Tips & tricks for navigating the Bay Area CSR space in the new year
It’s 2016. Wait, what? When did that happen? If you’re like us, you punted a lot of those end of year meetings and to-do items to the new year, didn’t actually (mentally) come back to work until mid-January, and are now realizing you’re more than halfway through the first month of the calendar year. Don’t panic.
This can be your favorite time of year. A time to set goals, plan, and look ahead to 2016. You have a clean slate, a fresh start. It’s also the right time to start getting your ducks in a row if you’re going to meet (ahem, exceed!) your 2016 goals 12 months from now.
CSR isn’t only for the Fortune 500 companies
CSR isn’t only for the Fortune 500 companies with a big staff and a bigger budget. Every company, regardless of size, can, and should, be a good corporate citizen. More and more companies are focused on creating organizations that are people and planet friendly. This shift may be in response to workforce demand for more socially conscious companies, consumer demandfor more reputable business practices, or simply the increasing breakdown between the traditional for-profit and for-good structure.
But what does “doing good” look like? It’s about using all of your corporate resources to positively affect society. Resources include your time, talent, product, profits or equity.
As we all plan for the New Year, Taproot’s Bay Area Advisory Services team wanted to share four things you can do right now, today, to get your company on the right track toward impactful CSR in 2016:
1. Take stock of your current CSR efforts and know where you sit on the CSR spectrum.
- Regardless of whether you have an existing CSR program or not, or whether you are a start-up or a Fortune 500 corporation, take stock of what your company is already doing for the community: employee volunteering, grant-making, employee matches or product donation for instance
- Know who and what departments are managing each effort
- Learn about the impact your efforts are having on the community and your company
- Know if and how these efforts are tracked and measured. What are the internal systems already in place? For instance, does your company have a tracking mechanism for volunteered hours or grant applications/grants made?
- Talk to colleagues and your community teams about what seems to be working well, and what can be streamlined, better managed, scaled or improved
- Review the SF Gives Playbook, a corporate philanthropy resource developed by Tipping Point Community. It’s a strong resource to understand the landscape.
2. Get and keep the buy-in of your leadership.
- Make efforts to ensure that CSR gets, and stays, on the 2016 leadership agenda. The best way to do this? Make an educated, informed business case for the value of CSR efforts. For instance, the value of pro bono service has recently been valued at $150 per hour, making it one of the biggest “bang for your buck” ways to engage employees. Talking with your VP of HR? Highlight the leadership and development potential of pro bono efforts. Encourage leaders to think about the benefit of these initiatives. CSR has a proven social and business benefit, the better you can communicate this, the more champions and converts you can make internally.
3. Plan the framework for how you will make CSR initiatives happen.
- Identify the exact resources you will have to work with in the coming year. What is the budget and headcount for your effort?
- Identify issue areas that are important to the core of your business and/or leadership. Consider how your social initiatives do (or don’t) align with your business industry, focus or unique skillsets.
- Hone in on what exactly are the core goals of your initiatives. Consider both your business and social objectives. For instance, some companies use pro bono opportunities as a way to build cross-functional teams. Others use it as an opportunity to provide deeper level support to grantees, also known as the “beyond the grant” strategy.
4. Identify local resources to support you in your CSR efforts. Fortunately for you, we’re already done that part for you.
- Full Circle Fund – Full Circle Fund is an active network of Bay Area professionals who leverage their time, talent and resources to advance high impact nonprofit organizations. Full Circle Fund is also home to Founders Pledge, a program for startup founders who pledge 1% of company equity to nonprofits – this growing community of social-minded companies and their founders receive access to educational programing, engagements with nonprofits, and other resources to help them do good from the start.
- SF Gives – Initiated by Tipping Point Community, SF Gives is a $10M corporate challenge that is bringing together local businesses to fight poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area. 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to the most promising organizations working to educate, employ, house and support those in need. Representatives from companies that have joined SF Gives meet monthly to share best practices, collaborate on poverty fighting initiatives, and learn from local non-profit leaders.
- Taproot Foundation – The Taproot Foundation connects nonprofits and social change organizations with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Through our programs, business professionals deliver marketing, strategy, HR, and IT solutions that organizations need to achieve their missions. Our Advisory Services team consults with companies of all sizes to help design, build, manage and scale in-house pro bono programs that enhance your CSR, employee engagement or talent development goals.
As you start to think through and plan your CSR efforts, Full Circle Fund, SF Gives and Taproot Foundation are busy thinking of how to continue to support all companies in this process. Keep an eye out as we post more resources, tips and tricks for how to engage your resources thoughtfully in 2016 and beyond.
Need expert advice? Don’t reinvent the wheel and don’t go it alone.
Connect with us to find out how other companies are starting pro bono programs or to just bounce ideas about your own initiatives. There’s nothing we like better than talking pro bono.