Before Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship member company, Google, became one of the most successful companies of our time, and before co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin joined forces, the two incessantly argued with one another at Stanford. Despite their differences of opinion and background—Brin is from Russia and Page is from Michigan—the two found themselves working together on a paper, “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” the findings of which became the intellectual basis of Google. These unlikely partners found common ground ultimately in their shared passion for data mining.
Nonprofit board placement programs have grown in popularity and importance as companies and employees realize the rewards of sustained, high-level engagement in community organizations. According to the 2015 Community Involvement Study, nearly 70 percent of companies offer a nonprofit board program to their employees as a part of their volunteer program offerings (see Figure A). This is a huge change from 2011, where the same study revealed that only 26 percent of companies offered nonprofit board programs to all of their employees.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs are only as strong as the data they are built on. That’s why the most effective corporate citizenship professionals consistently gather, evaluate, and measure all available data to create initiatives that are tied to business strategy and leverage the skills and expertise of their colleagues. They set daring goals complete with milestones and targets. They are aware of all affected stakeholders and know how to reach them. They know what resources are available and which are needed for success. They continually assess, modify, and improve their efforts based on the most recent data to achieve the most business and social value possible.
The holiday season is a great time for corporate citizenship, as companies and consumers come together to give back to the communities in which they live, work, and do business. During December, CSR practitioners have been called upon to organize countless corporate giving and volunteer initiatives, with impressive results. Just a few weeks ago, companies rallied to gain support for #GivingTuesday, and saw a whopping 36 percent increase in donations. Some companies, like Center member Microsoft, stepped up their game by matching donations benefiting Microsoft Youthspark, a company-wide, global initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youths by 2015.
Partnerships can amplify the unique strengths and skillsets of collaborators to produce impressive results. Sometimes—as in the case of CH2M HILL’s partnership with its non-profit partner Bridges to Prosperity—those results can join communities, increase well-being, and save lives.
CH2M HILL is a worldwide leader in engineering, construction, and operations management. With 26,000 employees in 190 offices on six continents, the firm is well positioned to deliver on its mission to help clients “build a better and more sustainable world,” building on its Little Yellow Book, a roadmap for the company’s ethical behavior that was written by one of the company’s founders.
Corporate citizenship professionals know the business and social value that can be achieved by furthering their efforts through strategic and thoughtful partnerships. Many environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are widespread and pervasive, and can only be tackled through the active involvement of a multitude of people and organizations, each bringing their own unique skillsets. Earlier this month, a historic partnership was created to tackle of the most pressing issues of our time, as Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Obama committed to limit greenhouse gases. As part of the deal, China agreed to cap its rapidly growing carbon emissions by 2030 or earlier, and will attempt to increase its share of non-fossil fuels to 20 percent of the country’s energy mix by 2030. The United States plans to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
Creating public-private partnerships in corporate citizenship is rarely easy. Scorecards, conference calls, memoranda of understanding, and that’s before you’ve even begun the actual project. So why are CSR professionals seeking more partners, further collaboration, and more strategic alignment?
One of the biggest reasons is because stakeholders, especially consumers, are noticing who your partners are and examining the details of your work together. A 2010 Nonprofit Marketing Trend Tracker survey found that 60 percent of respondents indicated that they actively seek partnership details before supporting a cause and 75 percent of American consumers reported that they wanted to hear about the results of a corporate citizenship partnership, including the effect on the social issue or money raised for the cause.
The nonprofit sector is a powerful force in the U.S. economy. According to the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, more than 70 million people work and volunteer in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits employ more people than every other sector except retail and manufacturing, and their revenue accounts for nearly 10 percent of the U.S. GDP. As a result, recipients and funders alike have a serious stake in a nonprofit’s ability to reach the best possible decisions, work effectively, and sustain itself over time. Nonprofits are vitally important to the health and wellbeing of the United States as we know it.