Webinar Recap: The Radically Engaged Business – A 2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Encore Presentation with Carol Cone

For the August edition of our Best Practice Network Webinar Series, we spoke with Carol Cone, the renowned “mother of cause marketing” and Global Chair of Edelman Business + Social Purpose. This webinar was an encore presentation of Carol’s 2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit keynote speech, where she wowed audiences with her thoughts on building a purpose-driven business and developing a successful cause marketing strategy.

During the webinar, many attendees also engaged in an exciting Twitter conversation using the hashtag #VMbpn. Check out what they had to say throughout this recap.

 

Here are a few of Carol’s key take-away points.

Employee engagement is key.

According to a recent Gallup study, organizations with high employee engagement had a 3.9 times higher earnings per share growth than those with low employee engagement. Furthermore, engaged employees put in 57% more effort and were 87% less likely to leave the company than disengaged employees.

Employees are the center of your brand, and they can be the center of your cause marketing campaign, too. Happy, productive employees can push your business and cause forward, leading to essential future growth.

 

 

Adapt to an evolving marketplace — and consumer.

Carol emphasized the importance of understanding that we live in a world in transition, where many social issues are at play. The modern “citizen consumer” is an empowered member of a shifting marketplace, where customers expect transparency and social responsibility.

86% of global consumers believe that businesses should value social issues as highly as profits. Additionally, a recent Edelman study found that, when choosing between two products with equivalent prices and functions, a consumer is more likely to choose the one that promotes a cause. These consumers are also highly active on various social media platforms, making them more aware and empowered than ever. They expect authenticity and accountability — and they’ll be able to tell if your company’s efforts are not genuine. Make sure you’re using technology effectively, and that your social media efforts mirror your investment in social issues

 

Tell your story.

Finally, Carol discussed the importance of storytelling in communicating a company’s socially responsible policy and impact. It’s important to focus your efforts on one issue that aligns with your organization’s industry and audience. Only after you’ve chosen a relevant cause should you select a partner.

 

Then, you can begin to shape your narrative, using personal anecdotes and compelling language to form an accessible and inspiring story. Don’t brag about your accomplishments; instead, aim to connect with individuals.

So what exactly is a radically engaged business? It’s an organization that has adapted to a changing world, marketplace, employee and consumer. A radically engaged business knows that corporate social responsibility isn’t just a feel-good addition to your marketing strategy. Investment in social issues is essential for your future growth and continued survival in an ever-evolving marketplace.


Watch the full webinar here.

Don’t miss our next Best Practice Network Webinar on September 13. Register today for What’s the Difference? Exploring the Convergence of Cause Marketing & CSR Craig Bida of Cone Communications and Dave Stangis of Campbell Soup Company!

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Webinar Recap: Small Business, Big Engagement – Trends & Best Practices in Using Social Media to Tell the Small Business CSR Story

 For the July edition of our Best Practice Network Webinar Series, we spoke with Julie Dixon, Deputy Director of Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication, the only academic initiative that looks specifically at the role of communication in fostering community engagement. Julie focused on best communication practices and the importance of social media for small businesses trying to tell their CSR story.

Going for gold
We can’t all be world-class Olympic athletes, but small businesses are participating in a different kind of race. Imagine your business at the starting line with a series of hurdles ahead. To successfully reach your goal, you’ll have to leap over each hurdle. Just make sure to take it one step at a time!

Hurdle #1: To communicate or not to communicate?
A recent CSIC study found that only 30% of small businesses actively communicate externally about their CSR efforts. Many small businesses don’t want to brag, or make it seem as though they do good work purely for the publicity.

But small businesses have a responsibility to communicate with the larger community. By spreading the word about your CSR efforts, you can elevate your cause and encourage others to join in. If you’re anxious about sounding boastful, consider Julie’s three tips for authentic communication:

(1) Play up your partnerships with nonprofits, stakeholders and the larger community.
(2) Enlist partners as co-communicators and encourage them to publicize your efforts.
(3) Let others tell your story.

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Humana’s CSR Report Highlights Integrated Strategy and Volunteer Program

Volunteer programs are a key element of an integrated corporate social responsibility strategy.

They prove that a company is taking social responsibility seriously. Rather than treating CSR like an isolated sector, a for-profit with a volunteer program actively engages employees, consumers and stakeholders alike. It sees CSR as an essential strategy to be incorporated into every aspect of its business.

VolunteerMatch encourages our clients, partners and members of the community to view CSR in this light. So we’re really excited about the 2010 & 2011 CSR report that Humana, one of our clients, just released!

The health insurance company has recently released Well-Being Starts With Us, a summary of the company’s CSR efforts over the last two years.

By focusing on its comprehensive CSR policies, Humana is setting a great example for future social responsibility and volunteerism reporting. Well-Being Starts With Us provides a transparent outline of Humana’s CSR goals, initiatives and achievements, including its volunteerism efforts.

Humana’s three-pronged CSR platform of Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance aims to promote enterprise-wide healthy choices and well-being. We think it’s an excellent example of an integrated and successful CSR strategy with a volunteer component.

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VolunteerMatch APIs Expand Access to Volunteer Network

How can we make it easier for good people and good causes to connect?

That’s the question VolunteerMatch is always seeking to answer. Whether we’re addressing our volunteer, nonprofit or corporate audience, VolunteerMatch always aims to make volunteering as easy as possible.

That’s why we’d like to tell you about our APIs, or application programming interfaces. With our APIs, you can incorporate our extensive listings directly into your website or application, customizing the VolunteerMatch search engine to suit your specific needs.

That way, individuals can search for volunteer opportunities or organizations without having to visit a third-party site. They can discover good causes without leaving your website or application.

It’s a great way to increase the effectiveness of your Employee Volunteer Program, or simply promote volunteerism in your community.

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Webinar Recap: Social Media + Corporate Responsibility: How to Amplify and Measure Your Impact

For the June edition of our Best Practice Network Webinar Series, we spoke with Susan McPherson and John Gordon of Fenton, a public interest communications firm that specializes in non-profit organizations. Susan and John tackled the increasingly important topic of social media and how to incorporate it into your CSR strategy.

Why use social media?

A 2011 study found that acompany’s CSR program can not only increase internal morale and efficiency, but also account for up to 40% of its reputation.

Getting the word out about your company’s CSR program is important, and social media can help you do it. Social media’s potential for conversation, interaction and promotion makes it an essential tool for any company trying to build its brand and reputation. However, with so many different channels, your strategy and message can get muddled.

Check out Susan and John’s five tips for maximizing social media use and CSR efforts:

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The 2012 Millennial Impact Report: Harnessing Generation Y for CSR and EVP Success

Photo by Ashley Gushue of Google employees volunteering during annual GoogleServe event.

Generation Y doesn’t have a great reputation.

More often than not, today’s cohort of young people — often referred to as Millennials, or the population born between 1980 and 2000 — are depicted as entitled, selfish and lazy. Parents, employers and even the New York Times portray them as a “Generation Me,” a demanding population spoiled by technology that values little over their number one priority: fun.

This characterization seems a little unfair.

Millennials may have grown up with smartphones, digital downloads and the Internet at their fingertips, but this doesn’t necessarily translate to laziness or apathy.

In fact, Millennials are quickly becoming a vital force for social good. Generation Y represents a key portion of potential nonprofit volunteers, and they’re increasingly optimistic about business’ capacity to effect positive change. Essentially, they’re the ideal candidates for corporate volunteer engagement.

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Get to Know Our New Intern

Nice to meet youHello! I’m Gina Cargas and I’m the new Communications & Social Media Intern at VolunteerMatch. While I’m only here for the summer, I’m looking forward to working with and learning from the communications and marketing team in order to connect people to causes.

I’ve just finished up my second year at Cornell University, where I’m studying Comparative Literature with minors in French and Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies. In my spare time, I write and edit for two Ithaca-based publications, teach French to kids, ride my bike and harangue freshmen into joining my housing cooperative.

I was born and raised in San Francisco, and I’m delighted to be spending another summer working in my hometown’s nonprofit community. Last year, I spent three months as an intern at 826 Valencia, a local writing nonprofit dedicated to supporting students age 6-18 and teachers of the literary arts. At 826 Valencia I coordinated the 2011 8/26 Day Write-a-thon, taught writing courses to kids, and engaged in the organization’s outreach and marketing efforts. I look forward to applying this experience, as well as my writing background, to my work at VolunteerMatch.

As the Communications & Social Media intern at VolunteerMatch, I’ll be learning from — and becoming one of — the voices of the VolunteerMatch team. I’ll be writing, researching and creating for the many different channels connecting our team with the nonprofit, volunteering and CSR worlds. I’ll act as a link between VolunteerMatch and our wider network, providing you with the information, news and knowledge you need.

VolunteerMatch is a community of inspiring professionals committed to connecting good people with good causes. I’m so excited to join the team and I look forward to getting to know you in the upcoming months!

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