities.

The bottom line

Corporate Social Responsibility is far more than a fad or buzzword. Evidence abounds that companies that give more, do more, care more – these are the companies that indeed reap a richer harvest.

As companies nurture this evolving, more impactful culture of responsibility, that “it’s up to me” mindset of the employee turns into an “it’s up to us” mindset for the company … and that is surely a catalyst for more and greater success.

 

CSR Programs: Importance and Value of Motivating and Engaging Employees

There have been many blogs and articles written about the value and importance of having a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. Companies of all sizes are recognizing that CSR helps set them apart from their competition, attract top-notch talent, and publicly demonstrate their commitment to their employees, communities, sustainability, and more.

MillennialsThis blog hopes to add to the ongoing conversation of Why Do We Care by looking specifically at CSR and how companies are aligning the goals and values of the company with the personal interests of employees. Companies recognize the value of CSR to motivate and engage today’s changing workforce and the value that comes from sponsoring a wide range of opportunities for employees to be a part of a company’s broader CSR strategies. This is particularly important in an era where a majority of Millennials and other young professionals are seeking employment with companies that care about more than just the bottom line.

AmeriGives Consulting, now a part of Good Done Great, conducted a CSR benchmark survey late last year. From the findings we learn that employee engagement programs are playing a larger and more significant role in addressing employee expectations. Indeed these employee programs have become the foundation of most CSR programs with companies indicating that employee giving and volunteer programs were among the top priorities for their company’s CSR strategies.

We gain further insight into why companies view employee engagement programs as critical to their CSR efforts from a report by America’s Charities and released in December 2015. The research found that 86% of companies said employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community and 87% believe their employees expect them to support causes and issues that matter to those employees.

America's Charities Snapshot 2015

The America’s Charities study also documents the thinking that CSR activities are important tools to attract talented and qualified employees by revealing that nearly 90% agree that effective employee engagement programs help attract and retain employees.

Employees bring their values and passions to the workplace. These employees are motivated by having programs that allow them to connect with peers, support their favorite causes and personal philanthropic interests and do something worthwhile all at the same time. Working for a company that provides them with these opportunities is important and serves as a motivator in helping build the company and its brand.

Companies know that providing volunteer opportunities is not only an important way to engage their employees but they encourage team work, provide a mechanism to connect with peers and colleagues, promotes brand recognition and helps set them apart as being a good neighbor.

Employee Volunteers

Employee Engagement programs become a key intersection of corporate and employee social responsibility goals and objectives. For this reason, giving and volunteering at the workplace is alive and well. Of course, they are evolving to meet the changing needs but for now and into the future these programs will be a strong foundation upon which companies build stronger social responsibility strategies.

Engaging employees can have transformative value on the employees, their colleagues and in the communities where they live and work. Workplace giving and volunteering are no longer viewed as expectations but rather they have become expressions of who we are. Mutual benefits occur to the company, its employees and the community when all stakeholders are aligned and unified in addressing the social and environmental needs of our society.

Pledge 1%: A Bold Commitment to the Community

What do companies such as Salesforce, Optimizely, and Yelp have in common? Not only are these companies cutting-edge in the technology sector, they also are cutting-edge in the way they conduct business. These three companies took the 1-1-1 pledge.

Pledge 1% is a call to action in corporate philanthropy to centralize focus on the community. Pledgees are encouraged to donate 1% of equity, employee time, and product for their community. Participating companies choose which nonprofits and causes to support based upon their philanthropic goals.

What are the different actions 1% pledgees take?

Component One of Pledge 1%: Equity

Pledgees can allot equity in a number of different ways: publicly commit to pledging equity, immediately grant equity, or pledge equity prior to an exit. Companies utilize Pledge 1% partner EFCO to successfully set aside equity, and they may choose the amount of shares and the nonprofit recipients.

The sooner you pledge, the better! If you build philanthropy into your business from the beginning, every corporate decision will be made with the community in mind.

Component Two of Pledge 1%: Employee Time

Companies can pledge 1% of their employees’ time to volunteer. Pledgees can offer a wide
variety of employee volunteer programs (EVPs) to meet this goal including: team volunteering, individual volunteering, pro-bono service at home and abroad, board service, and paid time off volunteer programs.

With this commitment in mind, no longer will companies have to guess at what success looks like in an EVP. Utilize a workplace giving platform, such as Good Done Great, to track your progress toward achieving your 1% goal.

Component Three of Pledge 1%: Product

An easy way to contribute to Pledge 1% is to provide product at little or no cost to non-profits. Keep in mind that the donated product must contribute to the nonprofit’s mission and/or contribute to social problems. Consider requiring a budget and application form.

Examples of in-kind donations include: a software company donating accounting or donor-management software, an office supply company donating school supplies, or a pharmaceutical company donating medical supplies.

Pledge 1% Good Done Great

Pledge 1% reflects the change in corporate ideology from solely profit-motivated to community and impact-motivated. No matter the stage of growth of your company, Pledge 1% is a great way to inspire your employees around a movement of giving.

Is your company in need of a culture overhaul? Utilize the tools on the Pledge 1% website to develop a compelling presentation to your board to participate in Pledge 1%. Not only will your participation boost your recruitment efforts but also your entire company will share in the success of a successful exit which positively impacts the community.

 

3 Reasons Why the Workplace is Critical to Fundraising Success

More money, more volunteer hours, more in-kind donations, more company grants, and – most importantly – more engagement with potentially long term donors is happening at and through the workplace than ever before.

And that means that the workplace is more important than ever to your fundraising success.

Let’s look at the changes that have been impacting the industry for the better, and then explain the three top reasons why the workplace is critical to fundraising success.

Change is good

The term workplace giving refers to fundraising programs sponsored by corporations and other large employers, where the majority of the giving and volunteering comes from employees.

In the “old days”, workplace giving programs were directed by senior management at the company for the benefit of charitable fundraisers like United Way. But those were the old days. Today, workplace giving programs are part of a larger spectrum of Corporate Social Responsibility programs impacting our communities.

Participatory and social technology that engages donors and volunteers – a staple in the world of charitable fundraising – has finally arrived in the workplace. This means that charitable giving through the workplace is easier, faster, more accountable, and less expensive than ever. As a result, many corporate programs are going global in their reach.

In a recent Good Done Great Benchmark Study on Corporate Social Responsibility, respondents identified Alignment with Key Charity Partners as a top priority for their CSR programs.

The Millennial workforce is huge – it’s the largest generational workforce America has ever experienced. And as Cone Communications reminds us, millennials care about social responsibility.

Millennials Social ResponsibilityAnd don’t forget the power of consumers. Not only do today’s consumers expect more from the companies where they buy, but according to The Nonprofit Times, they will pay more for all that corporate social responsibility. What consumers want, consumers get … and that makes its way throughout the workplace.

Workplace giving- the numbers

Such programs vary in size and form. Annual fall campaigns that utilize payroll deduction are always popular, for example, while cause-related campaigns (e.g. where employees rally behind specific causes rather than nonprofit brands) are increasingly attractive. Matching gift programs are a staple with many companies. Volunteer grant programs, like Dollars for Doers, are more popular than ever.

According to the 2015 Giving USA Annual Report, Americans donated $358 billion to charity. An estimated $4.5 billion of that total came from employees through the workplace. Corporations gave $17.8 billion, some of which was spent matching employee donations and volunteer activities.

So when companies are saying that alignment with key charity partners is a top priority for their CSR efforts, let’s remember – that is a $23.3 billion priority!

3 Reasons Workplace Giving is Critical to Fundraising Success

Your charity is already connected to the workplace – did you realize that? In many ways, through many donors, board members and constituents, you have connections into Corporate America. Once you realize that, the work gets easier.

Good Done Great CSRFurthermore, there are a lot of reasons why workplace giving is important and represents perhaps an untapped gold mine for your organization. For this post, we are going to focus on 3. These represent the “mechanics” of workplace giving. And by understanding how giving at the workplace works, you will better understand why workplace giving should be part of any charity’s fundraising plan.

#1 Workplace giving programs are free marketing

Thousands of companies will sponsor or participate in tens of thousands of giving programs and events this year. The companies, and other workplaces like government, will pay for marketing and promotion, recruit volunteers, encourage giving, and use THEIR resources to benefit charities.

And they will do this without your particular charity’s participation or permission!

So better for you if your charity is actively engaged with employees, employers, and their giving program opportunities. Over 120 million Americans are employed full-time. And the marketing is free.

#2 Payroll deduction produces larger giftsPayroll CSR Good Done Great

Workplace giving often utilizes payroll deduction as a primary method of giving, and the average payroll deduction gift is close to $250. By comparison, the average online donation is $77. Why such a big difference? Because payroll deduction spreads the gift out over a 12 month period, making it easier for the employee to give more. Steve Greenhalgh, VP of Program Strategy at Good Done Great, puts this in perspective:

“Not long ago, I worked with a charity that was trying to figure out why giving had been declining for several years. We figured out that one of their problems was that they were converting workplace donors to annual giving campaign donors. Every donor that they converted from the workplace resulted in an average decrease in giving of over $100.”

#3 Matching doubles the donation

Many companies offer matching gift programs, including 65% of the Fortune 500. A matching gift program typically offers a dollar for dollar match of an employee’s gift to a charity that meets the company’s eligibility guidelines. Furthermore, many companies with an annual payroll deduction giving campaign will match 50% or more of those donations – so that’s TWO reasons in one.

A lot of donations with the potential to be matched actually go unmatched each year. According to Adam Weinger, Founder and President of Double the Donation:

“An estimated $2 to $3 billion is given through matching gift programs each year. But the potential for this market is much larger. With over 15 million Americans working at companies that offer a matching program, anywhere from $6 to $10 billion in potential matching gifts go unclaimed each year.”

Wrapping it up

Hopefully we have convinced you why workplace giving is critical to fundraising success. The good news is that every charity already has numerous connections into the workplace. The problem is that too many charities don’t realize it, and don’t understand how the mechanics of workplace giving are set up to maximize benefits to charities.

Remember: Charities need a stronger presence in the workplace – and companies are prioritizing charity relationships. What’s not to like?

Good Done Great Featured in UK-based Sustainable Business Magazine

Good Done Great was featured in the UK-based, Sustainable Business Magazine. Read our article which highlights the importance of employee participation in green initiatives as a way to increase engagement, recruitment, and retention.

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!