Author: Bianca Williams
Strategic Grants and Social Money Solutions have worked closely for many years – aligned in their mission to help build capacity in the nonprofit sector.
Social Money Solutions helps nonprofit organisations raise the revenue needed to fulfil their mission and partners with corporations to meet their social responsibility objectives.
Managing Director of Social Money Solutions, Tanya Hundloe, founded the company in 2007 following a career in strategic fundraising roles in the nonprofit sector. We asked Tanya to provide insight into the current state of play in Corporate Social Responsibility, and how nonprofits can benefit.
What is your definition of Corporate Social Responsibility?
Essentially, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means that corporations have a degree of responsibility not only for the economic consequences of their activities, but also for any social and environmental implications. Also referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’ approach that considers the economic, social and environmental aspects of corporate activity. Large companies are recognising CSR is not just something they must report on, but it is also good for, or imperative to, business success. I also see corporate responsibility and social impact are becoming synonymous. It’s no longer just about ‘do no harm’, it’s about ‘how do we make a positive impact?’
What changes have you identified within Corporate Australia and delivering on CSR over recent years?
Companies are experiencing escalating social activism by investors, stakeholders, NGO’s, and policymakers on issues of climate risk, economic inequality, and societal well-being. They are increasingly being outed on social media or called to face public investigations. As a result, a company’s social license to operate is becoming a management and boardroom consideration more than ever before. Corporate sustainability and CSR functions, which have previously been on the sidelines, are now slowly becoming integrated into mainstream business activity. Progressive companies are more actively engaged in addressing environmental and societal issues and even considering how shared value (business strategy which delivers on purpose and profit simultaneously) can be part of their product mix.
From your experience, how does a nonprofit approach a Corporate partnership to ensure both parties are benefiting from the partnership / arrangement?
The first step a nonprofit should take is, know yourself well. Often I see NGO’s put together a proposal with arbitrary price points for levels of sponsorship in a silo and they haven’t thought about it in the context of who they are, what they want/need to achieve and how much it will cost – or shared this knowledge and approach internally. This is a sure-fire way to achieve partnerships that don’t add value. Take the time to understand your organisation’s needs, your values, key audiences, assets and costs. Think about what opportunities you can provide to engage the corporates, providing experiences that add value to your cause and for the corporate employees or clients personally and professionally. Then look for partners that are mission and value aligned.
Given your extensive experience working with both Corporates and nonprofits, what are the key elements of a successful partnership?
The most successful long-term and transformational partnerships are those that are codesigned to achieve mutual objectives for the nonprofit and the corporate. As the partnership moves into implementation phase it features structured and informal communication and engagement across all areas and people of both organisations. When this happens, trust is developed, and you can create positive impact together.
What is a Social Responsibility Plan?
Successful social responsibility plans/programs tell a company’s story, implement customer feedback, position a company as a leader on social issues, and determine how community investment dollars will be spent and evaluate impact. When a corporate develops a social responsibility plan the key things they typically consider are:
* Employee’s views on important areas to address;
* Company’s culture and core values;
* Nature of the business – what it trades in;
* The region the company operates in, and;
* Alignment with community needs.
If they don’t, there will be a disconnect, and customers, shareholders and employees will notice.
Do you have an affirmation /saying that you use for inspiration?
Businesses cannot be successful when the society around them fails. Society expects business to do good, not just do well and NGO’s can help them get there.