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Corporate Responsibility: Choosing CSR Partners
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Corporate Responsibility: Choosing CSR Partners - Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: Choosing CSR Partners

Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: Choosing CSR Partners

Corporate social initiatives can be enormously rewarding when building from the ground up, but this path is laden with pitfalls, and a company runs the risk of deflated expectations—not to mention deflated spirits—among its rank and file when resolutions don’t pan out. For this reason, many companies opt instead for partnering with existing organizations already dedicated to social causes.

You don’t have to start from scratch

The advantages are many. When you partner with an established organization, you’re piggy-backing on its expertise in its field, and if it’s a reputable group, the goodwill its earned over the years becomes attached to your company as well. The existing group knows how to best use the humanpower, time, and dollars your company contributes.

Choosing the right partner is critical if your company chooses this path. Here are some things to consider as you select possible partners in your company’s CSR direction.

Find a partner whose values line up with your company’s

This is perhaps the most important consideration, and narrowing your candidates down to a small handful with the input of your employees can be excellent for team-building. As a company leader, you define your firm’s values, but as members of the team, your employees know what they themselves value. Finding the partner whose values line up with both is a win all by itself.

Look for a creative, innovative partner

There is nothing wrong with a charity fun run, an awareness campaign, or community trash clean-ups. If they didn’t work, nonprofits wouldn’t keep doing them. However, consider looking for the group that’s doing new things, perhaps with social media, community outreach, special events, or multimedia. You could also look for groups whose niches are less publicized, of which there are many. New initiatives are more likely to get your employees and leadership excited, and it doesn’t hurt to be affiliated with creative-thinking organizations.

Find a partner whose reputation is above reproach

Translation: do your due diligence. This should go without saying, but your partner should meet certain nonprofit standards in transparency and governorship and be scandal-free. Third-party watch dogs such as CharityWatch, Charity Navigator, and Guidestar are you Better Business Bureau equivalents and can shed important light on your intended partners. Not being listed does not mean they cannot be trusted, but if they aren’t, it’s a good idea to find out why not.

Find a partner who wants a real partner

...and not just your money. Buy-in from your employees is critical; if your team members think the partnerships is simply a mandate from leadership, they won’t be as invested. If instead your charity partner involves people from your team in generating ideas, planning, and execution, both organizations will be better, for the collaboration of ideas and partnership in work.

 

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Corporate Responsibility: Choosing CSR Partners - Executive Leadership Articles

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