CSR Food for Thought: Are Your Values Worth More Than Your Profits?

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.

Are Your Values Worth More Than Your Profits?

An insightful question to open up a discussion on the Digalicious Digital Strategy blog about CVS’ recent decision to stop selling cigarettes in their drug stores. What it’s really about is the evolution of the brand – so what big changes would your brand need to make to be better aligned with your values?

5 Ways Causes and Companies Got Together for the Big Game

In the aftermath of the very exciting/disappointing Super Bowl (depending on where you live,) this Fast Co.Exist article submits that the real winners were the causes and companies who partnered to spread their messages to consumers. The article includes five examples of creative and inspirational ad campaigns that appeared as part of the big day.

5 Ways to Make a Sustainability Report Sparkle

…Literally. Elaine Cohen describes the impressive elements of Tiffany & Co.’s third Corporate Responsibility Report, and then conducts an illuminating interview with the Chair and President of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Vice President of Global Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Tiffany & Co.

MGM Resorts International Presents the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in Las Vegas

We know, MLK Day was weeks ago. But we are so impressed by the parade put on by MGM Resorts International, and not just because of the cool floats. It’s also the avid participation of the company’s employees as volunteers, marching in the parade and helping to make the event a success. Their time was truly spent enriching their community.

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CSR Food for Thought: When is CSR Reporting Honest?

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.

When is CSR Reporting Honest?

If we don’t come away from a company’s sustainability report trusting that it provides a full picture of the organization’s successes and failures – well, then, what’s the point? So what contributes to the honesty of a CSR report, wonders Elaine Cohen on the CSR-Reporting blog. She identifies the need for a delicate balance between bragging about the good stuff, and being transparent about the bad.

10 Best Cause Marketing Promotions of 2013

I know, round-ups of the best of 2013 is so last year. But reading about great cause marketing campaigns is almost as addictive as reading about celebrity scandals, and these actually improve the world. Joe Waters of Selfish Giving presents his favorites here, so prepare to be inspired to think about how your company can engage consumers for good.

Interview: Shannon Schuyler on PwC’s Best Employee Engagement Program, Project Belize

Learn all about PwC’s “triple-benefit” employee engagement program that sends employees to Belize every year to host financial literacy camps, provide scholarships to students, train teachers and principals, and build educational playgrounds. One of the biggest benefits, says Shannon Schuyler, Principal and Corporate Responsibility Leader at PwC? Employee retention. Read more details on Triple Pundit.

9 Ways Your Business Can Make the World a Better Place in 2014

If you’ve got a goal in 2014 to build your business AND help the world, you’re not the only one. This Inc.com article provides some great advice for how to approach a strategy of “doing well by doing good” over the next year.

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7 CSR and Employee Engagement Conferences You Must Attend This Year

7 CSR and Employee Engagement Conferences You Must Attend This Year

Schmoozing at the 2013 VolunteerMatch Client Summit

If you go to a lot of corporate social responsibility and cause marketing conferences each year, the beginning of the year only means one thing: the budget is set and it’s time to rock!

With many of the most interesting and innovative events of the conference calendar bunched up in Q1 and Q2, there’s not a lot of time to plan for maximum impact.

 

So without further ado, here’s our list of the events that we think are worth attending in terms of investment, impact, networking and fun:

2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit, Sept. 18-19, Detroit

There’s no event we get more value out of than our own Client Summit. Each year more than a 100 representatives of our corporate partners meet to talk trends and best practices, hear from experts in the field, and talk about the real world challenges of managing large scale volunteer initiatives at many of the world’s most engaged workforces. It’s invitation only, and usually reserved for companies that use VolunteerMatch’s world class engagement platform. This year we are thrilled to be bringing the event to Detroit, where General Motors is hosting everything at its world headquarters.

Cause Marketing Forum Annual Conference, May 28-29, Chicago

One of our favorites of the year is the Cause Marketing Forum, an intimate two days of interesting conversations at the nexus of cause and brand marketing. World class companies come to share their stories, and nonprofits that are committed to cause marketing are all looking for innovative ways to engage. You can also catch the presentation of the annual Halo Awards, cause marketing’s highest honor. The awards go to both corporations and their nonprofit partners.

The BSR Conference ’14, November 4-7, New York City

A four-day conference from Business for Social Responsibility, the SF-based nonprofit sustainability consultant. The event, which shifts from coast to coast each year, is a must for businesses that are looking to create social responsibility and sustainability plans that will last. The conference is a wonderful mix of content around the most pressing questions and top trends that will drive conversations in the future of social responsibility. Yes, that’s our very own Inga Langford at the mic on this page recapping last year’s event!

ACCP Annual Conference on Corporate Contributions, March 2-5, Las Vegas

Don’t go to the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals’ annual event because it’s in Vegas – go because it’s the premier conference in the U.S. for professionals in corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility, community relations and volunteerism. While flashier events focus on the sizzle of brand marketing and cause marketing for social good, ACCP’s event is all about the steak of corporate giving – i.e., billions of dollars of annual philanthropy, volunteering and community investments.

13th Annual Best Practices Summit on Employee Engagement in Corporate Citizenship, April, New York City

Charities@Work hosts one of the best gatherings dedicated to ideas and trends in employee engagement for social good. We like this conference because it recognizes the enormous and often overlooked impact employee-led philanthropy and volunteering is having in our communities.

SB ’14 San Diego, June 2-5, San Diego

The innovative minds at Sustainable Brands, the organization, developed Sustainable Brands, the event, to bring together the most innovative thinkers in brand development and brand marketing to help change the world. Each year SB hosts this 3-day event on an island in San Diego, which sounds exotic, except that it’s really purpose-built for making sure the conversations are sustained and relationships can be developed over a short period of time. I’ve always loved the connections, stories, and opportunities that come out of this conference.

2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service, June 16-18, Atlanta

Points of Light Institute’s Conference on Volunteering and Service is best known as a place for nonprofits to learn more about volunteer engagement, but it also has a wonderful track for business professionals. Each year we are thrilled to see dozens of our corporate partners at NCVS, and it’s great to see that corporate social responsibility is becoming a larger part of the discussion at the largest event about volunteering on the national landscape.

What do you think are the best events in CSR in 2014? Share them here.

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CSR Food for Thought: It’s Happening on LinkedIn

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.

This week we’re highlighting CSR-related discussions happening in various LinkedIn groups. Check them out and join the groups to participate!

Want to boost employee morale and performance? | Posted by Chris Jarvis on HandsOn Network

Chris Jarvis from Realized Worth shares new research that shows that employees who are empowered to be “prosocial” are happier. Check it out for ideas to apply this to your employee engagement strategy.

What are you doing to give your employees the power to choose when it comes to CSR and social innovation? | Posted by Courtney Pankrat in CSRwire, the Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire

Continuing the theme of choice and flexibility from above, Courtney shares an article from Sustainable Brands that emphasizes the importance of actively engaging employees in CSR-related decision making as a key to participation and success. Share your two cents in the discussion!

Looking for ROI on cause marketing efforts? | Posted by Megan Strand in Cause Communications

Megan Strand from Cause Marketing Forum posted the recap of a webinar on cause marketing ROI, including some excellent cause marketing examples as well as several corporate ROI stories from March of Dimes and their partners.

What’s the state of the sustainability jobs market? | Posted by Shannon Houde in Justmeans – CSR, Sustainability, Social Enterprise News and Updates

Looking to get into the CSR and sustainability field? Or perhaps your company is hiring and wants to know about the lay of the land? Shannon shares her recent column and starts a discussion on what the future holds for those entering the sustainability jobs market.

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Social Media + CSR: The Twitter Edition

Check out these resources on Twitter for CSR and employee engagement.What is this “Twitter?” How do I “tweet?” Why on Earth would this be helpful for me in my job managing my company’s CSR program and engaging employees in volunteer projects?

Those are excellent questions.

I’m not here to try and convince you to start using Twitter – each individual needs to make that choice for him or herself. But if you’re already on Twitter, it can be a great resource for staying up to date and involved in what’s going on in the fields of CSR and employee engagement. This can open up opportunities for collaboration and partnerships, greater visibility, and increased resources for your company’s programs.

Here are some ways you can use Twitter to easily stay on top of CSR and employee engagement:

Follow @VM_Solutions on Twitter.

We had to put it in here. Now it’s out of our system. It’s also a great resource for you and your employees.

Hashtags

Put a “#” in front of it, and it’s a hashtag. These are used to label topics on Twitter, and they are a great tool to help you cut through all that overwhelming noise and just focus on what you actually care about. Here are some of the most popular hashtags for CSR and employee engagement:

Lists

Lists are curated by actual people – other Twitter users. They can help you identify and follow the most influential people from the fields of CSR and employee engagement. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Chats

If you can afford to take an hour from your day, Twitter chats are a great way to connect with a lot of people all at once around a specific topic. These chats all happen at the same day and time every week or so:

Conferences

Using Twitter at a conference adds a whole new layer to the experience of the event. You can connect with people you might never otherwise meet, extend conversations, trash-talk speakers while they’re still going… Most conferences these days have their own custom hashtags for the event to help people connect. Here are a few examples:

What are your favorite CSR and employee engagement resources on Twitter? Share them in the comments!

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CSR Food for Thought: It’s My Birthday!

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.

This week we’re focused on storytelling…

Why Agencies and Brands Need to Embrace True Storytelling

There’s a difference, says this article in Adweek, between branded content and storytelling. And brands need to focus more on storytelling. This means creating ways for your audiences to insert themselves into your narrative. This idea has interesting implications for how to integrate CSR and volunteering into a company’s story, and how to best increase engagement in your projects.

Why Our Ideas About Work and Happiness are Backwards

Tech Cocktail does a great job here of unpacking Shawn Achor’s excellent TedxBloomington talk “The happy secret to better work.” The key here is that people’s internal realities can shape their experience as much as external realities. So companies and brands should communicate in order to make people happy and connected on the inside – so they want to engage on the outside.

Cause Marketing Coopetition on the Rise

Sometimes the mission to do good can join companies and brands whose stories would never otherwise overlap. In this Forbes article by David Hessekiel, Founder and President of the Cause Marketing Forum,  we learn about unlikely partnerships that have formed between disparate brands and even competitors, all in the name of engaging consumers to make the world a better place.

It’s My Birthday! Using Special Occasions for Cause Marketing

One great way to get your company or brand’s story out in the world is to piggyback on another story. Current events, holidays, even birthdays are great ways to get people interested in the story you have to tell. Joe Waters of Selfish Giving provides some tips for being successful when using special occasions for cause marketing.

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2012 VolunteerMatch Impact Report: Investing in You

It was my pleasure today to officially unveil VolunteerMatch’s 2012 Impact Report — a snapshot of the data we use to measure the size, scope and impact of the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, and to make sure we’re truly making it easy for your company to engage employees, consumers and your community.

Check out VolunteerMatch's 2012 Impact Report

We have never pushed harder to make it easier for good people and good causes to connect, and it is exciting to see how much of it is working.

Last year we added cause area Search Filters to make it easier for volunteers to find what they’re looking for. We launched YourMatch, an all-new platform for successful workplace engagement.

We updated our API Suite and attracted developers from Microsoft to NYU to invent new ways for people to get involved. And we expanded our online Education & Training program to share real-world insights and best practices with thousands of nonprofit and corporate social responsibility professionals.

Together we are eliminating barriers that keep us apart and finding new ways for nonprofits, businesses and individuals to strengthen their communities.

Did any of it make a difference to you or your community? Check it out and let us know – we’d love to read your comments!

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