Aug 22nd, 2022
What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Build a robust CSR program for your employees.
As more and more companies are committing to what is known as a “triple bottom line”, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism are becoming increasingly important to employees, consumers, investors and job-seekers. The triple bottom line is the lens through which a business views its impact on the world beyond the value it brings to its investors. It requires measuring not only a company’s financial profit, but also the contributions it makes to the environment and society as a whole.
Catchafire’s corporate programs offer a means for companies to foster a socially responsible, purpose-driven culture by connecting employees to mission-driven nonprofits and their communities.
Corporate Social Responsibility: An Overview
Corporate social responsibility is how private companies take responsibility for the impact they have on society, actively engage their employees in living out company values, integrate sustainability and social responsibility into their decision-making, and give back to the world. It is a business management practice by which they can align their business models and philanthropic efforts with their company values. By embedding corporate social responsibility into their decision-making and daily operations, companies can increase their accountability to company and consumer priorities, promote sustainability and eco-efficiency, enhance their competitiveness on the job market, and make meaningful contributions to society.
Having a robust corporate social responsibility program is the standard that consumers and job-seekers, especially those of younger generations, have come to expect in exchange for their dollars and talent. As a result, the triple bottom line has been adopted by companies of all sizes in order to maintain competitiveness: from your local mom and pop to the most powerful multinationals.
The Case for CSR
As more companies begin to adopt a triple bottom line, consumers and employees are beginning to expect more from the companies they support. Having a robust corporate social responsibility program has become the standard, especially for younger generations who grew up in a culture where having some basic level of corporate social responsibility is the norm for most companies.
Studies have shown that younger generations across the globe are willing to prioritize company sustainability, accountability, and social responsibility in their decision-making over factors like cost or salary. With the global rise of millennials and Gen Z in the workplace and consumer market, attracting talent and customers has necessitated a shift in international business priorities: one that has bumped eco-efficiency, volunteerism, philanthropic giving, and social accountability to the top.
84% of millennials say they give back to charitable organizations either by volunteering their time or making in-kind donations, and they want to see that commitment to their communities mirrored by the companies they form relationships with.
Good for Employee Retention
As employers begin to realize that the Great Resignation may last for some time, employee retention has become increasingly vital. According to the Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z & Millennial Survey, 40% of Gen Zs and 24% of millennials would like to leave their jobs within two years, and the vast majority of them say they would do so even without another job lined up.
Corporate social responsibility programs that actively engage employees through workplace giving and volunteerism help create a stronger emotional attachment between an employee and their workplace, resulting in a more positive commitment to their employer. The survey found that,
“Those who are satisfied with their employers’ societal and environmental impact, and their efforts to create a diverse and inclusive culture, are more likely to want to stay with their employer for more than five years.”
From laborers to entrepreneurs, an increasing percentage of the workforce wants to feel like their role means something to the world, like their skills are useful. Hence the rise of skills-based volunteering. Skills-based volunteer programs create a three-way relationship benefiting the employee, the employer, and the beneficiary nonprofit.
In comparison to one-off volunteer events, skills-based volunteering allows employees to develop deeper connections with the nonprofits they work with and more actively participate in their company’s partnership with those organizations, thereby also creating a deeper bond between the employee and their employer. At the same time, skills-based volunteering helps employee volunteers develop valuable skills which benefit the company they work for.
Engage Remote Employees
Globally, 62% of workers aged 22-65 work remotely at least some of the time. This shift towards remote work has posed a challenge to companies in fostering engagement, camaraderie, and affinity amongst employees. Without those connections, companies must give remote employees other reasons to stay. One means to do that is by acknowledging and acting on their responsibilities to society and the environment, and engaging employees in those efforts. Catchafire offers virtual volunteer opportunities, allowing individuals to make an impact from home; in this way, employees can engage with their company and give back to the community at the same time.
77% of professionals say they have experienced burnout at their current job. Zoom fatigue and lack of interpersonal connection mean that remote work can exacerbate the likelihood of reaching burnout. Asking nearly burned out employees to volunteer may seem counterintuitive, but volunteering is shown to decrease stress levels, energizing employees and giving them a sense of fulfillment. Volunteerism and community service have a multitude of benefits on a personal and professional level.
Corporate social responsibility and volunteerism have been shown to have a positive relationship with labor productivity and employee satisfaction and increase motivation for employees working remotely. Catchafire’s volunteer programs provide an avenue for employers to engage remote workers in their CSR efforts, foster connections between their work and their communities, and give back.
We have all been asked to weather more than we expected to over the past few years, and with everything that is going on in the world, skills-based volunteering is a means for employees to transition from feeling helpless to helpful. Through Catchafire, companies can harness that desire to connect with organizations and meaningful causes in order to create connections between their employees and deepen their commitment to their company values.
Attract More Talent
Approximately 10,000 baby boomers retire each day, which means that companies are being asked to respond to the priorities of younger generations in order to attract talent. 85% of millennials say they want to work for a company that cares about its contributions to society, and 79% say “making a difference” is more important than recognition, hence why corporate social responsibility jobs themselves have become competitive. Younger generations have made it clear that they care more about working for environmentally friendly, socially responsible companies than prestige.
Socially responsible initiatives increase a company’s attractiveness to job seekers. In fact, almost 40% of Gen Zs and millennials say they have turned down a job because it did not align with their values. These job-seekers don’t just want to see surface-level CSR initiatives aimed at boosting a company’s public relations, they ultimately want meaningful opportunities to contribute to and connect with the world. Organizations that are able to deliver are more likely to attract and retain the best employees for the long-term.
Improve Customer Perception of Your Brand
Millennials and Gen Z now make up 64% of the world’s population. As Baby Boomers retire, these younger generations are entering their prime spending years. As customers, “Millennials and Gen Z engage with brands differently than older generations like Gen X and Baby Boomers”.
Now, 72% of consumers expect companies to make positive contributions to the world. Many are willing to prioritize sustainability over cost. 64% of Gen Zs would pay more to purchase an environmentally sustainable product, versus 36% who would choose a cheaper product that is not as environmentally friendly.
As a result, corporate communications and public relations efforts are shifting, and companies need to be able to demonstrate positive impact.
Corporate social responsibility initiatives not only need to be impactful, but measureably so. At Catchafire, our platform automatically tracks the quantitative and qualitative impact of your CSR program both individually and collectively, through metrics such as volunteer hours donated and dollars saved by the nonprofit, testimonials, surveys, and more.
How to build a Robust CSR Program
The most effective CSR programs are multi-pronged: incorporating philanthropy, volunteerism, and sustainability. There are both financial and non-financial means through which a company can boost their triple bottom line and make a positive impact on the world. While corporate giving is important, it does not engage employees and nurture loyalty in the way that corporate volunteerism does.
However, corporate volunteerism is no longer as simple as hosting an annual “day of volunteering”. Globalization has meant that employees are now spread out across continents, necessitating flexibility and remote options. Employees want the option to stay involved with organizations long-term and to be able to see the impact that results from their efforts. Programs that incorporate and respond to the changing needs and motivations of their employees are those that will succeed in sustainability, in making a difference, and in retaining talent.
Give Employees Choice & Flexibility
A volunteer, by definition, is someone who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. In order to encourage a wide range of folks to volunteer, they need to have options.
Catchafire’s platform allows employee volunteers to filter through hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities to find a project that suits their skills, schedule, and interests. Employees can volunteer for one hour consultation calls or full-length projects, contributing their skills in tech, finance, marketing, HR, strategic planning, and more.Through the platform, employees can volunteer from anywhere in the world, and proactively manage their own involvement in giving and volunteerism, offering them ways to identify, choose, and track their own social good journeys through a branded volunteer portal.
Prioritize Impact (make it meaningful!)
A study by Rutgers University showed that the positive impact that volunteers make on nonprofit organizations is greater when employee volunteers are able to have a sustainable impact on nonprofit activities long after they have completed their volunteer project, through knowledge transfer and project outcomes that can be immediately utilized by the nonprofit. In addition, nonprofits see greater sustainability in programs where volunteers utilize their professional skills, possibly due to the volunteers transferring knowledge and skills to the nonprofit employees.
Catchafire’s volunteer projects are focused on building up the capacity of nonprofit organizations to better carry out their missions. The impact that volunteers make by working with nonprofits on these capacity-building projects goes far beyond the project itself, by equipping nonprofits with the tools and knowledge they need to operate more effectively and efficiently moving forward. Skills-based volunteering provides nonprofits with sustainability, allowing them to keep their programs and operations running so that they can focus on their mission and community.
By working with organizations on Catchafire, employees are given opportunities to see the immediate value of the skills they have developed throughout their careers in a meaningful way. Each time a volunteer completes a project, Catchafire generates an ‘impact story’ page, that they can easily use to showcase their work and share with their network. It allows them to volunteer by doing what they’re good at, boosting their confidence and providing that extra boost of motivation to keep growing as a professional.
For an example of what a successful CSR collaboration looks like, read more about our partnership with Bristol Meyers Squibb and how we are working to advance health equity through corporate volunteerism.
"Our partnership with Catchafire is an incredible opportunity to break down the silos that exist between the private and nonprofit sector."
Erin J., Director
Corporate Giving, Bristol Myers Squibb
Track Impact & Outcomes
75% of American millennials say that they would volunteer more if they better understood the value of their volunteering to nonprofit organizations. What is the tangible, direct impact their work has on the nonprofit, and how does it contribute to sustainability?
Catchafire’s platform tracks volunteer impact both individually and collectively. Our corporate programs uplift and amplify individual stories and stories of collective impact. Individual, team, and overall company involvement in CSR can be tracked so the data is on hand to report outcomes back to the team and to the world.
Upgrade Your CSR Program with Catchafire
With great influence comes great responsibility. Corporate social responsibility is a means for companies to acknowledge and act on that responsibility and to make a meaningful contribution to the world.
Through Catchafire, employees can become deeply involved with and connected to those efforts, while still tailoring their experience to their own needs and priorities. Companies are searching for ways to allow employees more flexibility while still fostering a robust company culture and cultivating connection amongst coworkers. For many, Catchafire’s flexible, virtual platform, which connects volunteers to meaningful opportunities, is the answer.
To learn more about partnering with Catchafire to bring skills-based volunteering opportunities to your employees, contact our Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, Nikita Scott ([email protected]).
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