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Friday, June 1, 2012

Navigating the rise of the socially responsible corporation | Hayley Berlent, Siegel+Gale

This article responds to projections that more and more companies are becoming more socially responsible ... as a good business investment for effective corporate citizens. That's a good thing, of course!

Blogger Hayley Berlent quotes publisher Arianna Huffington:
By the end of this decade there will be no brand that is not involved in some form of philanthropy. The ones who choose not to follow the trend will simply not survive.
But, as Berlent concludes (emphasis added):
To get the most out of cause-driven initiatives, companies need to communicate in ways that make their commitment and impact more widely and clearly known. This means ensuring the business and cause are aligned; the cause is relevant to customers; the goals and results are consistently communicated; and support and commitment comes from the highest level.
To ensure that companies are no just socially responsible but also fiscally responsible, Berlent asks these four questions and includes examples of how some companies answer them:
  1. Is the cause in alignment with your business?
  2. Is the cause of importance to your customers?
  3. Are the goals and outcomes of the initiative clear, accountable and transparent?
  4. Is the cause inspiring to your leadership and employees?
The rewards for that philanthropy will be worth it. Berlent  refers to data that show socially driven business practices are directly tied to "improvements in recruitment and retention, enhancements in customer perception, affinity and engagement, as well as the bottom line."

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