Taking Corporate Philanthropy Beyond the Boardroom
Corporate giving has evolved. The combination of financial and in-kind donations help create a solid base for a successful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, but it’s the support of your community that is key for a successful, truly holistic giving initiative.
Giving back to the community is a corner stone of the modern corporation, and corporate philanthropy is one way to say thank you. Even if your customers don’t live in your backyard, giving your neighbors a helping hand is always well regarded.
Of course, there are economic and reputational benefits that amplify the impact of your efforts. Strategically and financially, your CSR program creates goodwill for your brand, increases loyalty and enhances recognition. Being known as a company that does “good work” makes clients feel they too are contributing to a valuable cause. But the days of simply picking a charity and writing a check are long gone.
Today, the best CSR programs are innovative, impactful and, most important, genuine. So how can you ensure your program stands out in a crowded philanthropic landscape?
|The SmartSimple team doing their part for the WWF!|
It takes a village…
The successful alignment of your stakeholders is vital. Their support gives your CSR program legs. Customers making donations at the check-out, and the recognition of your employees’ volunteer activities is relatively common, but taking the extra step to engage your corporate community – vendors, contractors and other suppliers – expresses a true commitment to philanthropy, allowing you to unleash the power to do good across your entire network.
SmartSimple has the privilege of working with several Fortune 500 corporate foundations, and one in particular stands out as a prime example.
Strength in Employee Numbers
Employees are your strongest ally in your success. Offering a variety of opportunities for participation is vital, encouraging the participation of friends and family. Options to not only donate money, but get actively involved, can bolster your success.
For example, the aforementioned foundation boasted 55,000 hours of employee volunteer time in their 2013 Annual Report. Employees managed events, worked with vendors and planned activities. The company clearly acknowledges their employees are the driving force behind the success of their program. Additionally, some companies acknowledge the involvement of their employees with various incentive programs, recognizing and rewarding exceptional efforts.
The strongest CSR programs go beyond this, and look to employees for guidance.
Tapping into your Professional Network
Beyond employees, your company’s professional network of suppliers, vendors and contractors can add value to your CSR program on several levels. Active engagement brings not only financial rewards, but a sense of pride in their participation in your program.
Almost 10% of our example’s fundraising comes from vendor support. Whether it’s monetary, gifts for a fundraising auction, taking part in events or putting this CSR program’s logo on their products, their contribution makes them invaluable members of your team.
Engaging Those You Support
Getting direction from those that benefit from your initiative will encourage them to engage their own network, and all but guarantee impact where it’s needed most. In the case of our example, the 3,100 community partners, including all levels of government and local non-profits like YMCA/YWCA and Boys and Girls Clubs, provide support. They help identify and evaluate applicants and applications, and create activities that align with the program’s mission.
Community engagement is a two way street, and non-profits gain not just the added benefit of knowing they can recruit your employees as volunteers, they are provided with valuable insight into other areas of need.
Bringing it all Together
Engagement is one thing, but keeping everyone – and everything – organized and working together is vital to ensure success. Bringing your CSR program online is a logical step, and implementing the right solution can simplify and streamline your activities.
No matter how elaborate your initiatives are, SmartSimple’s eCSR360o system is personalized to meet your needs. SmartSimple’s eCSR360O is the platform many foundations use to manage their programs both internally and externally.
With the ability to maintain and monitor employee volunteering programs, track giving campaigns, gather fundraising data and manage grants, you can easily communicate with you entire community of stores, plants, warehouses, corporate offices, funding partners, donors, boards and not-for-profits. Each member of your community has their own portal, personalized to their role, enabling them to interact with you and your program’s administrative team.