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.
There are plenty of resources available that tell you what good corporate social responsibility looks like, but sometimes it’s useful to see the bad stuff so you can learn to avoid it. So here are six descriptions of ineffective CSR to avoid.
Companies generally start foundations (or alternatives to corporate foundations) to help formalize their philanthropic programs. Ad hoc, nonstrategic giving is expensive, ineffective and time consuming, and a formal program can help to prevent that. Here are the four main reasons that companies start their own foundations.
The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce asked us to present a webinar on Corporate Social Responsibility. If you have 20 minutes or so, the video replay is now available!