A Fresh Take on CSR Professional Development

Guest post by Katy Moore, Director of Corporate Strategy, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Photo of Katy Moore

It’s nearly the end of the year. (How did that happen?!) And, if you’re like most corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals, you’re currently looking for – and budgeting for – potential 2015 professional development opportunities. I know this because you’re calling me – a lot. And, I love it!

As your companies face increasing pressure from consumers, shareholders, and society to be more socially responsible, you, as CSR practitioners, are increasingly looking for ways to expand your skills and your networks, stay inspired (or perhaps get re-inspired), and learn practical, applicable best practices that can help you deliver maximum value back to your company and the communities you serve.

Back in 2012, in response to this growing pressure, the corporate members of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) asked us to develop a new type of professional development opportunity for the CSR field, one that would meet the growing and ever-changing needs of CSR professionals, would be grounded in practice, would be associated with an accredited college or university, and would be affordable.

In 2014, after nearly two years of exploration, research, and curriculum development, WRAG, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, launched the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility LogoThis four-part, year-long course of study examines the scope and complexity of CSR, including its evolution, components, best practices, measurement models, key issues and current trends. At the end of the year, all of this results in a professional certificate in CSR from Johns Hopkins University.

More importantly than the curriculum, however, is the Institute’s structure and philosophy. The program, which was created by CSR professionals for CSR professionals, was designed with applicability in mind (that is, skills and ideas that are immediately useful and are realistic to implement once you’re back at the office). And, to ensure that the curriculum remains current and relevant to practitioners’ needs, all classes are taught by leading CSR professionals from the field. Faculty members include Tim McClimon of the American Express Foundation, Diane Melley of IBM, Carolyn Berkowitz of the Capital One Foundation, and Margaret Coady of the Center for Engaging Corporate Philanthropy, to name a few.

As to the structure of the program, only 25 CSR practitioners are accepted each year. Jennifer-Kim-Field-Guest-Speaker-UN-FoundationThese 25 professionals spend 10 months together learning, exploring best practices, and, ultimately, building a powerful network of peers, mentors, and confidants. They do this not only with each other and faculty members, but also with guest speakers from companies and organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Disney, The White House, the United Nations Foundation, and Greenpeace.

There are a lot of workshops, conferences, and discussion forums available to CSR professionals. But, if you’re looking for something a bit different, if you’re looking for a cohort of peers to learn with and from, if you’re looking for a course of study steeped in practice and real-life case studies, check out the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, and what our alumni are saying about their experience. And give me a call – I’d love to hear from you!

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VolunteerMatch Partners Make Up 20% of The Civic 50

Civic 50 LogoEvery year, Bloomberg identifies the most community-minded companies in the country with The Civic 50. These are corporations who give extreme amounts of their time, money & products back to great community and global causes.

Once again, many VolunteerMatch corporate partners appear on this prestigious list. In fact, they make up 20% of the list! We are so proud to be helping these companies achieve their corporate social responsibility goals.

This year, the following VolunteerMatch corporate partners were named in The Civic 50:

  • Apollo Education Group
  • AT&T
  • ConAgra Foods
  • Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Gap Inc.
  • Raytheon
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Verizon
  • Viacom


Tess Marstaller, a member of VolunteerMatch’s client relations team, commented on how working with these amazing companies and seeing their names on this list affects her:

“Working with these civic leaders, I get to see how the individual commitment and passion of each employee adds up to create the large-scale impact of these companies.”

Congratulations to our partners for your inspiring achievement. We can’t wait to see what incredible things you will accomplish in 2015!

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CSR Food For Thought: Do Companies Need CSR to Survive?

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a weekly roundup of relevant news from around the Web, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.




In the Future, Companies Will Survive Only if They Help Solve Big Social Problems
In the year 2025, the world will look a lot different for companies, according to this article from Forbes. Paul Klein of Impakt and Milinda Martin of Time Warner Cable teamed up to research the future of CSR. Based on this research, they predict we’ll see a large shift in corporations taking ownership of social good efforts and filling in the gaps from government cuts. What do you think?

Why Social Responsibility Needs to Be More than Just a Fad
The business world currently has an “infatuation” with CSR, according to this Fast Company article. But can it last? If this is indeed a fad, then it’s temporary by definition. This article muses on how we can make CSR last by embracing its complexity.

Ritz-Carlton Takes Corporate Volunteering to New Level as Partner of IMPACT 2030
Have you heard of IMPACT 2030? It’s an initiative by corporations to help reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. How? Volunteerism. This article from eHotelier, a news source for the hospitality industry, highlights Ritz-Carlton’s role as a founding partner of this initiative, and summarizes their accomplishments on the recent International Volunteer Day.

Turning a Profit While Doing Good: Aligning Sustainability with Corporate Performance
New research published by The Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings backs up what we knew all along: Corporate responsibility efforts are directly related to a company’s ultimate success. Harvard Business School researcher George Serafeim found that the most successful companies undertake social good projects that are relevant to their particular industry. Find out more in the full report.

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New Time-Saving Features = More Time to Volunteer!

Incorporating volunteerism into your corporate social responsibility program has never been easier. Why? VolunteerMatch recently rolled out new features to our existing tools. We’ve made things simpler and stronger so your company can volunteer better.

Here’s a roundup of the new features:

Updated skills library.

Screen Shot of How to Select Skills

We love that skilled and pro bono volunteering continues to gain momentum, which is why we created this feature. Matching the list of user skills on LinkedIn, you can now post projects, collect data and calculate impact based on specific volunteer skills. For example, do you want to know how many hours your employees donated using their design skills? Done.

Fewer pages and clicks to get to what really matters: Connecting good people with good causes.
Less hassle online means more volunteer time for you and your employees. VolunteerMatch has simplified processes and streamlined our layout so it’s easier and quicker to navigate through our tools and to post volunteer projects.

Third-party contacts to manage relationships with partner organizations.
Add contacts to your VolunteerMatch Solutions site from outside your company, such as your nonprofit partners, and manage all your volunteer-related relationships in one space.

More flexible project types, such as virtual and ongoing.

Launch Screen Shot 2

Technology is constantly increasing the number of volunteer projects that can be done virtually. Give your employees that added flexibility by entering virtual projects, as well as projects that don’t require a specific date and time.



Stay tuned for a soon-to-be released demo showcasing these new features and more. In the meantime, check out more features of our employee engagement platform.

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Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: More than Writing A Check

Two people shaking hands.Successful corporate philanthropy requires more than a donation. You need brand-alignment, foresight and strategy, employee engagement, and measurable results.

During our December Best Practice Network webinar, More than Writing A Check: Creating Successful, Multi-faceted Corporate/ Nonprofit Partnerships, Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, will explain how to create lasting impact through partnerships with nonprofits while avoiding common mishaps.

She’ll share examples of companies that have done it right – and those that have fallen short. You’ll also learn why employee volunteering is a key part of a sustainable corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, and how you can get your employees on-board. Finally, Susan will underline the importance of social media and transparency in corporate philanthropy, sharing examples of how companies have elevated the impact of their programs through social media and providing actionable tips that any organization can put into place.

Register for this free event.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

Guest Speaker: Susan McPherson, McPherson Strategies

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VM_Solutions and #VMbpn.

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CSR Food For Thought: #MakeTodayMatter for a Better Tomorrow

Stack of NewspapersThe CSR Food for Thought series is a weekly roundup of relevant news from around the Web, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.



Bank Pays for Customers’ Volunteer Projects to Inspire More Good Deeds
We’ve all heard about companies aiding and encouraging their employees’ volunteer efforts. But what about their customers’? This Huffington Post article highlights TD Bank’s creative way to give back – by funding the community projects of selected customers. The stipulation? They had to complete their projects in 24 hours to #MakeTodayMatter.

Corporate-Giving Effort Aims to Expand Giving Tuesday
If your company participated in #GivingTuesday this year – that’s wonderful! Many great nonprofits are truly thankful for the support they receive on this new(ish) holiday. There are some companies, however, that are pledging to take #GivingTuesday even further, according to this feature in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. By 2015, will 500 companies make the pledge to donate 1-1-1? That’s 1% of their equity, 1% of their employees’ time, and 1% of their products. What do you think?

November Corporate Citizenship Highlights
Happy December! While we look ahead to the holidays, let’s also look back on the CSR accomplishments from last month. From Google’s matching donations for fighting Ebola to companies staying closed on Thanksgiving to give employees time with their families, November was certainly an eventful month in the world of CSR. In this post, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship discusses some of the accomplishments. What would you add to the list of November corporate good deeds?

CVS Celebrates #GivingTuesday and Colleague Volunteerism by Awarding $100,000 to 50 Nonprofits Nationwide
The employees at CVS Health volunteer for some great community organizations. So, when #GivingTuesday rolled around, it was a perfect fit to donate to the organizations company employees hold dear to them. Employees were invited to nominate an organization they volunteer for to win one of 50 grants from the CVS Health Foundation. Read their press release on 3BL Media for more information and the full list of grantees.

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