The Power of We in CSR: Blog Action Day 2012

Nov 13, 2012 9:15 AM ET

Volunteering is CSR

by posted on October 15, 2012

Posted in Inspiration

Today’s blog post is inspired by Blog Action Day which brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. The 2012 Topic is “The Power of We” and you can check out more on the Blog Action Day website.

There is no place where I see “The Power of We” theory come to life more than in the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR). “The Power of We” evokes the spirit of working together for something bigger. The ethos of CSR includes this same sense of collaboration and engagement, and the practice would not exist without these traits.

No matter the amount of money or time available, the success of a CSR program cannot be fully realized without collaboration and engagement of many important stakeholders – or as we’re referring to today – “The Power of We”.

Too often we see the lone CSR Manager championing practices that will help the organization stand for something bigger than itself. They’re creating the perfect plan to green the office, developing an exciting volunteer program to get employees helping out in local communities or determining the perfect product innovation that will make the business more responsible. Despite the good intentions of these visionaries, without a sense of shared responsibility among all employees, executives, board members, etc. the success of those intentions may never be fully realized or optimized.

“The Power of We” must exist on many levels of the business, not just in the CSR department silo. Consider the following tiers of engagement – which collectively support “The Power of We” theory:

Engage Employees
Employees are the lifeblood of any organization, and are highly interested in the organizations CSR initiatives. Involving employees in CSR will not only help ensure you have more “hands on deck” to support the strategic priorities of the organization, you’ll also gain stronger loyalty, productivity and morale from employees on all levels.

Engage Local Communities
Gone are the days when companies can operate without concern for the communities where they are located. Consider the opportunities of engaging local communities in CSR such as greater consumer loyalty and stronger business reputation – not to mention a large pool of advocates and potential beneficiaries of your program activities.

Engage Partners
All great programs are built on great partnerships. Whether this involves multi-company collectives to achieve a specific goal, or a corporate/nonprofit partnership to support a specific cause – there is no doubt that many hands make light work. And when we can find common ground to bring partners together, we are more likely to fulfill our CSR goals.

Engage Global Communities
Today’s communication landscape breaks down walls that once separated us from others around the globe. We now have the power to not only influence our local communities, but also people and organizations around the globe. Consider how you can amplify your CSR plan to extend beyond those in your backyard – how the message and philosophy your company lives by can extend to audiences around the globe.

“The Power of We” is an important reminder of what we stand for as a community of CSR professionals. We seek to make business stand for something more for profits. We aim to make life more fulfilling for all citizens. We rally individuals to positively impact important causes. And we couldn’t do any of this without coming together as a community.