On Wednesday, September 5, the DC Social Impact team participated in the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) Webinar “Key Findings from current research,” led by BCCCC Executive Director Katherine Smith. Guest presenters Nic Covey, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Nielsen and Brendan LeBlanc, Executive Director of Climate Change and Sustainability Services for Ernst & Young also presented recent findings.
Here are our top takeaways from the webinar:
1.Make employees count. While BCCCC reports that 90% of respondents identify customers as the most important stakeholder group, Ernst & Young’s LeBlanc noted that more and more execs are finding that employees are driving CSR initiatives. Across the board, all presenters nodded to the impact that company employees have as key stakeholders in CSR commitments. LeBlanc added that employees now want a visible road map of CSR initiatives and where they fit in. BCCCC also noted that CSR programs that lasted up to 4-6 years had the most success. Case in point-- More employees want to work for socially responsible corporations and want to be involved in shaping their company’s program for the long haul. Make your employees count in CSR programming.
2.Consider tailoring your CSR program. According to BCCCC’s findings, there are vast regional differences in what top execs believe are priority issue areas for CSR programing. Like finger prints, no one region is alike in needs from CSR programming. Here’s a look at the breakdown:
i. Compared to other regions, the US has significantly less concern for environmental sustainability
ii. ME/Africa/Pakistan are primarily concerned with achieving universal primary education
iii. Latin American countries are significantly more concerned about increasing access to cultural institutions than all other regions.
Also consider tailoring your programs to your target demographics, Nielsen’s Covey suggested. While across all demographic breakdowns, environmental sustainability was the number one priority, choices for second most important priority varied widely by gender and age.
3. Good News: Not all consumers care about CSR, but half do! Here’s a great argument for cause marketing: 46% of online consumers 15+ are willing to pay more for products and services from companies who are “giving back.” These socially conscious consumers are more likely to trust advertising across the board. 95% of socially conscious consumers say they trust earned marketing in the form of recommendations from their friends and 56% trust paid marketing in the form of brand sponsorship.
4. Focus on the details. No surprise here, accurate program measurement and reporting is important to program success. LeBlanc noted that more company executives reported caring about CSR rankings and ratings, and with that comes a need accurately track and report the impact of CSR programs. Businesses have even seen a rise in the role the CFO plays by identifying and measuring cost reductions and impact delivered through CSR programming.
Stay tuned for more research updates and lookout for the release of the full BCCC 2012 ‘State of Corporate Citizenship Report’ in October. For more information, follow the links to access the current research:
Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR conference on Redefining Leadership. Our Social Impact team will be sharing some insights from the conference here on this blog.
We've written before about the power that lies in educating women and girls in the developing world. It's no secret that the Girl Effect is real, and Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking, lives and breathes this theory every day. In her role leading the largest network of microfinance institutions focused on women, Iskenderian is working to build sustainable business partnerships that will help lift women and their families out of poverty.
What's interesting about the work of WWB is the ways they are innovating beyond the traditional lending model. Services offered now include savings accounts for girls aged 7-24 in the Dominican Republic and Mongolia, as well as microinsurance programs that allow for families to account for unexpected health emergencies. WWB even developed a telenovela, aired in the Dominican Republic, that builds in financial literacy plotlines and messages to engage with women in a new way. As Iskenderian points out, human rights are never fully achievable for women without economic rights, and innovative partnerships can provide an essential link between the two. In today's world where 2.7 billion people are unbanked, we have great opportunities to band together to create a world where women are empowered to build a sustainable lives.
At this point in the year, the conversation among our Social Impact colleagues is especially animated around two questions: (1) how the summer flew by so quickly, and (2) which topics we want to examine in our annual research project with KRC Research to illuminate key trends and notable developments in corporate social responsibility (CSR), or nonprofit and foundation communications.
In the past, we’ve interviewed top executives at Fortune 2000 companies to explore the impact of crowdsourcing in CSR and the drivers of corporate investment in CSR. We’ve also conducted research with nonprofit and foundation executives to explore how their organizations are using social media and the value they derive from these efforts.
In building our upcoming research plans, we want to consider how changes in the communications ecosystem are creating new opportunities (and challenges) for corporate and social sector organizations to drive awareness and engagement around their work. We want to shed light on the innovations, platforms, and strategies that are making the most significant impact in the work of companies and nonprofits to create social value.
This year, as we develop our plans, we’d love to hear from you. What questions would you like to see explored? How are companies integrating CSR strategies more directly with business strategies? How are corporate leaders communicating their CSR investment in today’s economic conditions? How are nonprofits bringing new creativity to driving advocacy in a saturated environment? What are the most meaningful forms of measurement for social engagement? Let us know what’s on your mind.
Corporations strongly encourage collaboration. Foundations do too. In the face of recession and pressure from multiple funding sources, will nonprofits learn to work together? Will they have a choice?
These tough questions arose during multiple sessions at the National Conference on Corporate Community Investment (CCI), most often in response to audience questions about how the recession has impacted corporate social responsibility initiatives. Representatives from corporations said that, increasingly, they want to see nonprofits work together to maximize their impact. Doing so makes them much more attractive to potential funders, they explained.
Foundations have similar expectations of their nonprofit partners. Just last week, the Lodestar Foundation awarded its 2011 Collaboration Prize to a nonprofit organization chosen from more than 800 applicants. The best practices gleaned from these applicants are memorialized in the Foundation Center’s Nonprofit Collaboration Database.
The Database organizes best practices into three categories of collaboration:
• Administrative Consolidation
• Joint Programming
Unsurprisingly, there are three or four times as many examples of Joint Programming as there are examples of Administrative Consolidation and Mergers. It’s easier for nonprofits to work together on a project or program basis than to become a new or integrated organization – but the latter is achievable. The winner of this year’s Collaboration Prize is a shining example. Five different child-serving agencies merged to form the Adoption Coalition of Texas, pooling their resources and more than doubling adoptions in the state.
While the challenges of collaboration are many, Jon Bennett of TXU Energy reassured CCI attendees that the benefits will outweigh them in time. “As a company that has been through multiple mergers and acquisitions, and that has been bought out, we understand the problems. But it needs to happen.”
Do you agree that nonprofit collaboration is the way of the future – and that participating organizations will be awarded more funding?
Wine and food are two things that personally give me great pleasure. I have always found wine makers and chefs to be some of the most charitable people I know. These are folks who work 90-hour weeks in their restaurants or wineries and then willingly give their one night off to raise money for a great cause.
As I’ve become more established in my local wine blogging community, I have had the pleasure to get to know some of the folks who are truly making a difference in deserve a toast in their honor.
The first is Cleavage Creek Winery, which I discovered around the untimely death of my aunt, Sue, who was fighting breast cancer. Cleavage Creek is the story of Budge Brown, who lost Arlene, his wife of 48 years, to breast cancer. Determined to do something to help others, he started Cleavage Creek winery, which donates 10 percent of gross sales to cutting edge research to fight breast cancer.
Is he making a difference? You bet. Budge founded the Integrative Oncology Research Center on Bastyr University’s Campus in 2007 and has raised $72,000 to support breast cancer research. I’ve reviewed these wines and can tell you they are first class. You’ll find the stories of survivors on the label and the stories are inspiring.
Next is Charity Case Foundation, a movement put together by top winemakers from Napa Valley where all the juice, fruit and manpower are donated to make small batch, hand-made wines. Jayson Woodbridge, the cult wine maker of Hundred Acre, Layer Cake and Cherry Pie fame, was the driver of this project. One hundred percent of proceeds go to nonprofits in Napa that serve children and families including Aldea Children & Family Services, Cope Family Center, Foster Kids Receiving Center and Wolfe Center Teen Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program.
Finally, there is a new charity wine distribution model that brings small and family-run wineries to a larger audience at a great price all while providing assistance to a select group of charities. Cellar Angels is a free private membership program, but if you click this link, you’ll be eligible. I’ve become friends with Martin Cody, the president, and I can tell you this is a guy who is ready to change the world. For you the consumer, there are some good wines that hit this site for a fraction of the price. Only one wine is offered each week, ensuring only the best quality wines are presented and you get to choose your charity at check out.
There are some lessons to be learned from the wine community.
- Consumers buy brands that give back to the community. According to the CSR User Blog, more than 88 percent of consumers think companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and the environment.
- The expectation has increased that even small companies must give back to the community. The examples above are small businesses dedicated to making a difference and consumers have positively responded.
- One person can make a difference. Budge Brown’s Integrative Oncology Research Center will remain a tribute to his wife, Arlene, for generations to come.
I’ve never seen the food and wine community turn their backs on a cause in need. During the earthquake in Haiti and then afterward in Chile, winemakers and wine people rallied together to donate countless bottles of wine to an auction to help victims. Supporting these wineries and charity wine distribution models allow you to do your part for the community while drinking some good wines with a great story to tell.
What We're reading
- A. Fine Blog
- Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media
- Bits Blog (New York Times)
- BSR - The Business of a Better World
- Charity Navigator Blog
- David Coethica's Blog
- Dot Earth
- Foreign Policy Blogs
- Give & Take (Chronicle of Philanthropy - General)
- Global Health Policy
- Global Health Report
- Global Voices
- Huffington Post (Media)
- Inside Philanthropy (Philanthropy Journal)
- Passport (Foreign Policy)
- PhilanTopic (Philanthropy News Digest)
- Prospecting (Chronicle of Philanthropy) - Fundraising
- Realizing Your Worth
- Selfish Gving
- Tactical Philanthropy
- TechCrunch (Washington Post)
- The White House Blog
- @afine (A. Fine Blog)
- @cpreston (Chronicle of Philanthropy, Give & Take Blog)
- @eclawson (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
- @ianwilhelm (Chronicle of Philanthropy, Give & Take Blog)
- @phijo (Philanthropy Journal)
- @philanthropy (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
- @pndblog (Philanthropy News Digest)
- @tactphil (Tactical Philanthropy Blog)
Daily E-mail Digests
- Breaking News (Council on Foundations) – To subscribe, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Philanthropy Today (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
- Nonprofit Times
- Philanthropy Journal
- Philanthropy News Digest
- Real Clear World
- Standford Social Innovation Review