We believe the corporate social responsibility space is on the verge of being re-defined. As companies better understand the impact their giving can have on their bottom line, it will change the way they approach their philanthropic commitment. Brands today realize this association, but the category lacks definition, research, benchmarking, and case studies.
HR Managers launch global volunteer programs working off the assumption those programs are affecting employee morale, recruitment, and retention. Brand Managers support grassroots nonprofits with the hope that support will translate in to a change in brand perception and eventually an increase in purchase intent and sales. PR and online teams publicize these partnerships with the goal to create stronger, more engaged brand advocates. However, more often than not these outcomes are not being measured and cannot be accurately evaluated against other more measurable investment opportunities.
Even without proper measurement or benchmarking, brands are beginning to drift to a middle ground (between Foundation giving and cause-related marketing) that is being defined as “shared value.” They are building nonprofit partnerships with both societal and brand impact goals.
The brands that do this effectively over the next five years, measuring the impact of these partnerships on both the society and their bottom line, are the brands that are going to lead the way in this new space. And, conversely, the nonprofits that can help track the affect of these larger, more strategic investments are the nonprofits that will dramatically increase the landscape of their national and global footprint.