I just returned from the 2019 B Corp Champions Retreat, the annual gathering of Certified B Corps and their allies. It’s impossible not to be inspired by a group of 650 other people passionate about using business as a force for good. Just being in the same room as representatives of Dismantle Collective, Patagonia, and Spring Bank serves as a reminder that Valor CSR is in good company and this is the way business needs to be done.
One can be forgiven for being confused about corporate social responsibility. In the January 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review, some really smart people are questioning whether the Porter/Kramer model of identifying social aspects of your value chain is the right way to go. In what feels like a pandering-to-the-CEO kind of article, the authors say that there's a continuum of social impacts, so whatever CSR you do is fine as long as it's coordinated. And also, please pay our consulting company some money to coordinate it for you.
You now have exactly twelve days to make any charitable gifts eligible for a 2018 tax deduction. But since this the is the first year that the 2017 tax changes are in effect, are there important things that have changed? Yes! Here’s a quick recap of some of the more important things that individuals and corporations need to keep in mind.
There are actually far more reasons why you shouldn't start a CSR program than why you should. If your program is ad-hoc, reactive, non-strategic, underdeveloped, under-resourced or inauthentic, you're wasting your time. But why should you start a strategic, well-thought-out CSR program? The specific benefits to your business.
In a recent episode of the Freakonomics podcast, Stephen Dubner stated that “customers don’t seem to care all that much” about CSR, and suggested that firms practicing CSR might be encouraging their employees to behave badly because of moral licensing. I thought it might be a good time to clarify things a bit.
Poor Milton Friedman. The Nobel Prize-winning economist and Chicago-school anti-Keynesian had a lot of good ideas, and was unmatched at explaining complex economic theories in a way that non-economists could understand. But he keeps getting yanked out of his grave and waved at anybody who even hints that business might have some responsibility to society.
Often I will be talking to someone about charitable giving, and they will express frustration that, "it's just one thing after another. We keep giving money to treat the symptoms, but never really address the root cause." Or, with more funder jargon, "we only fund transformative projects."
While I understand not wanting to waste precious donations, I usually counter with this analogy: Saying that you don't want to donate to a food pantry because those people just get hungry again tomorrow is just like saying that you want to eliminate emergency rooms because those people will just keep having heart attacks and getting into car accidents.
Creating a corporate foundation isn’t the only way to get the tax, structure, cost savings, branding, and visibility benefits of a strategic corporate philanthropy program. Here are the five reasons you might want to skip the corporate foundation for one of its several alternatives.