Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a growing trend for businesses and it’s also a great way for nonprofits to diversify their income and reach new donors.
Socially responsible companies are using their available resources for making an impact on the communities (both local and global).
Many nonprofits aren’t reaping the rewards of CSR partnerships, often because they’re not sure how to go about it.
Even if you’re a smaller organization, there’s still plenty of potential for bringing socially responsible partners on board and using their funds, resources, and support to further your cause.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a way (often a business model) for companies to do good in society and champion organizations that support their values. This can include matching gift programs, donations as funds or goods, and volunteer grant programs.
Alongside the philanthropic elements, having a Corporate Social Responsibility program can help brands to stand out from their competitors. Some of the benefits include an improved brand image, increased media coverage, better customer loyalty, and more opportunities for investment. Besides, these programs are also made a part of their employee well-being programs. A lot of people love to get involved in philanthropy and companies help them by offering volunteer leaves, hours, and days as well as matching donations to improve their overall work experience.
Businesses want to gain customer trust and ensure they’re involved in fair and ethical business practices. Moreover, working with the right nonprofit(s) also helps brands reach a wider audience and support the organization to further their cause.
It’s often true that customers will feel more connected to brands that engage in CSR activities. Many will actively look for companies that are making a meaningful contribution to the community. Similarly, in a recent survey by Deloitte, millennial workers were asked what the primary purpose of businesses should be – 63 percent more of them said ‘improving society’ than ‘generating profit’.
For nonprofits, CSR is an opportunity to build stronger relationships with businesses that have similar values and engage their customers as supporters. This can be invaluable for boosting your revenue and accessing resources that you wouldn’t normally be able to take advantage of.
Since so many businesses are now actively engaging in CSR programs, there’s plenty of scope for choosing partners that align with your organization’s values and can help you reach your goals. If you’re a nonprofit working for the environment or climate change, there are companies that are willing to associate with causes helping reduce carbon footprint. The bottom line is that it’s a win-win for both parties, hence you should keep an eye out for these opportunities.
Many well-known brands have embraced CSR and have partnered with various nonprofits to drive change. Many socially responsible companies are making a direct impact on society with their CSR programs.
Here is a list of socially responsible companies that are strongly committed to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):
Adidas is involved in the war against plastic and is working with Parley to turn plastic waste into high-performance sportswear. Since 2018, they’ve also organized the Run For The Oceans events to raise funds.
Starbucks supports Ethos Water in a campaign that aims to bring clean water to 1 billion people around the world. The Ethos Water Fund is part of the Starbucks Foundation and a percentage of the sales of bottles of Ethos Water goes towards the campaign.
The Starbucks Foundation has been investing in local communities for over 20 years — both in the US and around the world. This includes a strong focus on organizations that help people overcome barriers and engage in job and training opportunities.
The Marc Jacobs brand focuses on supporting organizations in locations where they have stores. They have also collaborated with The Sato Project, a nonprofit that rescues abandoned and abused dogs from Puerto Rico. To date, over 3,500 puppies have been rescued and rehomed in the US.
IndiGoReach has partnered with various organizations, including Tamana, Grow Trees, KK Academy, and the World Monument Fund. Their social responsibility aims to focus on children/education, female empowerment, environment, and heritage. To date, their partnerships have helped to empower over 64,000 women, educate more than 47,000 children, and plant over 40,000 trees. Learn more about it here.
For IKEA, social responsibility starts with the materials used in their products — including sustainable cotton, wool, and wood. They also plan to use only recycled or renewable plastic by 2030.
Through the IKEA Foundation, they support more families to escape poverty by creating a sustainable income. They fund programs around climate change, renewable energy, agricultural livelihoods, employment and entrepreneurship, and emergency responses. To deliver these programs, they work with NGOs and other partners.
Bosch is committed to investing in projects that help tackle problems faced by communities around the world. They partner with various organizations, including the New Sunshine Charity Foundation to assist in doing this.
They also champion programs that promote social change. Their “Yallah!” initiative supports young Muslims who are trying to drive change in their communities, for example. Their future CSR goals will focus on climate, energy, water, urbanization, globalization, and health.
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is world-famous. But do you know they donate $0.05 from sales of their 1L tub to charity programs? Community-based development projects are a significant part of this. They’ve supported a lot of social causes that are closely related to their business of making and selling ice cream. Their work for justice comprises that for refugees, the LGBTQ community, climate action, and more.
They also donate some of their pre-tax profits to corporate philanthropic initiatives. This is done through the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation and Community Action Teams (CATs) at site locations.
The Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program supports grassroots nonprofits in the US, especially ones that work around social justice, environmental justice, and sustainable food systems.
Apple has been involved in the Malala fund as a Laureate partner since 2018 to help educate and empower girls.
Coca-Cola donates at least 1% of its annual operating income to supporting causes and initiatives. Since 2014, they have helped provide clean drinking water for refugees in the Middle East through Arwa’s “Price of Water” campaign. Learn more about this here.
Alaska Airlines donates in-kind travel to nonprofits who are traveling for fundraising purposes. They also provide sponsorship for fundraising events, particularly in areas served by the airlines. This is usually a one-time arrangement, rather than a long-term partnership.
Their CSR focus is on investing in strong communities and support organizations that work with disadvantaged young people to help them achieve career goals, organizations working with underrepresented demographics, and environmental organizations.
BMW works with organizations to meet their CSR goals of promoting diversity, inspiring the next generation of engineers, social mobility and inclusion, and teaching road safety.
DELL wants to use its technology and expertise to drive global change. Their staff dedicated 5 million volunteer hours in 2019 to organizations in their communities. This was predominantly skills-based.
Their technology was used to deliver faster treatments for critically ill children, help educate more children around the world, and revolutionize the Indian government’s preventative healthcare system.
The Walt Disney Company has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofits. Their CSR efforts are focused on helping more children feel happy and inspired.
Microsoft has CSR initiatives around improving skills and employability, and environmental sustainability.
Through Microsoft Philanthropies, they partner with nonprofits, organizations, and schools to improve computer science education and achieve greater impact through technology. They also champion organizations that aim to improve the quality of life for people in Washington.
Microsoft employees also support causes in their local communities since employee giving is a strong part of the company’s workplace culture. Along with donations, they also contribute volunteer efforts and skills to organizations. For financial and time-based contributions, Microsoft matches those made by its employees.
With more businesses investing in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, there are lots of benefits for establishing and maintaining partnerships with like-minded companies.
Here are a few tips for making CSR partnerships work for your nonprofit:
Donorbox Nonprofit Advocate, Jena Lynch, and Chris Barlow, the Founder and Customer Happiness Director of Beeline Marketing & Consulting, discuss the many benefits of corporate partnerships to help you understand its value and give you a plan to find the ideal companies for your nonprofit. Watch it for expert insights!
Establishing CSR relationships can be daunting for your nonprofit, especially if you don’t have any existing corporate partnerships.
Many businesses get involved in CSR for a positive impact on their brand image and reputation. However, you don’t need to be a large or well-known nonprofit to reap the benefits.
With support from CSR partners, your organizations can reach out to new donors who may not otherwise be aware of your work. Even if financial contributions aren’t an option, volunteer and in-kind support from CSR partners can help you to further your cause and make more of your resources.
Have a strategy in place to target CSR partners that will be a great fit for your organization. Establish the approach along similar lines to a large-scale fundraising campaign or major donor campaign. A great storytelling strategy would be a plus to any campaign!
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