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CSR Culture & Capitalistic Philanthropy

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Today, people want to look at corporations and see real people doing real things to influence social change. They want the employees to be engaged in philanthropic activities and the executives to be committed to making the world a better, more sustainable place for us all. This has led to huge growth in the area of CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility.

More companies are implementing philanthropic initiatives and CSR programs into their corporate culture. By doing so, corporations win on three different levels, says Evan Kirkpatrick of Forbes. They become “valuable to clients, profitable for the organization, and [start] positively effecting the world.”

Kirkpatrick calls out three elements as key to moving corporations and other organizations into what he calls “capitalist philanthropy.” First, organizations must choose a cause to stick to. It can be anything from medical research to poverty to the lack of proper medical care in developing nations. The only catch, Kirkpatrick says, is investing in a cause that you, your family, or the community has some connection to—something that has an affect and that you can be passionate about.

Next, there must be some sort of announcement or launch of the CSR “vision.” Though you can also share this information via social media, e-mails, and memos, its main announcement needs to be to an actual, physical room full of people. This is the only surefire way to get others’ attention, explain the situation, and potentially gain support (either in donations or volunteers).

Lastly, Kirkpatrick says that organizations must be able to keep the momentum for CSR going, keep the ball rolling even when there aren’t any rewards or recognition. Communicate any successes with people to keep them interested, informed, engaged, and excited.

Being involved in CSR or “capitalist philanthropy,” as Kirkpatrick calls it, is a great way to not only impact the world in a positive way; it’s a great way to attract positive and passionate people to your organization.

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Corporations Can Compete for Best CSR Practices

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We’re seeing more and more corporations these days encouraging and becoming more involved in philanthropy. Corporate Social Responsibility is growing in the business world as the American public has come to expect companies to do their part and give back to the community.

Each year, the Ethical Corporation awards the Responsible Business Awards to corporations that are at the top of the CSR game. By receiving one of their many awards, corporations not only gain recognition as a leader in CSR, they also get the acknowledgment they deserve for their responsible business practices and have the chance to network with other like-minded responsible corporations.

Considering how many corporations have developed outstanding CSR programs in the past few years, awards like this are both competitive and inspiring. CEOs for companies like Microsoft, Moody’s, Starbucks, and Goldman Sachs have strongly encouraged philanthropic activity among employees through gift matching and promoting volunteer opportunities.

For example, one of the most innovative scholarship programs is Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, or M3. The competition is put on by Moody’s, which is run by CEO Raymond McDaniel. Any high school junior or senior can participate in the challenge, which asks students to use applied mathematics to solve real-world problems. Teams of 3 to 5 students work together for fourteen hours to solve the problem, using only publicly available resources and data. A total of $115,000 in scholarships will be awarded this year.

Companies competing for the Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards can be considered for several categories of CSR, including Best Employee Engagement, Best B2B Partnership, Lifetime Achievement Award, and more. The judging panel includes a variety of personalities and backgrounds, such as Daniel Franklin of The Economist and Mike Barry from Marks and Spencer. Last year’s winners include the likes of Heathrow, Timberland, Marks and Spencer, and Coca-Cola.