13 Do’s And Don’ts For CSR Success In 2018

At GlobalGiving, we believe good ideas come from lots of different places. So we asked 13 of the brightest corporate social responsibility experts a question: How can companies make the most of their CSR programs in 2018?


Here are the CSR best practices they shared:

Anne Erhard at Edelman Business + Social Purpose

Do “create CSR champions across the company by sharing ownership, stewardship, and storytelling among multiple internal functions.”
Don’t “keep CSR in a silo…or just in a report.”

Maureen Flynn at Changing Our World, Inc.

Do “leverage your CSR strategy to achieve both business and social goals.”
Don’t “try to be ‘all things to all people;’ spreading your resources too thin can limit your impact.”

Grant Garrison at GOOD Corps

Do “give consumers a way to act alongside you toward a common goal, not just consume information about what your company is doing.“
Don’t “assume that what we all focus on professionally, which is awesome, is breaking through to our consumers who are navigating busy lives.”

Farron Levy at True Impact

Do “ask your grantees to report on how many people improved their lives, using a defined success threshold, as a result of their intervention (even if they have to estimate). You’re now capturing social impact!”
Don’t “let the perfect (’academic’ level evaluation that may be unsustainable) be the enemy of good enough (‘lighter’ proxy data).”

Rich Maiore at For Momentum

Do “measure social and business outcomes!“
Don’t “tell uninspired and inauthentic CSR stories.”

Susan McPherson at McPherson Strategies, LLC

Do “step up and push for legitimate and authentic positive social impact. The time is now for business to take the lead and provide guidance and amplification to the causes that are vital to the well-being of our country.”
Don’t “hold back and remain quiet. You are missing a tremendous opportunity to make a difference.”

Kate Olsen at Weber Shandwick

Do “demonstrate how purpose is core to the enterprise strategy and a driver of sustainable growth.”
Don’t “just rely on CSR for risk mitigation, but rather discover new opportunities by focusing on shared value.”

Angela Parker at Realized Worth

Do “meet with the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) team to strategize how CSR can contribute to D&I goals.”
Don’t “give up. It’s hard work, but we’re at an important tipping point and we need everyone’s best efforts and unwavering belief.”

Jane Randel at Karp Randel LLC

Do “gather perspectives on what’s important from management, employees and other key stakeholders before sharpening your CSR focus.”
Don’t “get distracted by the latest ‘shiny CSR object.’”

Aman Singh at Futerra

Do “become best friends with your colleagues in marketing and investor relations.”
Don’t “lose focus.”

KC Sledd at Atlantic 57

Do “speak up! Brands used 2017 as a year to put a stake in the ground on the issues that mattered most to them as a company and to their customers as people. This pattern is here to stay. Companies shouldn’t be afraid to lead a conversation that matters to their mission. If they are, they risk missing a moment to build their audience and create change.”
Don’t “consider social responsibility a stand alone effort. To think of CSR as separate from the rest of a brand can be myopic, and companies may be leaving reputation lift, employee engagement, and social good opportunities on the table by by not thinking holistically. CSR is most effective when it’s integrated into all of your operations as a company. Not only is it more authentic, it’s is more strategic.”

Leela Stake at FleishmanHillard

Do “stretch! The bar for leadership is higher than it used to be.“
Don’t “wait to take action. The challenges facing our world are complex and urgent and require us all to do more now.”

Alison Taylor at BSR

Do “build skills in change leadership to increase influence and credibility for your work across the company.”
Don’t “bury your points in impenetrable jargon that no one outside CSR can understand.”

There you have it—CSR best practices from 13 leading experts. Want to keep up with CSR best practices all year long? Subscribe to our newsletter!

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