Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a term that has jumped into relevance in the last handful of years. It is defined as a company’s sense of responsibility to the community and environment that it operates in. Companies have noticed upticks in new customer growth, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction when CSR activation are in place.
CSR is crucial to a company’s success. With that in mind, it is just as crucial that nonprofits understand the corporate mindset when it comes to philanthropy and what it takes to make partnerships between companies and nonprofits work.
I recently spoke with a marketing professional who works with nonprofit partners as part of her company’s CSR efforts. She spoke from her own experience, and I have chosen to keep her and the company anonymous. Her thoughts help provide a good perspective on what makes a good CSR partner on both sides of the equation.
What is your role in your company’s CSR efforts?
I have been the point person for many of our charity/nonprofit partners. I am responsible for maintaining and leveraging these relationships to develop mutually beneficial and meaningful projects.
What philosophy directs your company’s CSR?
It’s a work in progress. We need to work on crystallizing this across the organization but historically it has been sustainability or "places we play" (e.g. land access and conservation). To make our efforts more effective in future, we need to focus in on one area.
How does CSR connect to your company’s overall marketing strategy?
Traditionally it hasn't really, we have aligned ourselves with certain partners (cause organizations), but we haven't done a good job of leveraging those partners and causes. Ideally, we would be able to connect our CSR projects back to the company’s general philosophy and build our brand.
What is your favorite CSR activation (either as a customer or in your role at your company)?
To be honest, I don't have one. We have not done a good job of successfully executing CSR programs. It is something we are working to change; as our industry becomes more competitive with new developments in technology, quality CSR activations with respected nonprofit partners are essential to maintaining our market share.
What qualities do you look for in a nonprofit partner in a CSR effort?
We look for two things: (1) Collaboration to develop mutually beneficial programming and (2) a way activate our audience for the cause.