There’s been a sea change in the way companies choose to do business over the past few years. More than ever, we’re seeing companies make bold moves in their approaches to corporate social responsibility (CSR), including how they impact communities, engage employees and ultimately improve their bottom line. Instead of (or in addition to) simply writing a check each quarter to a nonprofit partner, companies such as Starbucks and Microsoft are aligning their CSR initiatives with issues that complement their mission and empower the communities influenced by their products.
My colleagues and I at Business4Better believe there’s a wealth of information available showcasing large corporations’ CSR work along with their best practices for approaching social good within the framework of their commercial activities. However, we’ve also noticed there’s an extreme lack of information for similar data around mid-sized companies.
Business4Better is a movement designed to teach any employee how CSR and business-nonprofit partnerships can lead to improved business performance. To better drive this movement forward and address the lack of available information and data, we launched a research project to learn more about mid-sized companies’ CSR initiatives. The Business4Better first-of-its-kind survey of 173 executives at companies with 100 to 5,000 employees revealed trends, challenges and opportunities facing mid-sized companies engaged in social innovation within their businesses. The full survey results are available online, but two findings in particular stand out.
Only one-third of companies surveyed noted their CSR program is mature and integrated into their business model. The remaining two-thirds do not have a CSR program, are just beginning to develop it or are seeking to improve an established program. This demonstrates that – like large corporations – mid-sized companies want to improve their business models to have a more positive impact on the communities where they operate and where their employees live. Identifying, meeting and developing partnerships with like-minded nonprofits in communities are great steps forward.
Companies are invested in their community’s young people and the development of the workforce of the future.
About 60 percent of mid-sized companies use their CSR efforts to support education, revealing companies’ dedication to local, people-focused CSR efforts. Other popular issue areas include youth services and the environment. While many companies choose to support these issue areas in their surrounding communities, opportunities are endless. If it’s health, veteran services or animal protection initiatives that complement your company’s work, there’s a business-nonprofit partnership that’s right for your company.
If you’re currently working at a mid-sized company, I encourage you to take a careful look at the full survey results to see how your company compares and ask your company to explore the benefits of establishing partnerships with nonprofits. To learn more about the Business4Better movement or participate in the Business4Better conference – May 1-2, 2013 in Anaheim, Calif. – visit www.Business4Better.org.
Joshua Dome is the director of Business4Better, a non-profit, non-commercial endeavor that is part of UBM plc’s global CSR activities. A 14-year veteran of the events business in the b-to-b (business-to-business) space, Joshua has spent the last two years leading the development of the Business4Better movement and conference. He is also a Portfolio Director for UBM Canon, a business unit of UBM plc, leading a portfolio consisting of about 50 expositions, conferences and events. He and his 200+ colleagues from across UBM plc’s business units have volunteered thousands of professional services hours in support of B4B and the positive impact it can have on the communities where they operate and live.