2016- The end for CSR as we know it?

MonsantoThe traditional model of CSR activities for corporations at events has been transforming over the years. Gone are the days when it was good enough for businesses to send their teams out planting trees or doing a one-off activity like painting an orphanage. Today’s participant has likely been there, done that and has a more discerning palate for giving back and in the majority the corporation’s own philanthropic strategy has significantly matured and evolved- are we keeping abreast though?

MCI Group have witnessed a wholesale change in the type of projects we are designing with leading corporate clients now, much closer aligned to the business mission of their own operations, led by the rise of “skills based volunteering” whereby the volunteer utilises their skills rather than being deployed in a field they have no understanding of (and need to be trained).

Looking back over the past decade, we’ve been trying to fit square pegs into round holes and it’s been counterproductive for both the charity in consuming their time and resources whilst also missing the chance to use projects participant’s natural skills. Each party misses the opportunity to maximise their resources but hey, there’s a nice photo at the end of it.

Corporations we work with like Microsoft and SAP are doing a fantastic job of integrating their business focus and core skills with their Responsible Business strategy. IT companies like these are specifically targeting STEM education and using their employees to both educate, train and equip the disadvantaged, likewise Salesforce is giving its software directly to NGOs so both are benefiting.

Where a skill and need are harder to match organisations are commonly setting up longer term partnerships including an event based Social Project but maintaining relationships over a longer period with the recipient and ensuring regular support rather than a one off activity and photo opportunity.

2016 is upon us and it’s time to become more strategic, aligned with business focus and use participants core skills to drive community benefit.

Do you agree? Share your comments or stories with us.

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