Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.


The best of solutions journalism in the sustainability space, published monthly.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

Social Impact in a Network World

By 3p Contributor

By Nasi Jazayeri & Brian Komar, Salesforce.org

Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google all have three things in common - they are simple to use, effective and fun. They have revolutionized the way that we interact with each other, shop, watch TV and gather information.

There is something even more universal about our experience engaging with these networks  - they have shifted our perspective from the institution to the individual. We are not governed by the same social systems there and we are certainly more empowered to voice, act, buy, and opine than ever before. Our influence counts. It is a powerful driver of our vision of what we want the world to look like.

And, we believe that an individual’s social purpose experience should be no different. Whether at work or at home, citizen philanthropists are yearning to connect to each other and the causes they care the most about in a fun and effective way. In fact, today’s workforce is not asking for your values, they want to be a part of driving them - 81 percent of employees consider corporate social responsibility when deciding where to work, according to the Cone Communications Echo Global CSR study. Additionally, in 2016 individual donors drove the rise in philanthropic giving. The single largest contributor to the growth in total giving was an increase of $10.53 billion in giving by individuals. The easier and more transparent you can make that giving, the happier your workplace will be.

At Salesforce.org, we believe that the business of business is to improve the state of of the world. This applies to our corporate responsibility to the communities we live and work in and beyond, to our personal social responsibility (PSR). With the PSR model, employees drive their own social good footprint and the employer follows their lead. 

Corporate giving is being democratized like many other aspects of our lives. The time of the CEO as chief fundraiser and nonprofits as opaque do-gooders is long over. This is era of community-generated impact.  In this next generation, a new integrated model of corporate philanthropy is emerging where employees are empowered to help drive social impact and determine where their time and money should be spent.

This is employee-driven corporate philanthropy at its finest. Donation matching programs allow employees to support causes they personally care about while companies match their gifts. Companies often offer pro-bono services encouraging employees to volunteer for their community organizations and schools on paid time.

This shift is not surprising to those of us paying attention to workforce trends. In fact, according to a recent Deloitte study, 6 out of 10 Millennials say they are looking for “a sense of purpose” when looking for new opportunities. This desire to play a more active role, to be engaged in the world around them, is not just among younger employees; more and more people are looking for opportunities to become citizen philanthropists.

As purpose-driven companies, it is our responsibility to make this shift simple, effective and fun for our employees. So how can we innovate to embrace the PSR revolution? There are three simple ways to drive this innovation through levels of stakeholders within your company.

  1. Innovate from within: Employees can change organizations from within. Reaching your CSR giving goals by democracy, lets employees lead values and culture. Ask for participation from internal stakeholders to create a true army of philanthropists that walk your halls every day and are ambassadors of your social good messages.

  2. Innovate how you give: Integrate technology in how you give. Provide access to networks and platforms that bring diverse stakeholders together to help solve the world’s toughest challenges at scale and where accessibility, simplicity and effectiveness are key features.

  3. Innovate through impact:  Create a system of open transparency around the impact of your corporate giving - what you have achieved, what you hope to achieve collectively and what is your workforce’s participation in that impact. It should be easy to find information about how, where and what your company has done to improve the state of the world and what more you want to do.

The benefits to your bottom line are fairly indisputable here.  Relationships especially with your key internal stakeholders drive business - loyalty, productivity and innovation are all fostered within your workplace culture. Employee-centric giving back can in turn unleash massive returns in deeper relationships with customers, partners and your communities around the world.  In fact, Cone Communications states that 84% of consumers globally say they seek out responsible products whenever possible.

Effective social responsibility will increasingly be part of a company’s broader corporate citizenship efforts. Your employees, customers and global community will all come to expect this. If the business of business is to truly improve the state of the world, then shifting to PSR is pivotal to how you get there.

Nasi Jazayeri is EVP/GM of Philanthropy Cloud, Brian Komar is Vice President of Community Engagement at Salesforce.org.

Image credit: Pexels and michieru/Flickr

TriplePundit has published articles from over 1000 contributors. If you'd like to be a guest author, please get in touch!

Read more stories by 3p Contributor