Connect For Good with and AT&T

Jan 13, 2012 9:30 AM ET

Originally posted on Net Impact blog

Posted by Sarah Burke-Gorewitz on January 04, 2012

Whether you’re passionate about social issues like high school dropout rates, environmental issues like e-waste and recycling, or safety issues like texting while driving, and AT&T are making it easy for you to take action through their newly launched Connect For Good platform.

Even though companies often reference CSR activities on their websites, many still struggle to get consumers to engage with them directly on these issues. Aaron Schiller, Business Development Manager leading the project on’s side, believes Connect For Good is ushering in Corporate Citizenship 2.0.

“The future of corporate citizenship is engagement with stakeholders,” he tells us. “You’re not just telling consumers about the issues that are important to the brand, but empowering them to take action, and support nonprofits that are really making a difference.”

By working with Causes, AT&T is able to leverage an existing community of 170 million users who are already passionate about various social and environmental issues.

“We want to introduce ourselves to consumers we know have an interest in social issues, and meet them where they are,” Beth Shiroishi, vice president, Sustainability & Philanthropy at AT&T, says. “This is a new way for us to engage with consumers at the intersection of our core strengths, the issues we care about, and the needs of society.”

For their pilot campaign, AT&T is focusing on three projects that overlap at this intersection, and touch on people’s interests from community to environment:

  • The dangers of texting while driving, to educate users on real world consequences of not using devices safely

  • The importance of recycling cell phones, to think about using devices responsibly

  • The crisis of declining high school graduation rates, to support education issues and workforce development

Unlike most other projects on Causes, you aren’t being asked to donate money to get involved. Instead, if you commit to take an action—like pledging not to text and drive—AT&T will make a donation to a designated nonprofit working on that issue, such as National Organizations for Youth Safety in the instance of texting and driving. (If you’re wondering why texting while driving is an important issue, this 90 second video should be all the proof you need.)

This collaboration is a first for both Causes and AT&T. A few other companies have done a few one-off videos, but this is the first time Causes has found a corporate partner to sustain community presence. was interested in new ways to use their platform, and AT&T wanted to push their philanthropy farther by using consumer engagement to get feedback and direction.

With crowd sourcing technologies, there’s always a risk it will just be a one-off, one-click interaction with consumers. Is AT&T worried? Beth acknowledges the concern, but they’re optimistic because the platform is specifically designed to keep the conversation going. “If you join the community, you learn about future campaigns, similar issues, and others supporting the same causes; you become a part of this work.”

“It’s all about engagement, community building, and reengagement,” agrees Aaron. “Part of what we’ve learned is that users really like seeing there’s another project down the line. When you take a texting & driving pledge, you see opportunities to learn about the impact, get your friends involved, and get involved in the next project. AT&T plans to roll out different initiatives, so you’ll be able to stay involved in different issues that you care about.”

Want to get involved? Join the Connect For Good community and generate money for some worthy nonprofits, by visiting