Does Your Company have the Four Elements for a Successful CSR Program?

In speaking with a number of Corporate Social Responsibility Directors over the past few weeks, a few of them have made comments about the lack of buy-in from the leadership of their company. This prompted me to ask a lot of questions, such as, “Then, why is the program in existence? What’s the impact on the work that you do? How is your program evaluated, and how are you – and others across the company – held accountable?” I received all kinds of answers:

  • “The former CEO started the program and the new guy doesn’t quite know what to do with it.”
  • “No one has the time to pay attention so I kind of get to do what I want, which is pretty cool. I’m not complaining.”
  • “We’re required to do it in our industry and most of my time is spent completing reports.”

I was awestruck and more than a little disappointed. But I felt immensely better last week when I came across TCC Group’s briefing paper, A Framework for Successful Corporate Citizenship. They have identified four key elements (leadership, culture, integration and a comprehensive citizenship strategy that encompasses more than just programs) that must be present to support thriving corporate citizenship. In fact, the briefing paper goes a step beyond just talking about the elements. It explores them at a deeper level and tries to address common challenges experienced by corporate citizenship directors.

There are anecdotes provided throughout the paper. However, it may be discouraging to small- and mid-sized companies as almost all of the examples are from Fortune-500 companies. But you don’t have to be a multi-billion (or even a multi-million!) dollar company to get involved in, and support, the community. Every company, regardless of size, has a strength to give, and you can start by incorporating the elements suggested by the TCC Group.

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