By Cassandra Bennett, YourCause Marketing Communication Manager
If you are a corporate social responsibility (CSR) professional you already know that the support CSR programs receive across all companies is NOT equal. Some CSR programs are a vital thread in the cultural fabric of the company while other programs are starving for the attention and validation of the social impact they are helping make. Regardless of the position one fact remains universally the same, at the beginning of the year CSR programs should communicate four things: the mission, program performance, social impact, and the new years goals.
Now I know this seems like a lot to pull together but the good news is that all the information I am asking you to share is already at your fingertips. Below I outline the quick points that should be revisited at the beginning of the New Year to ensure you have the momentum for a successful 2016.
THE MISSION: This should be the easiest of all the areas to communicate, if for no other reason than you have already communicated the mission in the past. Clearly state your company’s overall mission of having a CSR program. The mission should highlight your value system, the benefit to the company and its employees, and, if applicable, the causes that are specifically important to the company. This will remind tenured employees why there is a CSR program and introduce new employees to the positioning of CSR at your company. If you need a good example of a CSR mission statement I have included a great example from Aramark for you to reference:
At ARAMARK, we create positive experiences and environments that enable people and organizations to thrive. Every day our 250,000 employees worldwide enrich lives through business and community activities.
We focus our energy on initiatives that support our diverse workforce, enhance and protect our environment, strengthen our communities, and advance consumer health and wellness. We seek to lead by example and continuously improve in those areas of our business that are under our direct control. We work with clients and suppliers to develop innovative product and service options that operationalize their corporate social responsibility objectives.
PROGRAM PERFORMANCE: As an employee engaged in a CSR program you can easily see the total contribution that you made through your individual giving and volunteering efforts, however you may not have a clear picture as to the companies total contributions. Why not? Your CSR program has facilitated millions of donations that equate to large sums of money being donated and matched to multiple charities. Not to mention all the volunteer opportunities that were offered to your employees and those employees created and helped promote. Pull together a couple slides that show the united efforts of all your employees’ donations and volunteer hours. A couple areas worth highlighting are:
- Total dollars donated in 2015 If the donation totals increased from the funds donated in 2014, tell people the % growth.
- Total hours volunteered in 2015. Again, if those hours volunteered have increased from the previous year let folks know. Also highlight some the stand out events of the year. Be sure to highlight the company-organized events along with the most successful employee organized events. This will provide you an opportunity to recognize employees really engaged in your CSR program making it a bit more personal for them.
- Total dollars matched in 2015. Remind people of the generosity of the company and how you want to continue to impact and support your employees social good.
SOCIAL IMPACT: This may be the hardest to communicate for no other reason than most nonprofit organizations do not provide a clear picture of $1 = X result or 1 hour = X result. I admit this will take a little digging, but if you illustrate the impact your company is making on just two or three nonprofit organizations your employees will feel more connected to the program and value it more than they previously did. First pull from your CSR platform the donation totals and sort them from highest to lowest in the dollars donated for the calendar year. Next simply go down the list and visit each charity’s website to find their impact equation. Usually this information can be found in the FAQ, Donation or Impact section. Below are a couple charities that successfully showcase their impact equation.
- Doctors Without Borders – Every contribution allows Doctors Without Borders aid workers to save lives around the world. Their site showcases what different dollars structures equate to through their organization. (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/support-us/donation-faq/what-your-support-provides)
- Smile Train – The cost of Smile Train’s surgeries are vast. Their impact equation gives multiple options to show where the funds can be directly attributed. (https://secure.smiletrain.org/site/SPageNavigator/donate_now.html)
- Feed My Starving Children – With each meal costing just 22 cents, Feed My Starving Children provides multiple options to showcase impact. Check out their impact equation. (https://fmsc.org/donate/once)
- Feeding America – For every $1 donated, the Feeding America network of food banks provides 11 meals to people facing hunger. Check out their impact equation. (http://www.feedingamerica.org/ways-to-give/)
NEW YEAR, NEW GOALS: Now that you have your employees excited with your presentation of the mission, past performance and social impact, you are ready to talk about the future. In this section clearly outline numerical goals for the corporate social responsibility department. This sets the stage to show that you are constantly trying to better your programs and engagement with the employee population. These goals can be communicated high-level. Think about communicating:
- Overall employee participation goals. This can be measured multiple ways – giving engagement, volunteer engagement or overall engagement within the CSR platform.
- Donation goals. If your company strives to give more than in previous years this would be a great place to state what you would like to see the in terms of funds being donated. This would also be a great place to announce new or review existing matching program guidelines.
- Volunteer hour goals. If your company has a heavy focus on volunteering then this is the time to announce the types of volunteer events that will be coming in 2016. You can also encourage individual employees to organize and host their own volunteer events.
Now is the time that we can set the stage for a successful year. You have access to information that is very impressive and creates an emotional tie, and you are a pivotal part of developing a great internal culture. Use it all to position your CSR program up for success in 2016.
About Author: Cassandra Bennett
Cassandra is our Marketing Communications Manager. She brings over 13 years of marketing communication strategies and behavioral communication tactics to YourCause. She thrives when combining the art of marketing with the science of behavioral data to develop communication plans that tell the right story to the right reader at the right time. After many years of using her marketing skills at for-profit organizations, Cassandra began searching for a way to utilize her skills in the non-profit community. With a deep desire to support nonprofit organizations and corporate giving programs, Cassandra enthusiastically joined the YourCause team. When she is not strategizing on communication plans she can be found spending time with her husband and two young daughters. Weekends are filled with family hikes, little league sports and running in 1k charity events with her daughters.
YourCause, LLC (“YourCause”) is a Software as a Service (“SaaS”) provider of the CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform (“CSRconnect”) that provides a fully hosted and managed solution for community involvement programs. CSRconnect is a robust and highly configurable platform that caters to each client’s programs with giving, volunteering, and feature-rich engagement tools.
To learn more about CSRconnect and YourCause visit: CSRconnect.me