Starbucks Inspires Change
This week marks the 37th annual National Volunteer Week and according to the HandsOn Network, the week is about “taking action, encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change.” NGOs like HandsOn aren’t the only ones realizing the collective power communities have in fueling positive societal change; there are also a few corporate pioneers taking a proactive approach to engaging their employees and consumers in making the world a better place; one example—Starbucks. This month, in celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary, Starbucks is partnering with nonprofit organizations around the world to host a Global Month of Service. The company has set a goal of 200,000 community service hours—a value of $4.2 million.
As a CSR practitioner, I admire this initiative and can’t help but call attention to the fact that Starbucks understands what many companies have not yet come to realize; the positive impact created as a result of community service is invaluable—to the communities that receive much-needed support, the employees who gain an increased sense pride and fulfillment and to the company that sees an increase in employee morale and elevated visibility in the communities where they do business. While it’s difficult to quantify the ROI of community service, it’s impossible to ignore the value that programs like these bring to a company’s culture, its reputation among its stakeholders and to the communities in which they operate.
Although many companies today have volunteer programs in place, most of these programs are not seen as a priority and are in need of rejuvenation. What Starbucks and other “Best in Class” examples of volunteer initiatives are doing well is packaging and positioning their programs in ways that generate excitement among stakeholders, resulting in increased participation and overall success. If you currently have a volunteer program that is in need of a makeover, here are a few things to consider:
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