CSR Food For Thought: What Should a CSR Department Do?

The CSR Food for Thought series is a bi-weekly roundup of recent news from around the web, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

CSR Food for ThoughtWhat Should a Corporate Responsibility Office Do?
From The Boston Globe:
Is the purpose of a CSR department to make the CSR department obsolete? According to this article, the answer is yes.

It’s Time to Kill Cause Marketing
From Triple Pundit:
Does evolving CSR mean the death of cause marketing? Learn how deep and long-term cause relationships are, or according to this article should, replace the traditional one-off cause marketing model.

Want more? Check out this post about how volunteering will be key in the evolution of cause marketing.

What Counts as Volunteer Time?
From Realized Worth:
Confused as to when you should record your employees’ time as corporate volunteering? You’re not alone. In this post, Angela Parker looks at virtually every scenario, and gives you answers.

5 Innovative Ways to Improve Employee Engagement for Millennials
From Business.com:
Millennials are demanding more from their employers, including a culture that shares their values around community improvement. Learn how you can keep these employees satisfied and engaged.

Want more employee engagement tips? Check out these 9 ideas.

Enjoy! And follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

Volunteering and the Future of Cause Marketing

Guest post by Joe Waters, Selfish Giving

This post was originally published on the Selfish Giving blog.

Joe Waters, contributor to VolunteerMatch's new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldI’m excited to be one of the 35 experts in VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World.

I was surprised when VolunteerMatch asked me to contribute a chapter. I just didn’t view cause marketing as connected to volunteering – and I thought the book’s editor, Robert Rosenthal, and I agreed on this point!

You see, Robert was the guy who dissuaded me from including volunteering in my last book on nonprofit fundraising, Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New & Improved Strategies for Nonprofits.

I had considered several volunteer-related strategies for the book, but in the end I only included one: volunteer grants, also known as dollars for doers programs, which match a corporate volunteer’s time with a small grant from the company to the nonprofit.

So, why would I now write a chapter on cause marketing for a book on volunteering? Because Robert actually had a much better grasp of what volunteering is and where it’s headed than I did. Although he was right to nix volunteering from a book on fundraising tactics, he was also right that volunteering would have a major impact on cause marketing. Robert challenged me to adjust my perspective on the connection between volunteering and cause marketing.

A major hurdle for me was realizing that volunteering was more than just those little old ladies who used to stuff envelopes at my last nonprofit job.

No, volunteering is so much more.

Volunteering is when a person freely chooses to spend his or her time – unpaid – supporting a needy group or individual. A volunteer’s goal is to have a meaningful, measurable impact.

Using my new lens on volunteering, I peered out and discovered something incredible: Volunteering isn’t just connected to cause marketing; it’s the future of cause marketing. As focused as I was on defining cause marketing as a partnership between a nonprofit and for profit, I neglected the spark that makes these pacts ignite: individuals. These motivated and empowered do-gooders will be the key drivers of growth over the next generation.

You can read all about it in Volunteer Engagement 2.0!

Along with my chapter, you can read the contributions of 34 other volunteering experts.

  • Beth Kanter explains Measuring the Volunteer Program.
  • Aria Finger talks about Engaging Millennials and other Younger Volunteers.
  • Amy Sample Ward writes about Volunteer Engagement on the Social Web.
  • Scott Henderson talks about Getting the Most Out of Hackathons for Social Good.
  • Angela Parker and Chris Jarvis write on Partnering with Workplace Volunteer Programs.

This book has everything. An awesome, relevant topic, a great editor, a wonderful group of contributors and a chapter from yours truly!

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Joe’s full chapter, Volunteering and Future of Cause Marketing, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.




CSR Food For Thought: What’s Your Perfect Cause Marketing Fit?

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

Talbots & Dress for Success: A Perfect Cause Marketing Fit
At VolunteerMatch, we were founded on the idea that everyone should have the chance to find their perfect fit. The same goes for your nonprofit partnerships. This post from America’s Charities reflects on why Talbots & Dress for Success are such a great match, and it will hopefully get you thinking about the why behind your cause marketing. So, what’s your company’s perfect fit?

Beyond Incremental: Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan Takes Innovation to Scale
Who says change has to be gradual? “Sustainability driven innovation” is the next step in CSR, according to John Sterman of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. This article from Sustainable Brands discusses how rather than being an afterthought, CSR is now being incorporated into every stage of production and planning for many companies.

UPS Named Climate Leadership Award Winner by EPA
Many companies are stepping up to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But which company is doing the most to fight climate change? According to the EPA, that award goes to UPS. Read this press release on CSRwire to find out how UPS is surpassing its goals and living up to its 2014 title as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies.”

Will Corporate Social Responsibility Adapt or Die?
This Triple Pundit article argues that CSR isn’t making enough of an impact. Why? Because companies are still seeing it as an effort separate from their core business. However, this shouldn’t be seen as the end of CSR, but instead as a shift to a new form of CSR. What do you think? Is CSR as we know it on its way out?

CSR Food for Thought: Do It Like Sir Richard

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.

Do it like Sir Richard. The gutsy, entrepreneurial approach to profit and purpose.

Today’s business world is characterized by big, bold risks. The weirder the innovation, the bolder the idea, the more investors seem to clamor to buy a piece of the pie. Yet, when it comes to charity and philanthropy (in the corporate sector, as well), we are schooled to NEVER take risks, to never step outside the tried and true comfort zones. How will we ever innovate? We can all learn some things from Richard Branson, who has been as bold – and as successful – in the cause-driven sides of his businesses as he has with the profit margins.

Cause marketing realignment forces evolution of strategies

Gone are the days when a company could buy into a pre-packaged, once-a-year cause campaign focused on a “sexy” issue like breast cancer or heart health, and call it a successful strategy. Companies are waking up to the need to align cause marketing with the promise of the company’s brand, and the relationship they have with consumers. This is impacting the way companies create partnerships with nonprofits, making these relationships longer, stronger and more strategic.

#NewMetrics ’14 Workshop Reveals Secrets to Effective Employee Engagement

Spoiler alert: The secrets to effective employee engagement start with recruiting employees that are more likely to care about the issues you focus on (like sustainability), and then creating an environment that encourages them to be proactive, innovate, and be recognized for their contributions. This recap from the Sustainable Brands New Metrics ’14 event provides some specific strategies for doing this and increasing employee engagement and business success in the process.

Good Business

Speaking of cause marketing, a great cause marketing campaign can be a very successful marketing tactic for companies to reach and connect with consumers – but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways in which companies and nonprofits can work together.  Bruce Burtch describes how building strong, lasting, strategic cross-sector partnerships can create disproportionately large benefits for the company, the cause, the community, and really the whole world. (Want to hear it from Bruce directly? Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, October 22nd!)

CSR Food for Thought: Wimpy or Warren Buffet?

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.

Accounting for the future – will you be Wimpy or Warren Buffet?

These days, much is being written about the need for investors to take a longer view – instead of picking up and dropping financial investments quickly, think about the longer term benefits that could be created. In her recent post, BCCCC Executive Director Katherine V. Smith urges corporate citizenship leaders to take note, and think about the psychology and economics necessary to convince investors that CSR plans are a good investment – for the long term.

5 Ways Volunteering with Your Coworkers Will Make You Happier (and Help Your Career)

In this Fast Co.Exist article, Pamela Hawley of UniversalGiving takes 5 key reasons businesses benefit from employee volunteering, and demonstrates a similar benefit for the individual employee directly. With arguments like these, there’s no reason for anyone – employer or employee – to say no to employee volunteering.

Intel Uses Volunteers to Achieve Its Vision: Extend Computing Technology to Every Person on Earth

Intel’s innovative global pro bono employee volunteer program has a unique, business-driven model that allows the company to harness the generosity, passion and skills of its employees to pursue its corporate vision. And it has more than doubled the reach of its CSR program in five years. Read the fascinating profile by Intel’s Luke Filose on New Global Citizen for more details.

5 Steps to Selecting a Cause Marketing Partner

As active participants in the CSR community, you probably know that cause marketing can no longer be viewed as a peripheral “extra” strategy. And choosing the right partner for your cause marketing initiative is a key element for success. Expert Bruce Burtsch provides five steps to make sure you choose the perfect cause marketing partner to create the benefits you want.

Inspiration Lives Here

Read inspiring stories of companies making a difference through employee and consumer engagement.

Who will you inspire with your company’s story?

Actually, inspiration is shared here. What really inspires us is the difference companies like yours can make through your employee and consumer engagement activities. Not only does your work have a direct impact in your communities, your employees feel richer and more fulfilled by the opportunity to give back through their workplace. What a deal!

When we hear about companies who are doing great things in volunteering, we tell their stories.


Want to be inspired? Read through the stories below, learn from what others in your field are doing, and share with your employees:

Does your company make a difference through your employee volunteer activities? Contact us and tell us about it!