By: Blake Connoy
On April 26th Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) hosted a webinar focused on helping companies develop corporate community involvement strategies. This blog will act as a highlight of the learning objectives and key agenda items.
We set the stage by identifying the following learning objectives:
- Learn how to develop a corporate community involvement strategy that integrates organizational culture, competencies and assets, community and employee interests, and core business strategy to deliver social and business impacts over the long-term.
- Understand the relationship between brand impact and local discretion when determining the corporate community involvement model that works best for your organization.
- Understand what questions you need to answer to determine the intersection between business priorities, organizational assets and stakeholder expectations.
To ensure that we have a consistent understanding of corporate community involvement (CCI), CBSR defines it as the active partnership between a company and/or governments and/or non-profit organizations in the countries and communities where the business operates for the purpose of strengthening its relationships with the community as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility mandate. CCI is also commonly referred to as “Community Investment”, “Community Relations”, or “Community Engagement”.
The benefits of corporate community involvement programs are many: build brand or reputation, build strong communities that will support business interests, build social capital and support among citizens and government, and recruit and retain employees. However, community programs that build on the core competencies of the business and are aligned with strategic sustainability goals can go further than the risk and reputation management side of corporate social responsibility. Indeed, strategic CCI programs can create business opportunities!
CCI strategy development process is a four phase approach that builds executive commitment, selects a ‘cause’ appropriate for a company, identifies potential partners, and defines performance measurement metrics.
Additionally, Amanda Hudson, Associate Manager of Corporate Affairs at LoyaltyOne and Laurel Ostfield, Senior Communications Manager at Capital One Canada joined CBSR to share their experiences developing their organization’s signature CCI programs. A few of their recommendations included:
- Strategy development can take time… be sure to budget 4-6 months for the development phase
- Engage employees on topics outside their regular day-to-day business
- Understand whether other business programs/initiatives could impact the timing/resources of your initiative
For the details behind CBSR’s four phase approach and LoyaltyOne and Capital One’s experiences, please listen-in to our webinar here. Please use your CBSR Member Portal username and password to log-in.