Corporate social impact, company social responsibility, ESG, SASB standards…if you’re reading this post, there is probably way more on your plate than just hiring and retaining great talent. We aim to reduce a little bit of the load.


Organize Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts


We recently spoke with a gentleman who is head of social responsibility at a publicly traded company. Obviously, a company’s adherence to ESG (Environment, Sustainability, and Governance) principles is an important indicator to institutional investors, but he also noted that, “People like to work for a company that they know is not evil.” We loved that statement. People want to feel good about what they do and what their company is doing.


The phrases “social impact” and “social responsibility” have myriad nuances, from human rights conduct throughout your supply chain, to your company’s philanthropic donations. Our focus at PlanHero, however, is on helping organize the community impact piece of the puzzle.


Our Signup Tool or Club Tool will help you organize your outreach efforts. People are busy. When you’re a volunteer, you want to sign up, show up, know what you’re doing, and feel good about your endeavors. Those are the bits we can help with. Many companies have specific nonprofits with which they engage. They might be aligned with what the company does (e.g. a company that makes golf clubs might support the nonprofit First Tee) or they might be nonprofits that resonate with the CEO, or they might be community organizations that are local to the corporation’s geographic locations.



If you’re just beginning to organize a corporate social responsibility program, here’s some advice:



  • Make sure you have buy-in from senior management. It’s imperative that you have an advocate who is going to support your efforts.


  • If it feels right to have your outreach efforts dovetail with what your company does, make it happen! It’s easier to maintain that aforementioned senior management buy-in when it aligns with the company’s mission. In addition, you’re effectively giving your PR, sales, and marketing teams content to share with your customers and investors about all the great work you’re doing.


  • Make it really easy for people to participate. People are busy. Really busy. Don’t schedule all-day initiatives. Break volunteer efforts into bite-size pieces. If you’re a single mom with a full-time job and three kids who play sports, it’s going to be pretty darned difficult to spend a full Saturday at the Food Bank. Break the day into two-hour shifts instead of an eight-hour slog.


  • Get creative in terms of variety. Let’s say you’re a health insurance provider, so your outreach is focused on healthcare-related endeavors. The sporty crowd can participate in the American Breast Cancer walk. The people who like to work with children can volunteer at the neighborhood pediatric clinic. For your math and science folks, establish one afternoon a week that your company will supply tutors for science and math at the local Boys and Girls Club. The world needs more doctors and nurses!


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Walk of Life participants in Montgomery, AL


  • Offer incentives to participate. More and more companies are offering their employees pay for their volunteer time. We’re typically seeing anywhere from 8 to 20 hours of paid volunteer time per year. If that’s not possible with your budget, get creative. Recognize the person(s) with the most volunteer hours at the end of your fiscal year. Make a donation in the name of that person to organization nearest and dearest to his/her heart. And maybe throw in a lovely dinner gift certificate. Another idea would be to hold a drawing with great prizes at the end of the year. A person’s name is placed in the drawing “hat” for every hour s/he has volunteered.


  • Set goals for participation. Many companies set goals for the percentage of employees who participate in corporate social impact activities in a given year. Start small, then go big! Announce updates at company meetings and via internal communications.


Homelessness 101: How to help and how not to soup kitchens


  • Program sustainability. No, not that kind of sustainability. We’re talking about the sustainability of your company social responsibility program. Think simple to start. Don’t create something that is so complicated that it is difficult to manage…or something that cannot be easily taken over by your successor. Start small. Build success. Then grow it.


  • Get feedback. Make sure you survey your employees after your volunteer events. Find out if they felt they made a difference; if they enjoyed what they were doing; if they felt that it was a well-organized effort…that their time was put to good, efficient use. This will help you plan for next year. And make sure that you get feedback from the organization that you’re helping out as well.



So how can PlanHero help you organize your company social responsibility program?



You can use our Club Tool to create signups (with nice incremented time spots) for your endeavors. They can be single day projects, multiple day projects, or programs with recurring dates. Email confirmations and notifications are automatic. Volunteers can opt to receive text reminders as well. Before the event, you can use our Message Invitees feature to get participants fired up about the impending event. After the event, you can use it to thank them for their efforts and include a link to the feedback survey.


You can also use our Collect Money Lists to make it easy for employees to donate to the nonprofits at the same time that they’re signing up to volunteer. If your company offers a matching program, it will be easy to determine matching totals.


Bonus: Next year, you can simply duplicate the previous year’s events (if your employees engaged with them) and change the dates!



How about you? What social impact initiatives have been the most successful at your company?