Engaging consumers in corporate social responsibility

Engage consumers Corporate Social Responsibility

Chances are pretty good that you’ve had the experience of being asked to donate to charity when checking out at your favorite retail store. Whether you consider these “checkout” appeals annoying or appealing, one cannot ignore the fact that according to one study, 71% of consumers said they have participated in a checkout campaign, and 55% said they enjoyed doing it. Additionally, many indicate they will contribute again in the future when given an opportunity.

A successful way to contribute to charity

The amount of money raised through these programs is revealing. One study found that point of sale charity donations raised $441 million in 2016. In aggregate, these large point of sale donation programs have raised over $4 billion over the past three decades. The practice has become embedded in our everyday lives.

Ways to engage consumers beyond checkout campaigns

There are the traditional “donate at the register” campaigns, but there are other ways to engage consumers in charitable giving. Like many of you, I recently participated in Amazon Prime Day. When I logged in, Amazon reminded me to go to Amazon Smiles to take advantage of my desire to donate to one of my favorite charities, St. Jude Children’s Hospital,  as a result of my purchases. In this example, I didn’t have to do anything extra – just make my purchases. Super easy! Amazon made me a loyal customer and made a donation to an organization important to me.

Engaging consumers in CSR is good business

Why do companies conduct these checkout charity campaigns and other consumer facing donation programs? It’s very simple. It’s good for their business. Consumers expect and want companies to give back to the community and demonstrate good corporate citizenship. While these programs are just one way companies engage, they are very visible to consumers, employees, and other key stakeholders.

Employees become ambassadors for the cause and invite consumers to participate. Checkout campaigns raise significant amounts of money but little corporate dollars are involved. Companies get recognition and the visibility without expending a lot of corporate resources.

Positive brand association with a cause

Point of sale campaigns are effective because they are often focused on a single charity or cause. This gives a company an opportunity to be associated with a cause. Having a single cause makes it easier to communicate with consumers and demonstrates a commitment by the company.

The cause does matter. Care should be taken to identify a cause that is relevant in today’s environment, appeals to a broad constituency, and fits with the company’s values, mission, and objectives. A study by Engage for Good found the most appealing causes were children’s health, disease-related charities, and campaigns focused on animals.

Corporate Social Responsibility continues to be a differentiator in the minds of consumers.  With more than 25 years of benchmark data, Cone Communications has consistently shown a steady increase in consumer’s willingness to purchase a product or support a company with a social benefit. Consumers have a more positive image of the company, are more likely to trust a company, and demonstrate loyalty to the company if they see an authentic commitment to social responsibility.

Checkout donation programs best practices:

  • Be authentic. Consumers want and expect transparency and authenticity from brands.
  • Use incentives such as discounts or coupons to encourage participation. It is estimated that 40% of companies offer some type of incentive to encourage donations such as bonus loyalty points, coupon books, and early access to sales and promotions.
  • Connect the donation to the company’s loyalty program.
  • Ensure a strong fit between the company and the cause. For example, a grocery store raising funds to combat hunger is very compelling and demonstrates authenticity.
  • Allow for competition between stores and employees.
  • Provide recognition of employees who are actively engaged and promote donation opportunities to customers.

The top five retail checkout champions in 2016:

  • eBay raised $56.6 million for over 34,000 charities
  • Walmart and Sam’s Club raised $37 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
  • Petco raised $28.4 million for the Petco Foundation
  • McDonald’s raised $281 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Costco raised $22.5 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Just this week, we learned that Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises more than 60% of its revenue from the retail sector and primarily through checkout campaigns.

Checkout charity is just one opportunity to engage consumers, but it is a lucrative one. It’s a win-win for both charities and companies, and consumers like it.  The way consumers engage with retailers is changing but “doing good in the world is becoming a higher priority for consumers and employees.”

10 reasons you need consolidated CSR reporting

Consolidated CSR reporting

Consumers have increasingly high expectations from companies regarding their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. These high expectations place pressure on companies and CSR professionals to authentically and transparently report upon their good works. With consolidated CSR reporting, administrators dive headfirst into their social good data and successfully represent their good works to their stakeholders.

Here are 10 functions you can perform with consolidated CSR reporting:

1) Slice and dice your data

You are probably collecting a lot of CSR data from hours volunteered to dollars donated to cause areas supported. Without a consolidated reporting tool, you can’t manipulate your data to understand your CSR impact. Since you work hard to collect the data, it’s important to have a tool in place that allows you to analyze your data the way you want.

2) Understand your impact in cause areas

The new CSR buzzword is impact. With consolidated reporting, a CSR administrator can analyze at a high-level how their volunteer, workplace giving, and grant programs impact certain cause areas. With this data, you can understand how your programs create social good in your communities.

3) Align company goals with employees’ favorite cause areas

In order for your CSR programs to be authentic, it’s important to align your company’s giving with your employees’ giving. This alignment encourages employees to participate, and they will understand why their company supports the cause areas that they support.

With consolidated reporting, CSR administrators can compare company giving with employee giving. With this information, you can determine if there is a disconnect and develop a plan to bridge the gap.

4) Report upon a state and country level

Which states and countries do your donation dollars support? Which states and countries in which your employees reside are they most active in your giving and volunteering programs? With consolidated reporting, you can analyze location activity. Furthermore, you can determine ways to recognize regions with high participation levels or brainstorm ways to engage regions with low participation rates.

5) Tell a powerful CSR story

Everyone loves a good story. With numbers and statistics, you paint a colorful picture of your giving and volunteering activity. Your employees will feel connected to your brand and proud to work for a company that cares.

6) Justify your CSR programs to senior leadership

It’s difficult to communicate the impact of your CSR programs without strong data. With consolidated reporting, you can download program details including hours volunteered, dollars donated, and causes supported. You can share this information with senior leadership and demonstrate how your programs have improved throughout the years.

7) Plan for future initiatives and promote poor-performing initiatives

It’s hard to plan for future events without a strong understanding of your current practices. Consolidated reporting provides users with the tools to analyze their current performance. With this information, you can decide which programs to continue to support or drop. It’s better to continue to offer those programs that engage your employees!

8) Identify key charity partners

Beneath your plethora of CSR data, there may be a key charity partner that you may not currently engage with. Without consolidated reporting, who knew that 75% of your employees individually volunteered with Habitat for Humanity? Once you uncover this information, you can strengthen charity partnerships or build new ones.

9) Recognize employee rockstars

Employees want to receive recognition for their participation in giving and volunteering programs. With consolidated data, you can pull reports that indicate which employees donate and volunteer the most. They will appreciate the public recognition, and this will encourage them to continue participating!

10) Demonstrate confidently to your stakeholders your CSR impact

According to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 82% of Americans expect companies to report upon the progress of their social and environmental efforts. It’s important to share your impact upon the community and the environment. With consolidated reporting, you will share the entirety of your CSR impact, and consumers will respect your transparency.

No longer do CSR professionals need to pull data from multiple technology platforms. It is possible to use one technology platform to pull reports for true consolidated reporting. With this seamless process, you will improve your programs and easily provide your stakeholders with an understanding of your CSR impact.

Beyond the borders: challenges and opportunities with global CSR

Global CSR challenges and tactics

We live in an interconnected world. In any given day, you may talk to a colleague across the hall and later speak with someone several time zones away. The challenge for companies is how to design global CSR programs that provide those employees in far away locations the same opportunities as their U.S. peers .

The challenges faced in a global CSR program

CSR managers say one of the greatest challenges they face is creating global programs with defined metrics and demonstrating ROI on these international programs.

The challenges of running a global CSR program are vastly different than a program limited to U.S. locations. Customs and cultures are different. Expectations are different. Furthermore, finding reputable nonprofit partners across the globe is challenging. Certainly, there isn’t a one-size fits all type program. Global CSR programs must establish a standard framework while allowing for flexibility in implementation.

Standards and guidelines to ensure global CSR effectiveness

By nature, global programs must be customized by country. There are, however,  some standards and guidelines that can be established to help managers answer the questions about effectiveness and ROI.

The four traditional metrics companies use to gather CSR data include:

  1. Total contributions including cash and in-kind donations
  2. Percentage of employees participating in company giving and volunteering programs
  3. Number of volunteer hours performed
  4. The number of nonprofits impacted through financial contributions and volunteer services

These are great metrics and a good starting point. CECP offers some additional metrics that help shape the story of your company’s involvement. Their suggestions include looking at total giving as a percent of revenues and total giving per employee. These metrics can be broken out by country and compared globally.   

Key CSR targets

More and more companies focus their giving around causes. Doing so, allows them to report on giving in each of the cause areas. Another tool is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched a few years ago by the UN Foundation. The SDGs, officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with established targets for each of the goals.

If you aren’t sure where to focus, the SDGs provide clear goals and targets. What you focus on is defined by your company and what aligns with your mission, value, and business objectives.

The key is to set targets of what you want to achieve and the impact you want to have. This can be done by supporting one or more of the SDGs and reporting on your impact to Agenda 2030. It is important to be authentic, but be bold and then hold yourself accountable.

The importance of global charity partners

While it is important to have a strong partnership with your nonprofit partners in the United States, it is even more important to have an equally strong relationship with your global partners. Work together with these partners to define the outcomes you hope to achieve with your programs. Additionally, identify the key metrics that you want to track and measure progress against.

For example, if you are involved in education and employees serve as volunteer mentors, you can ask for metrics around the number of students involved in the mentoring programs and how those students performed on standardized tests. How did your financial and employee commitment move the needle on student performance?

Balance quantitative data with CSR stories

While, statistics are important and vital to showcasing your company’s CSR involvement, be sure to balance statistics with storytelling. In your CSR report, highlight nonprofits or individuals who your financial and employee engagement programs support. Stories will add the color commentary to your CSR report. In a very personal way these stories demonstrate the difference you are making.

Today, very few companies question the need to report on CSR activities. The days of hiding good works under a cloak of secrecy are over. Expectations from stakeholders are that companies will be involved and will demonstrate how they are making a difference. This story can only be told when companies have defined the metrics and outcomes that are important to them. In order to do this, you must set up a system and the tools necessary to gather the data you need to communicate your involvement and commitment.  

This post was authored by Steve Greenhalgh, our Managing Director of CSR Strategy.

FAQs for Small Businesses Launching a Matching Gift Program

So you are contemplating creating a matching gift program?  Where do you get started, and what are other small- medium businesses (SMB) doing?  The good news is that you are not alone.   In fact, according to a study completed by America’s Charities, 70% of companies offer matching gifts as a component of their volunteer and giving programs.    At Good Done Great, we work with companies of all sizes, and we are frequently contacted by small businesses looking to learn how they measure up against their peers.  

How Common is a Matching Gift program in the SMB Market?

While this number can vary greatly depending on company size and industry, the trend of workplace giving is here to stay.   Your consumers and employees are demanding it.   Fact: 91% of global consumers said they expect companies to have social and environmental goals. According to a Deloitte survey conducted last year, 70% of young Millennials, those ages 18 to 26, say a company’s commitment to the community has an influence on their decision to work there.   Every day more small businesses are jumping in to workplace giving. It is time to join the masses.

What is a Typical Match Rate?

In our experience most SMB businesses that we work with are using a 1:1 match ratio.  Sometimes this ratio will vary amongst different employee groups.  For example, your company may offer a 1:1 match for full time employees, but offer less for your part time employees. Or, you might want to offer a higher match for employees after they hit their 5 year anniversary with your company, or to those who serve in a leadership role.

The important thing to keep in mind when determining your ratio is that your matching gift program is a benefit, and no matter what ratio you are able to start with, you are increasing your impact on the social good community.

How Does My Business Benefit from Matching Gift Programs?

Who doesn’t want a more elevated brand, better relationships with your local community and happier employees?  These are just a few of the common benefits associated with a matching gift program, which we have dived in deeper in past posts here.  

Other advantages to consider are how giving back can help small businesses in their public relations effort- especially if you do not have a large PR/media budget.  You can share your good work through blog posts, press releases, and other social media channels.   This is all good, but don’t forget that an effective workplace giving program is not about you.   It is about supporting the causes your employees are passionate about.

Finally, when your company offers a matching gift program you will benefit from tax breaks.  No matter the size of your program, you are able to deduct your matching gifts from your reported income.  It is a win win for all!

What Do I Need to Consider When Building a Matching Gift Program?

There are many factors to consider when building a matching gift program, but in summary here are some key principles to keep in mind:

  • Allow employee choice.  It is ok to select causes that are eligible for your program, but giving is personal, so allow your employees to choose which specific non-profit they want to support.
  • Keep it simple and social.  Plan ahead for what infrastructure will keep the program engaging and easy to use.  
  • Make time to ensure your program is well run.  Whether this means you appoint a program administrator or hire someone to manage the program, make sure it is a program that will not fall to the bottom of your priority list.  It will take time and effort to nurture and grow your matching gift program.  In the end, it will be worth it!

For more tips on getting started and running effective matching gift programs for the small business stayed tuned and sign up for more information at www.gooddonegreat.com . Sign up for our newsletter today! 

The importance of outcome measurement in defining CSR success

Outcome measurement and corporate social responsibility

Open any Corporate Social Responsibility report, and chances are you will see glossy photos of employees picking up trash or painting a building. Amid the photos, statistics highlight the hours volunteered, dollars donated, and charities supported. The photos and statistics provide proof points for CSR programs, but do they accurately depict the impact companies create in the communities in which they operate?

Many corporations stop their CSR tracking with outputs – hours volunteered, dollars donated, and charities supported. They fail to ask themselves the question, “Why would our stakeholders care?”

We can take a hint from foundations and other grantmaking organizations to better report upon our CSR impact. These organizations utilize the outcome measurement approach to track inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes. This model more accurately answers the question, “so what?”

Say one of your CSR programs is a volunteer program that matches your employees with students for one-on-one mentoring and tutoring. The inputs include the volunteers, books, writing utensils, computers, budget, and any other inputs needed to operate the program.

Activities may include helping with homework, demonstrating computer functionality, and participating in any extracurricular activities that may boost the confidence of the students.

The outputs are the tangible results of the volunteer program – hours volunteered, numbers of students mentored.

The final and most important components of the outcome measurement approach are the outcomes and performance indicators. These components indicate the intended impact of the CSR program and the specific and measurable characteristics of the program.

The outcomes of a mentoring and tutoring program may include improved reading comprehension, increase in computer literacy, and increase in confidence and self-esteem. These outcomes indicate what you hope your tutoring and mentoring program may accomplish and can be jointly decided upon with your nonprofit partners.

In order to determine the success of the outcomes, program administrators determine performance indicators, these are the measurements of your outcomes.  Referring to our example of a mentoring and tutoring program, here are some sample performance indicators:

  • 75% of students improved standardized test scores
  • 89% of students surveyed revealed they had more self-confidence in school
  • 63% of students improved their computer literacy

Imagine how powerful your CSR reports will be with statistics that indicate the effectiveness of your programs. Your nonprofit partners will more accurately understand the impact of your partnership, your leadership and board will recognize the importance of your CSR programs, and your company’s programs will more clearly indicate positive transformation within your communities.

For any corporate group that wants to move the needle on their CSR reporting, we suggest you work with your nonprofit partners to determine the outcomes you hope to achieve with your programs. No one doubts the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in increasingly troubling times; however, it’s important to move beyond the vanity metrics and report upon real and sustainable change.

3 Secrets to Unlocking Your Giving Program’s Potential

In an earlier post, we explored how easy it is to get started with a workplace giving program.  More and more small to mid-sized businesses are launching giving programs, and they are seeing the benefits, from happier and more engaged employees to brand recognition in their local communities. To read more about how to get started, check out our post on Starting an Employee Giving Program in 4 Easy Steps. Now, let’s take a deeper look into how to better engage your employees through those workplace giving programs.   

The millennial workforce has made their voice heard about wanting giving options in the workplace.  This trend is even more relevant with recent changes in administration and heated political climate.   Corporate philanthropy is on the rise.  In fact, overall corporate giving has increased by 4.7% in 2017, and it is expected to continue to rise in 2018.  So how to make sure you stay ahead of the curve with this rising trend?  The answer is to listen to your employees and engage them in every aspect of your giving programs.  In this post, we’ve outlined 3 key tips to unlocking your giving program’s potential.  

Tip 1: Make Giving an Integral Part of Your Culture  

Employees want a culture of giving that reflects the values and mission that attracted them to your company. Additionally, employees want the opportunity to give back in a way that reflects their own personal choice and passions. Think about what makes your company stand out?  How can you incorporate your own uniqueness into your giving programs?  While having support for corporate philanthropy needs to come from leaders, seeking feedback from your employees on how they want to be engaged and what causes they are interested in supporting is critical to your success.

Start by soliciting input and feedback into potential giving programs.  Remember that, as the saying goes, ‘charity starts at home,’ meaning your employees likely have causes that they care about already.  Let them volunteer their favorite causes as potential recipients of your workplace giving programs.  Encourage your employees to donate  and/or volunteer for causes they personally care about and demonstrate this commitment through senior leadership’s own commitment to charity.  If your company is new to corporate giving, the following are examples of how to get the ball rolling:

  • Ask your employees to nominate a favorite community cause or campaign.  Eliminate those that don’t fit with your brand, and hold a vote on which ones to support.
  • Create a strategy to support your giving program and ensure it fits with your existing operations and resources.
  • Get your CEO to make a big splash for a cause and showcase it to your employees.
  • Create a matching gift program that shows a tangible commitment from the company.  You give, we give, let’s all give.
  • Make your program a priority. Workplace giving should be just as important as  your mandated sessions on health care or retirement planning.

If your employees feel ownership for your giving program and leadership embeds giving into your culture, you will create higher levels of engagement and participation.

A giving program that your employees have a sense of ownership in and embedded into everyday culture at your workplace will create higher levels of engagement and participation.  

Tip 2: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Be ready and expect questions. You will need to communicate the alignment between your giving program’s goals and your company’s values and the importance of participation.You will need to  communicate how your giving program aligns with your company’s values and goals and why it is important for all to get involved.  

A caveat: employee participation should always be voluntary, and pains should be taken to ensure that no employee feels he or she is being pressured into giving or volunteering. To be successful in integrating your giving programs into your culture you will need to communicate with all  your key stakeholders and create buy in.  

The #1 reason employees don’t give? They weren’t asked.  The #2 reason: nobody told them how.  Be sure to communicate early and often about the program and how they can participate.  Repeat as necessary.  Your communication plan will be a marathon and not a sprint, so get ready for a long term commitment.  Don’t forget that your efforts to educate, encourage, and solicit employee participation are done through face to face interactions in addition to online channels.  

Tip 3: Measure Impact and Share  

Your workplace giving program is only as effective as your actual knowledge about its outcomes.  It is incredibly important to have a system in place that allows for accurate tracking and reporting.  Even if you don’t have the resources to invest in infrastructure to support your giving program at this stage, start planning for when you might.  In the meantime, track metrics that include things such as employee participation rates, dollars raised, and time donated.  Showing your story of impact will attract more employee support.   The more employees feel they can create change, the more motivated they will be.  We have seen success when companies support and reward their employees in personal volunteer activities or encourage employees to recognize each other for good social impact work.  

The benefits to workplace giving are numerous, but if you are able to embrace it as part of your company culture, effectively communicate the desired outcomes of the program and steps for involvement,  and show your collective impact, you will take an important step in unlocking your giving program’s potential.  

Stay tuned to our upcoming blogs for more effective workplace giving tips and secrets.  Learn more about us at www.gooddonegreat.com .

Don’t leave money on the sidewalk: A closer look at matching gift programs

Imagine you are walking down the street, and you find a $50 bill lying on the sidewalk.

You pick it up, and prior to pocketing it, you check to see if anyone is around. You most certainly won’t leave it on the sidewalk.

Every year, charities leave $6 to $10 billion on the sidewalk. The source of this missed funding? Unclaimed matching gifts.  

According to Double the Donation, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs, and over 18 million people work for companies with matching gift programs. The median participation rate of employees who participated in matching gifts programs in 2016 was 7%.

Not only do corporations offer this program as a benefit, but employees also request the opportunity to give back. More and more research demonstrates employees’ desires to participate in CSR efforts through the workplace.

The existence of these programs indicates that employers are willing to place their corporate dollars into the hands of their employees. Companies and charities have an incredible opportunity to develop workplace giving campaigns together that meet the charitable desires of current and future employees.

We all know that charities and CSR departments work with limited resources and limited staff; therefore, it can be difficult to stay on top of promoting corporate matching gift programs.

Take advantage of matching gift programs

We’ve developed a few tips for charities and for-profit companies in order to maximize the effectiveness of their matching gift programs:

For charities…

  • Collect employment data from your donors. Once you know where your donors work, you can collect information on their matching gift program. Does their employer offer a program? Are your donors taking advantage of the program?
  • Network with the local companies in your neighborhood. Both small and large companies alike are developing matching gift programs as a way to attract and retain employees. Reach out to them and schedule a lunch and learn so that their employees can get to know your mission and vision.
  • Determine a list of other companies beyond your local region that offer matching gift programs. Use a service such as Double the Donation.

For companies…

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. In the daily hustle of life, it is easy for employees to forget about the benefits that their employers offer them. Find out where your employees “hang out” either online or in person and post reminders about your matching gift program. Place posters in lunchrooms or bathrooms, utilize your employee giving software to place popup reminders, or post announcements on your intranet.
  • Offer your employees choice! An America’s Charities study found that employee participation increases when the workplace giving campaign features a group of charities or the option to donate to whichever charity the employee chooses.
  • Make it relevant! Tie in current holidays and themes to encourage participation! Since June is Men’s Health Month, develop a matching gift campaign that demonstrates the importance of good health and mention several charities that support men’s health and wellness.

It’s time that we stop leaving money on the sidewalk! Charities and corporate groups alike will reap substantial benefits by participating in matching gift programs.

Starting an Employee Giving Program in 4 Easy Steps

To keep up with today’s competitive market, companies, big and small, recognize that doing good is good for business. Why? Because there’s significant data that connects successful workplace giving programs with higher levels of employee engagement. And companies with high employee engagement consistently outperform on financial measures. Whether you call it Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), workplace giving or employee engagement, it’s here to stay. And, to make your brand stand out, attract and retain top candidates, and appeal to prospects and customers, you’re ready to jump in.  

But where to begin? As part of a continuing series on doing good, great, we’ll begin here with a few keys to getting started.

  1. Seek Employee Feedback

Ask employees for their opinions about what they want when it comes to charitable giving or volunteering in the workplace. Why? Because in a study conducted by America’s Charities, when charitable choice is given, employee participation increases. (Source: America’s Charities 2013 Snapshot).  

Introduce the survey with a letter from your CEO stating the company’s commitment to giving back and encouraging employees to weigh in on what’s important to them. The more sense of ownership you create, the more successful your giving program will be.  Include questions about perceptions on any current corporate philanthropy, causes and issues they care about and support, what types of programs would they be more willing to participate in, and what options would make them more willing to participate.   

  1. Create a Budget

While launching an employee giving campaign might seem like a stretch on your budget, the investment is worth it knowing that happier and engaged employees lead to a more productive workforce and a happier, more productive team ultimately leads to a happier, more loyal customer base. Your initial program doesn’t have to be all fireworks and big world-changing initiatives. Companies can start small and still experience the associated benefits and rewards.

To get started, take inventory of all the good work your company is already doing. For example, how many hours have your employees volunteered so far this year, what company donations and sponsorships have you made, and what products or services have you donated back to the community? Use this as a starting point and then evaluate additional resources you might be able to contribute. Setting a budget will allow you to shift from reactively responding to charitable requests to a more strategic, thoughtful approach.

Also, consider whether you can allocate part of the budget to a matching gift program. Everyone loves to double their impact. For example, let’s say you discover in the budgeting process that you gave $5,000 through various charitable requests, we suggest you put that $5,000 into a matching gift program. If your employees collectively give $5,000 that you match dollar for dollar, everybody wins. The employee doubled their impact, the company doubled their impact, and some really great charities will get the funds to carry out their missions. Make your matching gift program as open and flexible as possible while still aligning to your core values. Employees like choice and will be more motivated to participate when they can support charities they care about and also receive a generous company match.  

  1.  Have fun with a launch!

A great way to start your employee giving program and rally the team is with a kick off party. Employee participation is going to be a key success factor to your giving program, so why not have a little fun to encourage involvement. Use it as an opportunity to provide information about the causes you’re supporting and to begin enrollment. Even better, invite someone with a local charity you wish to support and have a lunch and learn session or volunteer fair during the launch. All it takes is a little creativity! In addition to a company-wide kick off event, you could encourage a little interdepartmental competition to add to the festivities. Giving is social in today’s world, so make it fun, build in some recognition, and celebrate!   

  1. Keep them Engaged  

Your giving program succeeds when employees stay engaged. The best way to keep up  momentum after the launch is to communicate progress. Be sure to:

  • capture and share success stories big and small
  • share images, videos, stories as they occur, be it through a company social media page, your giving platform, or a newsletter
  • celebrate milestones achieved (dollars raised, hours volunteered)

Stay tuned to our upcoming blogs providing further guidance, tips on program ideas, ways to keep employees engagement, measuring your impact, and more.  And learn more about us at www.gooddonegreat.com.

 

Hop in the driver’s seat of your corporate social responsibility story

Drive the conversation

People are talking about you. Whether you’re part of the conversation or not, it is happening. The topic is your corporate social responsibility activities. Employees, stakeholders, and consumers are engaged and making decisions based on what they see and read.

The problem is that too often you are left out of the conversation because your side of the story isn’t being told. One is left to wonder how your absence affects your reputation in the mind of those that have high expectations of companies and want them to demonstrate a strong commitment to social responsibility.

Research shows consumers make purchasing decisions based on how socially responsible a company is and will boycott one that isn’t viewed in such a positive light.

For far too long, companies have been reluctant to tell their story. They were afraid it would come across as boastful or bragging. Somehow they felt that sharing the story would negate the good works that were being done.

I’ve talked to several senior corporate leaders in the last few weeks that have validated this reluctance. I’ve heard a consistent message. “We are doing good things, but no one knows about it. We need to do a better job of telling our story.” What was once perceived as bragging is now quickly becoming a necessity.

Corporations are increasingly recognizing that it is in their best interest to not only join but drive the conversation and share the story of how they are driving key social change.

We have learned that there is an expectation for companies to be involved. We’re also learning that there are business reasons for doing so.

According to the recently released 2017 Cone CSR Report, millennials are hopeful that businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward. The same report found that Americans still have high expectations for companies; 92% say they have a more positive image of the company if they support a social or environmental cause.

Here are some tips to help your company drive the conversation and reap the benefits that can come as a result.  

Understand why you are engaged

Before you can tell any story, you need to be clear on the purpose and the why. Companies would do well to think about these questions:

-What does CSR mean to our company, and why is it important?

-What are we trying to accomplish through our involvement?

-Who can we partner with to help us achieve our goals?

-How will our involvement benefit our company and our stakeholders, and help advance change in societal issues?

It is best when companies align their focus areas with their corporate goals and objectives, employee interests and needs, and community issues.

Clearly articulate what you are doing

Once you understand why you are engaged, articulate the value of your efforts. Being able to articulate your message is the difference between bragging and genuine commitment to good corporate citizenship and social change.

Corporate storytelling with Good Done Great

Tell the story using multiple communication vehicles

Make sure your story is being told using a variety of channels. The time-proven methods of annual reports and press releases are still valid. Recent years have seen a growth in the number of companies publishing an annual corporate social responsibility report. All of these are effective and demonstrate the company’s commitment to social change. More and more companies are turning to social media. All of these vehicles can and should be used.

The Cone Report found that 79% of consumers say they are more likely to believe a company’s CSR commitments if they share their efforts along multiple channels.

Use your partners to tell the story. They also have communication networks and channels. More storytellers make for a better story.

Engage employees as storytellers

Feature employees who are actively engaged in giving and volunteering. Use their faces and stories in your social media campaigns and printed reports. Additionally, encourage employees to tell the story to their friends and family. They can use their individual social networks to push out the story even further.  Engaging employees personalizes the story and demonstrates genuine commitment and authenticity.

The Cone Research report found that millennials are likely to tell friends and family about the CSR efforts of their employer and of companies that are committed to social change.

Promote partnerships and encourage participation

In your story, show how you have partnered with others to address a critical need and then invite those reading your story to engage with you. Consumers want to know what you are doing and how their personal actions can make a difference. They also said they appreciate a bold or daring message that makes them think differently. Use your story to invite their participation and action.

Companies are in a unique position to serve as the educator, the convener, and the catalyst for those wanting to make a difference. It all begins with joining the conversation and telling their story.  Be a driver and a catalyst for doing good and reap the benefits that come from being an engaged and involved corporation.

This post was authored by Steve Greenhalgh, our Managing Director of CSR Strategy.

Top 10 CSR social media accounts to follow today

Social media is the perfect platform to share images, facts, quotes, and statistics surrounding your corporate philanthropy efforts. More and more consumers utilize social media to discover information on CSR and engage with companies on CSR-related issues.

We’ve pulled together a list of our favorite brands and CSR strategists that we can all take some tips from to up our CSR social media game. 

1- PPG

PPG is a global company that provides paints, coatings, and materials. They utilize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share information on their giving and volunteering initiatives. Their own CSR-dedicated Twitter account, @ppg_communities, highlights their PPG Foundation grants and volunteer program, #ColorfulCommunities.

PPG Good Done Great Social Media

2- Ecolab Foundation

Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene, and energy technologies, utilizes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to educate consumers on water scarcity and food safety. These two cause areas correspond directly with their core business.

Their Twitter account, @EcolabFdn, features grant recipients and their employee volunteers. They tweet using #EcolabGives to highlight their work in the community.

Hashtags are a great way to encourage your followers to engage with and follow your content.

3- PwC Foundation

The PwC Foundation utilizes their Twitter account, @PwCFoundation, to promote their cause areas including veteran affairs and youth education. They share articles their employees pen surrounding their personal connection with cause areas. This is a great way to humanize the causes that the PwC Foundation supports.

4- Whole Kids Foundation

The Whole Kids Foundation’s Instagram feed is filled with colorful images of fruits, vegetables, and smiling faces of children who receive support from the foundation. This foundation, one of the Whole Foods Market Foundations, supports schools and inspires families to improve childhood nutrition and wellness. They encourage their followers to post photos with #growinghealthykids to share their work in growing gardens that support the health and wellness of children.

Good Done Great Whole Kids Foundation Social Media

Are you in need of facts and research that support your Corporate Social Responsibility activities? Look no further than these three twitter accounts…

5- @EdelmanPurpose

Edelman is known the world over for their work promoting and protecting the world’s most respected and trusted brands. Their Twitter account features research and insight on the latest CSR buzzwords and themes including finding your social purpose and demonstrating the business case for sustainability. If you are in need of helpful facts or the latest CSR research, follow @EdelmanPurpose.

6- @CECPtweets

We’ve been fans of CECP for awhile now as they bring together business leaders committed to social responsibility. Their Giving in Numbers report provides statistics and trends regarding current CSR programs of some of the biggest brands; this information helps other companies benchmark their efforts. Check out their feed for highlights surrounding current happenings in the CSR space.

7- @RealizedWorth

RealizedWorth works with companies to motivate employees to participate in volunteering and giving programs. Their inspiring and informational content spurs readers into action. Join over 11,900 of their followers to stay on top of content such as “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose: Framing the Volunteer Experience.”

Edelman, CECP, and RealizedWorth fill their Twitter accounts with CSR facts and statistics. Provide your followers with similar information, and they will view you and your brand as thought leaders.

To round out our list of top 10 CSR-related social media accounts, here are three of our favorite tweeters in this space.

8- Ingrid Embree – @trulyingrid

Ingrid, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, at GlobalGiving shares both informational and inspiring tweets featuring feel-good giving stories. If you are interested in staying on top of the latest in CSR and sustainable development, you will find Ingrid’s account filled with information on the SDGs, skills-based volunteering, and news on relevant causes including the refugee crisis.

9- Shannon Schuyler – @ShannonSchuyler

Shannon is the Chief Purpose Officer at PwC and the President of the PwC Foundation. Her Twitter feed features stories of her fellow colleagues and their personal passions and causes in addition to articles and facts on purpose in the workplace. She keeps her feed current by featuring events including Teacher Appreciation Week and Military Appreciation Month. These celebrated days feature new causes that inspire us to give back.

10- Aman Singh – @AmanSinghCSR

Aman has years of experience in CSR from her role as VP, Business + Social Purpose at Edelman to her work with CSRwire and her current role at Futerra.

Her 19,000+ Twitter followers receive news on everything from the circular economy to climate change and open positions in sustainability. In 160 characters or less, she inspires her followers to take action.

Ingrid, Shannon, and Aman engage their followers with content that not only informs but inspires. Successful social media accounts inform their followers while inspiring and encouraging them to take action.

If you are looking to up your Twitter or social media game, these ten brands and individuals serve as inspiration and provide invaluable CSR research. Take example from the above accounts and turn your neutral stakeholders into positive CSR brand ambassadors!