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!)

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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.

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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! 

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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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