Incorporating social impact strategies into an organization’s mission has historically been highly desired by its customers, employees and other key stakeholders. Now more than ever, we’re seeing these efforts as a deciding factor when associating ourselves with a particular organization. As consumers, we’re commonly more drawn to the brands that are transparent about the good they’re doing and prefer them over those remaining quiet in showcasing their impact. As employees, we desire to work for a company that’s doing great things to improve the communities we live in and work. However, you decide to structure and focus your programs, there should be consistency across all social impact teams to leverage the value your employees can bring.
Before you get started planning your next volunteering event or giving campaign, take a look at the level of engagement in your current efforts. Are most of your employees contributing? Have levels of engagement dropped or improved over time?
To help you find areas of improvement, I pulled out my four biggest takeaways from the Blackbaud Institutes’ (BBI) Human Social Responsibility Report. This statistic-driven report calls attention to the growth of CSR programs from an employee’s perspective. We’ll explore the factors affecting the support of current CSR programs, where programs currently stand today, and lastly, the key components to incorporate into your planning process that’ll help existing programs flourish. To compile this report, we used industry figures from the 7th edition of YourCause + Blackbaud’s Industry Review that breaks down data from companies using CSRConnect for more than two years. And for the icing on the cake, we surveyed 109 CSR professionals and incorporated their best practices and tips in the BBI report.
The Typical Corporate Responsibility Team
Sike… There’s no such thing. So let’s begin by looking at the structure of CSR teams across organizations. While it’s common for companies to dedicate entire teams to Corporate Responsibility, we also find that many put these responsibilities in the hands of someone wearing multiple hats. Additionally, companies with dedicated CSR professionals report to a variety of people depending on the organization. Insights reveal this person can report to philanthropy, communication, marketing, or HR leads, or even directly to the CEO. Budget allocation for CSR programs also varies, with nearly 46% of companies having a program budget of over $1 million, and 28% having a budget of >$250K. So no excuses now… These vastly different resources show no budget is too small for you to lead a successful program!
Who are Your Potential Barriers?
While you may think the process quiets down upon implementation, this is actually when the wheels really start turning. Programs need continuous support in order to reach their full potential and maximum impact. Data shows that having support from executives, direct managers, and their peers are all vital factors for program success. Truly, the data emphasizes that those three factors are the greatest current or potential barriers to program success. It’s proven that having all your people’s hearts ‘all-in’ to the organization will be the greatest influence for your employees and bringing them in on your efforts will create a ripple effect across the company.
Movement towards the Employees’ Needs
Next, let’s deep dive into the programs and the top objectives that CSR teams aim for. It isn’t much of a surprise corporate giving is the first priority, but you’re certainly in for a treat with the next three. More than half of respondents placed heavy importance on increasing employee volunteering participation, managing programs aimed towards increasing diversity and inclusion, and improving employee giving participation. See any connection there? These efforts are all employee-focused and haven’t always been a top priority for companies… until now!
Another insight found from the BBI Human Social Responsibility Report was that 57% of companies said improved recruiting efforts were their top business goal for CSR strategy, showing that employee-focused CSR objectives are top of mind with corporations as well.
Impact Reporting Supports Everything You Do
According to the data, a surprisingly high amount of companies are overlooking the benefit of analyzing and tracking their impact on communities. Nearly half of the BBI respondents stated they don’t measure volunteering efforts (43%) or grantmaking (41%). In the data and analytics-driven world we now live in, numbers mean everything. And while measuring and recording data may seem like a daunting task, the business case for impact reporting benefits current and long-term program success. Whether it’s used to seek additional budgeting for the next fiscal year or just showing the historical success of your campaigns, measuring impact provides you with key insights to certify your programs. Continue reading how impact reporting can empower your program’s success in The Importance of Outcome and learn how utilizing the data your program is already creating can bring your engagement to the next level.
When mapping out the future of your programs, keep your people top of your mind. The good news is there’s no need to wait on planning. Your employees are ready to be part of the impact! Let the BBI Human Social Responsibility report serve as your guide, from the beginning stages of getting started to long-term management. Whether this is your first rodeo or you’ve been running programs for years, going through the full report will provide you valuable takeaways that will bring your programs to the next level.