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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Key Take-Aways from PRSA-NCC’s “Building a Corporate Social Responsibility Model into Your Communications Strategy” Program

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PRSA-NCC’s event held on Thursday, July 11 at Navy Memorial focused on how companies, with increased stakeholder engagement and transparency have made Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) an increasingly valuable strategy for organizations.

Panelists offered insights from the frontlines of this growing specialty, such as:

  • A description of what CSR is not – Keith William Diener, visiting Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics at George Washington University and a Founding Member at Art of Lawyering LLC moderated the event. According to Keith, CSR is not only for corporations, it can benefit any organization. CSR is not only a marketing technique, even though its marketing benefits are high. Lastly, CSR is not just something we say we do. While it CSR originated as a legal obligation, it is no longer something we do just because we have to.
  • The importance of aligning your CSR model with your Business Fundamentals – A company’s CSR reputation is defined by their philanthropic donations, employee based fundraising, community investments in creating jobs, and their adoption of productions processes that result in less pollution. Cory Porter, Director, Waggener Edstrom Social Innovation demonstrated how this reputations is dependent upon the CSR models alignment with business fundamentals.  In order for a CSR program to be successful it must be integrated into regular business practices. For example our shared client with Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft has begun to work with technology partners, government agencies, nonprofits, policymakers and researchers, to develop and deliver IT solutions that address environmental challenges.
  • The need for an update of the CSR playbook – Recently there have been three seismic shifts that raised the importance of CSR. The end of trust between consumers and corporations, the shift of power to the people and stakeholders, and the rise of the power of shared value. Consumers and stakeholders want to see that their organizations and companies share their values. Sheila McLean, leads the North American MSLGROUP CSR/Cause practice, known as PurPle (Purpose + People), which connects a team of more than 100 experts in the areas of CSR and cause. According to Shelia this new intersection between a brand’s purpose and benefits, and the stakeholder’s passions and beliefs will lead to an increase in CSR’s positive change over time.
  • Why employee engagement is vital to CSR programs – America’s Charities just released the latest research on trends and strategies around employee engagement and giving, a major component of CSR. Stephen Delfin, President and CEO of America’s Charities discussed how the research booklet SNAPSHOT clearly demonstrates that future employee engagement is a critical pathway for CSR. Now with four generations in the work force, choice and peer influence play a major role in when, where, how and who, employees are choosing to give to.

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