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CSR and Employee Volunteer Programs: How to Make the Business Case

“The business doesn’t need to understand social impact; social impact needs to understand the business,” said Saul. “In other words, social impact needs to prove its value to the business.”

“The business doesn’t need to understand social impact; social impact needs to understand the business,” said Saul. “In other words, social impact needs to prove its value to the business.”

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The following is an expert from a brilliant and concise article addressing a much needed shift in perspective concerning Corporate Citizenship. I tend to be a bit repetitious with this theme when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Volunteering Programs. Read this article, and you’ll know why.

Measuring the impact of corporate citizenship

Ask a corporate citizenship person if their company really understands what they’re doing, and the answer may be no. They’ll tell you that their CEO doesn’t get it, and the business doesn’t appreciate the value of what they contribute. Some will even tell you it makes them worry about the future of their function.

They think the problem is that the business doesn’t understand the value of social responsibility and social impact, but they’re wrong, says Jason Saul, President of Mission Measurement and a member of the Boston College Center’s faculty.

“The business doesn’t need to understand social impact; social impact needs to understand the business,” said Saul. “In other words, social impact needs to prove its value to the business.”

Companies want to know how corporate citizenship is making a difference – tangibly, practically and realistically. “At the end of the day we have to demonstrate value, and the way we demonstrate value to the business, and to society, is by speaking the language of the business – by speaking the language of measurement.”

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There are many reasons to measure, but if corporate citizenship is to be around for the long haul, measurement must help the company answer the “so what” question: How does the program contribute to the company’s strategic objectives? How do these activities truly benefit the business, and what is the return on investment?

Measurement Needs to Change

In order to answer these questions, four shifts need to take place in corporate citizenship measurement:

  1. Corporate citizenship departments need to function like other business units and demonstrate their value to the business.
  2. Corporate citizenship needs to focus on outcomes rather than programs.
  3. There needs to be a shift from evaluating corporate citizenship to truly measuring it.
  4. Performance reporting needs to replace compliance reporting.

Read the rest of the article here.

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About the author

At Realized Worth, we help companies connect with their communities. We do this through corporate volunteering and social media

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