In this blog, I have the wonderful opportunity to feature companies that are leading the way in CSR. Although most of the companies are global, their CSR work is performed in local communities to help people to build better lives.
This week, the Points of Light Institute awarded its 2010 Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence to AT & T, Intel, and Campbell’s Soup, in addition to one community bank–Old National Bank. I am writing about this because first of all, I know Old National from having helped them to develop and assess their foundation. And secondly, there are lessons about this community-based company winning this prestigious award.
Old National is headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, with its primary footprint covering Indiana, and parts of Illinois and Kentucky. The bank just celebrated its 175th anniversary. The communities that Old National serves are as varied as can be–from sparsely populated rural areas, to dense urban communities with people from diverse backgrounds, to college towns, to blighted neighborhoods that are being revitalized, to affluent suburbs.
The lesson from Old National is that whether your company is global or regional, the keys to excellence in establishing a high-impact CSR program are exactly the same.
- Have visible and genuine leadership from the CEO, with support from the board of directors as well
- Use your CSR program to enhance your company’s brand. Old National prides itself on being a community bank and engages in philanthropy and service to further emphasize and support its commitment to community
- Establish a CSR program that will strengthen neighborhoods where your company’s employees and customers live and work (and sometimes, for global companies, where you are investing to develop future customers–such as in developing countries)
- Integrate philanthropy, volunteerism, and nonprofit board service for the greatest impact, and also to develop your employees and to enhance their experience with your company
- Integrate community service as part of your business strategy in human resources, public relations, client relationships, and so on
- Establish meaningful partnerships with nonprofits that are effective in strengthening the communities where your company has a presence
- Measure and report on the impact of your CSR program as you go
Bob Jones, President & CEO, Old National, told me that “Old National is only as strong as the communities in which we live and work…Community service and philanthropy are good for our communities, clients, associates and shareholders… it’s just good business.”