Corporate Social Responsibility Companies and Your Nonprofit
Corporate social responsibility is a big business, and it’s something that nonprofit leaders should take full advantage of in their fundraising. For instance, according to Double the Donation, CSR companies have donated $20.77 billion in recent years through their CSR programs. That’s an enormous amount of money and doesn’t include what’s left on the table because many nonprofit haven’t reached out to businesses concerning CSR opportunities. Further, Double the Donation Research published the following:
- 18 million people work for corporations with matching-gift programs.
- 40% of Fortune 500 businesses provide philanthropic opportunities for volunteer grant programs.
- The top 10 corporations in the U.S. give $2 billion to nonprofits, and much of it comes through employee matching-gift programs.
- Between $2 billion and $3 billion is contributed through matching-gift programs each year.
Nonprofits should realize that there are many opportunities to leverage corporate social responsibility companies that care about social good. For example, nonprofits should consider revenue streams coming from matching gifts, gifts-in-kind, corporate grants, employee days of service and volunteer days, reciprocal marketing, partnerships, etc. In other words, there are many opportunities.
However, for nonprofit fundraisers, to attract corporate CSR dollars, they need to put themselves in the shoes of business leaders. In other words, they have to understand the motivation of businesses to do social good. A few of the reasons why corporations are seeking to do more — not less CSR — are as follows:
- Public demand: The global public has demanded that companies be socially responsible. This demand is mainly in response to younger generations who care about the social well-being of the planet and its people. As a result of the push for the collective good, last year, the Business Roundtable announced it was no longer focusing only on shareholder profits as it had been for two
- Creativity: CSR allows companies to be creative and offer value to their employees, as well as the public. For instance, when they create opportunities for their employees to do good and feel good, it’s good for them. As an example, when companies go green and promote it, it makes everyone feel good about the business brand.
- Competitive advantage: CSR companies understand that they have an advantage over their peers in the same industry. When they embark on the CSR journey, it’s a value to employees and the public, as well as nonprofits. Ensuring a company has an effective CSR program that it promotes in its community helps businesses build brand loyalty. People prefer to patronize businesses that are socially responsible, as opposed to those that aren’t.
- CSR brings more business clout. As social good and for-profit businesses align, it brings more influence and power to corporations. That’s just the way it is. Increasingly, we see companies such as Disney, Pfizer, Apple and GE challenging laws and legislation that they do not see in the best interest of their workers and customers and, consequently, their business. For example, a company like Apple is fighting to protect privacy and encryption, which is a brand position and also something they believe is valued by its customers. They believe privacy is a right.
In sum, the core reason why companies care about CSR is that it’s simply good business. Companies understand that when they stand up for the general public and their customers, it will bring them more money. The fact of the matter is that it makes economic sense for a business to have an active CSR program. And it’s good for consumers and the public who get more companies with deep pockets fighting to make a difference for the betterment of society.
Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, a social enterprise that helps nonprofits, schools, churches, civic groups, individuals and others raise funds, while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations and the environment.
You can learn more about Wayne and obtain free resources, including his books on his blog, Not Your Father’s Charity.