Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR for short, is an increasingly important initiative for businesses all over the world. Data shows that a fourth of corporations stated they started giving 10-25% more due to the events of last year, driving resources to important issues like limiting the spread of COVID-19 and supporting social change. These philanthropic efforts not only help businesses accomplish their goals as a brand, but also work to create better connections with the people they serve.
However, like many other aspects of the modern business world, efforts in CSR and philanthropy are most effective when brands can accurately leverage data and insights to make the most impact. This is why a wide range of industries, like finance, healthcare, retail, insurance, and more, are partnering with CSR solution providers to have better insights into compliance, analytics and how their allocated funds are distributed to drive impact for their philanthropic efforts.
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CSR technology isn’t as widely known across industries as other kinds of solutions so it’s important to first understand exactly what the technology does which is quite simple; CSR solutions allow organizations to streamline their initiatives in giving back by making it more efficient to give and analyzing the impact of that giving. The technology allows companies to hone in on their philanthropic efforts, driving funds and resources to the causes that will generate the most impact in a tailored, scalable way.
These solutions can be leveraged by the business sector in so many ways to support global issues like climate change, poverty, disease control, and more. The real value from CSR solutions comes from the measurable impact they bring to the table. Anyone can scour the internet and find causes that align with their company’s mission, but without proper visibility into things like allocation of funds, giving becomes a riskier investment without much insight into where corporate dollars made an impact. Partnering with a CSR technology vendor dismantles this risk by providing much-needed insight into how resources will be used to create impact for a specific cause and limit any potential brand risks.
Technology improves Compliance
Particularly in the current climate, corporate philanthropy managers need to be extra careful in verifying and screening charities to avoid damaging the company’s public reputation or risk legal, financial or tax ramifications that could cause deep collateral damage and discourage future giving programs. For example, employees could be majorly put off if they discover that donations they made for education were misappropriated to fund lavish lifestyles. These are far apart extremes, but without proper insights it can be difficult to truly know how funds are allocated throughout a charity or nonprofit, proving why this kind of visibility is essential.
Aside from brand risks, there are a series of legal risks that CSR technology helps businesses navigate through. When selecting a charity to work with, they must be screened against a matrix of relevant global laws, sanctions screening, and watch lists. And, regardless of size or scope, all giving programs must stay current with cross-border money transfer declarations, tax filings, and data privacy legislation. While all this may seem daunting, it isn’t something program managers have to do from scratch. CSR technology platforms address multiple aspects of corporate giving, including screening and verification, that make regulatory compliance and due diligence less of a burden.
Better Visibility With Deeper Analytics
Corporate giving isn’t solely tied to donations from a specific company. Employees play a significant role by participating in employee giving programs that are part of the overall efforts of their organization. With corporate donations, employee giving, and donations from third parties like customers, proper insights and analytics to measure the impact from each channel of cash flow and the overall combined efforts is a must have.
A modern CSR solution will have a dashboard which does just that, breaking down numbers like total giving, how much employees give and financial matching from the organization, average donation amount, and percentage of employees engaging in giving programs. These analytics can be even more detailed to show what causes are the most funded, demographics around who is funding each initiative, and specific timeframes where there are upticks in giving. Analytics have become an integral part of many different industries, but CSR is a prime example of how these kinds of measurements can be used to change the landscape in a positive way.
The analytics go much deeper than simply showcasing numbers, aligning and optimizing. Organizations using a CSR solution can truly understand the impact of their programs, and continuously innovate to develop new programs to increase engagement and impact. A prime example is a business may be allocating the bulk of their CSR funds into climate change, while their employees are mainly supporting causes around poverty. This would be a flag to the managers overseeing CSR efforts, and in turn they can make better, more informed decisions around, for example, increasing funds to causes around fighting poverty, so employees can be more engaged in their company’s CSR efforts and feel they’re making a bigger difference.
CSR technology is taking more of the spotlight as public expectation looks to brands to take more action around various causes. It’s clear technology solutions that support these efforts are becoming table-stakes to any business with a firm mission to drive positive change. There can be a misconception that only large businesses or enterprises need this kind of visibility into their philanthropic efforts, but SMBs should also be considering how to adopt these solutions in their efforts. Consumers are more likely to engage with brands that are driving social good, and the more ways a company can prove their value in that area – via measurable analytics and compliance – the better off they are in the long-term.
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