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.
This past summer, I had the privilege of attending the Center for Nonprofit Management’s 2017 501(c)onference entitled “CommUNITY Out of Chaos.” The gathering brought together nonprofit professionals from all across the spectrum looking for new ideas and strategies for change within the current sociopolitical climate.
Since the conference, the news cycles have shown no signs of slowing down--and we have to work harder and smarter than ever to strengthen our communities and uphold our shared values.
With that said, here are some bits of wisdom that I found most impactful:
The middle ground we all share is better than any divisions we have as a society. We are more connected than we realize. (Dowell Myers, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy)
In order to harness the power of your community, you need to identify and get to know your champions. People act when they are given agency and control. (Naomi Leight-Give’on, CausePick)
“Standing up for our constitutionally guaranteed rights is not taking a political position.” (Ann Buroughs, Japanese American National Museum)
How an organization sets itself up provides that organization with access to different pockets of funding. Nonprofits need to rethink their funding models, look “beyond the grant,” and become investment ready if they want to survive and succeed in future markets. (David Greco, Social Sector Partners)
Mindfulness is synonymous with heartfulness. Heartfulness builds community. (Elliot Law, Mindful USC, Insight LA & Robert Lurye, Insight LA)
Real change happens when we develop unlikely alliances. We have to diversify our alliances and develop a ‘coalition of the willing.’ (Unlikely Allies in Times of Change Session)
We need leadership that is “courageous, open-minded, and built on trust” in the current political context. (Apolonio Morales, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, CHIRLA)
“If you want to do equity, get ready to be uncomfortable.” (Manuel Pastor, USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences)
How do you remain positive in the face of adversity? FLIP IT!Focus on the here, now. What can you feel good about?
Label life differently: Is is happening to you or for you?
Ideas: Imagine what could be
Plan and prioritize. Practice, be patient and persevere.
IT is just “it”. Learn to distinguish facts from beliefs.
(Sebastien Gendry, The Laughter Consultants)
- Everyone can’t do everything, but everyone can do something. (Shane Murphy Goldsmith, Liberty Hill Foundation | LA Police Commission)
As a Board Member of YNPN LA, I hope that you will join our community as we work together to strengthen the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles and support nonprofit professionals by providing networking and professional development opportunities.
Noa is a human rights and social justice advocate, passionate about international affairs, women's rights, and education. In her current position as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Temple Israel of Hollywood, she helps facilitate social action initiatives and works to organize and strengthen the community both on and offline. She received her BA in Anthropology from the USC and her MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Noa has served in the nonprofit sector locally and globally for nearly a decade and is always looking for effective and creative ways to create positive social impact.
Help your fellow nonprofiteers to come together, build relationships, and grow our community. "Nonprofit Neighborhood Hangouts" are casual get-togethers hosted by volunteers at times and locations that are convenient for them. Then, we promote these opportunities as if they were normal events!
Our Downtown LA Nonprofit Networking Lunch is an example of this. We're especially interested in folks stepping up in Long Beach, the South Bay, Westside, Downtown, San Fernando Valley, South LA, East LA, and the San Gabriel Valley.
This is also a great chance to learn some basic event planning and build your own brand. We provided all the training and support for you to lift your Hangout off the ground.
Interested in learning more? Let us know!
Self-care is a critical practice that we too often push to the back burner.
Join us on Thursday, Nov 16 from 6-8pm for our Self Care Workshop: Caring For Others by Caring For Yourself. This interactive training will focus on supporting those who work in the nonprofit field to care for themselves while caring for others.
Facilitated by Kaleigh Cornelison, MSW.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
6:00-6:30pm - networking
6:30-8:00pm - workshop
Near Downtown LA | rsvp for the address
Member price: FREE - rsvp at www.ynpnla.org/selfcarepd
Nonmember price: $10 - rsvp at www.ynpnla.org/selfcarepdnon
Attendance is limited to 30 people. Register today!
Recently, a good friend who is starting a new job soon asked me for my best piece of advice so she can start off on the right foot. After thinking it over, I went online to see experts recommend...and the advice out there is overwhelming. So I decided to make my own guide!
This list is a compilation of great resources I found online, my own knowledge as a social worker, and my experiences as a nonprofit professional. Feel free to add your input in the comments!Read more
This interactive training will introduce you to philosophies and frameworks key to strong organizing work, demystifying what "organizing" actually is and revealing it simultaneously as a set of knowledge/skills and a way of life.
When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | 6:00-8:00pm
Members: FREE! - register at www.ynpnla.org/organizingPD