Between a global pandemic, environmental crises, and a resurgence in social justice campaigns, the world today is rife with social unrest that’s squarely under the microscope of public scrutiny.
This is part of what has made corporate philanthropy programs so critical for modern businesses. With more eyes on how organizations respond to these issues, there’s mounting pressure for corporations to step up and use their resources to address the world’s most pressing problems.
With an effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, businesses can take steps to show that they care about these issues and win over public approval. Additionally, CSR is often used as a tool to establish important relationships with community organizations and foster stronger company cultures.
That being said, it can be hard to maintain a robust philanthropy program if you don’t keep a pulse on evolving trends and technologies in CSR. So, to help you navigate these shifts and strengthen your corporate philanthropy, we’ll explore these key predictions for the future of CSR:
- Social impact will become a core value for businesses
- Philanthropy will more keenly affect employee retention
- Technology will streamline and refine corporate giving
- Money isn’t always the answer—many CSR programs will diversify
Let’s dive in by taking a closer look at the ongoing impact of CSR on consumers and how it will be incorporated into businesses’ core values.
Social impact will become a core value
We live in an unprecedented era of information where a near-limitless amount of data is accessible with a few clicks—including information on your business and everything you’re doing to give back to your community. This has played a major role in how important CSR is to consumer intent and buying habits, as consumers are hyper-aware of your business’s practices and core values.
For example, did you know that 77% of consumers are motivated to purchase a product based on the company’s commitment to making the world a better place? Moreover, 41% of millennial investors put a significant amount of effort into understanding a business’s CSR practices.
The bottom line is that people—and especially younger generations—are checking to make sure that you care about the world and your impact on it. And now they can see what you’re doing to improve your impact with far more speed and clarity than in decades past.
As this trend continues, CSR will quickly turn from a useful program to improve a company’s public image into an essential part of their core values.
After all, as consumers keep an eye on the various socio-political and environmental crises unfolding today, they want to invest in businesses that are taking an active role in these issues.
In order for businesses to future-proof themselves and win over public support, it’s predicted that more organizations will be incorporating ideas of social responsibility directly into their operations and central missions, from the vendors they select to setting business policies that are more equitable.
Philanthropy will further affect retention
While consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with CSR and how businesses are taking a stance to improve the world, they aren’t the only ones who care. Your employees are also more mindful of your business’s values, and how they view your approach to philanthropy will have a more significant impact on their eagerness and willingness to work for you.
In particular, 64% of millennials consider a business’s social and environmental practices when deciding where to work, and 83% would be more loyal to companies that contribute to these issues. This is especially important now, as the ‘Great Resignation’ has put power in the hands of employees and made it more important than ever to keep workers engaged, inspired, and excited about the work they support.
As these trends continue, CSR will remain an important part of the employee experience. In particular, we believe that corporate philanthropy will become an ever-important resource in how businesses cultivate their future workforce, create more engaging company cultures, and nurture employee retention.
Technology will streamline corporate giving
In a general sense, poor technology can lead to dissatisfaction, inefficiency, and even resignation in the workplace—for example, studies have found that 36% of employees have considered leaving their roles because of a poor technology experience.
This is true when it comes to any department or area of your business, including your corporate giving programs. That’s not to say that your employees will leave if your CSR initiatives are running inefficiently, but it can certainly impact their view of your company and your commitment to social responsibility.
In recent years, corporate giving software has seen an explosion in power and efficiency, with robust tools being developed that can help to facilitate in-kind giving programs, matching gifts programs, and other key CSR initiatives.
And as corporate philanthropy continues to rise in importance for consumers, investors, and employees, these CSR platforms will be adopted by more businesses to streamline and improve their corporate philanthropy programs.
Many CSR programs will diversify
Once upon a time, cutting a check to a local charity may have been enough to show your community, employees, and other target audiences that your business is committed to forward missions of social good.
However, in our current day and age, CSR has evolved well beyond simple monetary donations to include a variety of programs that can benefit your business.
More specifically, consider these alternative CSR initiatives and how they can help businesses to achieve their unique goals:
- In-kind giving. In-kind donations are non-monetary gifts—namely a company’s goods, services, or experiences. As is outlined in this guide to in-kind donations, this kind of CSR can be a convenient way for businesses to support charitable causes, earn positive publicity, and raise brand loyalty. For example, a business might conduct in-kind giving by using extra inventory to provide prizes for an auction or event gift bags, a cost-effective and very public strategy to enhance the impact of its philanthropic efforts.
- Volunteer days. Volunteer or service days involve the organization of special days where employees are encouraged to volunteer at charitable events or programs in the community. These programs are often paired with volunteer grants, monetary gifts that go to the charity in question, to further aid the cause and show employees and community members your commitment to social good.
- Matching gifts. Over 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs, making it one of the most popular forms of modern CSR. This initiative involves companies “matching” donations made by their employees to qualifying nonprofits or other charitable organizations.
While direct monetary donations will continue to be an important part of how businesses conduct their CSR strategies, it’s anticipated that many businesses will diversify to include input from customers and employees to take in the full range of benefits from other CSR programs.
While it can be easy to turn a blind eye to corporate philanthropy in favor of other projects, CSR is a powerful motivator for consumers, employees, and other constituents that can nurture your business’s growth and financial success. That’s what makes it so essential to keep a close eye on up-and-coming trends in CSR and remain attentive to these rapidly-evolving initiatives.
As we move forward into the future of CSR, keep in mind these key insights, predictions, and trends to enable your business to take full advantage of the benefits of corporate philanthropy.