CSR is changing, and it’s for the good

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been on the rise in the 21st century.  More and more companies of all sizes are committing significant resources – employees, money, goods – to benefit society. This movement has changed the conversation about how we solve world problems from hunger and disease to education.  Our society expects corporations to play a major role in addressing these global challenges.

These were among the topics discussed at SXSW Interactive with CSR professionals, nonprofits, philanthropists and entrepreneurs alike. One thing they agree on: the intersection between the corporate world and social good is changing. CSR programs are now aligned with business strategy versus philanthropic strategy only. Instead of companies receiving praise for investing in causes, they are ridiculed if they stay on the sidelines. Emerging technologies are changing the ways that people give and receive help.

What implications do these changes have for CSR programs going forward? Here are a few takeaways:

Authenticity is king

The rise of CSR has also resulted in an increased culture of cynicism. Consumers, especially millennials, can see right through flash-in-the-pan reputation schemes.  Random giving doesn’t cut it anymore. Programs that resonate most are 1) aligned with the business 2) sustained across a period of time and 3) supported by employee action.

Big goals, local action

Corporations have the capacity to serve as advocates and participants in major global issues.  We expect big companies to think big when it comes to their goals. At the same time, real change happens community by community. Effective programs address globally relevant problems by partnering with local organizations and activating employees to meet the needs of those in their backyard.

First-world tech to solve third-world problems

Technology is changing the way we think about philanthropy. In the past, programs like the Red Cross and UNICEF spent their time, energy and resources to respond to crises. Today, they are investing in tech solutions to diagnose and prevent problems before they start. Wearable technology, originally developed for the fitness-obsessed first world, is now used in India to track immunization records for children in remote villages. Fires, one of the highest causes of death in refugee camps, are being prevented by computer chips, to name a few examples.

Generation Z

Millennials have grabbed the spotlight in recent years. On their heels is Generation Z – the first generation born in the 21st century, raised with the Internet in their pocket. Research shows they are even more passionate about companies that are giving back to society. They are supportive of businesses making a profit for doing good. Companies must find ways to engage them now to build trust for the future – and the best way to do that may be through their phones.

The interest and enthusiasm at SXSW about this topic indicates CSR is not going anywhere anytime soon. While change isn’t always good, in this case the increasing role of corporations in society is good for everyone. Learn more about VOX’s CSR capabilities here.

 

 

CSR is changing, and it’s for the good

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been on the rise in the 21st century.  More and more companies of all sizes are committing significant resources – employees, money, goods – to benefit society. This movement has changed the conversation about how we solve world problems from hunger and disease to education.  Our society expects corporations to play a major role in addressing these global challenges.
These were among the topics discussed at SXSW Interactive with CSR professionals, nonprofits, philanthropists and entrepreneurs alike. One thing they agree on: the intersection between the corporate world and social good is changing. CSR programs are now aligned with business strategy versus philanthropic strategy only. Instead of companies receiving praise for investing in causes, they are ridiculed …

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