Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Resources for getting started in CSR.

One easy way to start a CSR initiative, according to Sam Pettway, the founding director of BoardWalk Consulting in Atlanta, is to institute a matching program for charitable contributions made by your own employees. By setting aside some of your charitable dollars in support of causes your own people are already supporting, you'll get additional leverage from whatever contributions you do make.

Additionally, you can pick a target area (or two or three, depending on the amount of money you're working with) and focus on that for a specified period of time. It's perfectly fair to pick areas that are strategically important to your business. For example, if architecture and construction are your business targets, then Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, or your area's version of ToolBank represent causes that might resonate. That way, you can make a real difference by making larger donations to a smaller number of organizations. Pettway says, "In short, by thinking strategy, then policy, CSR can be a joy and not a burden!"

Here are some of the growing number of resources that can provide additional ideas:

Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship - - has a developed a five stage hierarchy of corporate citizenship, from reactive (compliant) to fully integrated and proactive (transformative). As you might guess, the real benefits for everyone - businesses and society - lie increasingly along the more proactive stages of that grid.

The Business Civic Leadership Center - - is a nonprofit sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce to support businesses in their initiatives to achieve social goals.

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) - - is a practical resource for those interested in or committed to corporate social responsibility. Members include the brand-name global companies you would expect plus many smaller ones you might not know.

Corporate Social Responsibility - - is an extensive resource and newsletter for those interested in corporate citizenship / social responsibility, both domestically and internationally.

Stanford's Social Innovation Review - - web site is also a source of ideas to help corporate and nonprofit executives think strategically about sustaining communities while building enduring companies. It claims to presents "the best ideas in nonprofit management, philanthropy and corporate citizenship. Find out what works and what doesn't. And how to strengthen your social impact."

The Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Georgia State - - is the Southeast's leading organization in ethical leadership and corporate integrity.

Network for Good - - is a web-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people get more involved in their communities by connecting passion and financial support with compelling causes.

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