Here are the top 10 things I took away from today’s event:
1. To move the needle on complex social issues we have to work together to ensure a collective impact. This means businesses, non-profits and communities challenging each other to combine efforts for good. CSR isn’t a competition – we are all in it together! Think of the impact companies could make if they came together to tackle an issue affecting our community.
2. Give back by doing what you do well! Businesses that are thinking of starting, or improving on a CSR campaign should pick the priorities they want to focus on, just like you would do when creating a business plan. And it helps to pick ones that parallel your company’s mission. For example, Microsoft focuses on technology education and local company Red Thinking donates creative and branding help.
3. Good CSR is not just about writing a check – it’s about making a sustained impact, which you can do in many ways, including in your human resources practices or supply chain management. Leading the way, Northrup Grumman is ranked in the top in the nation for workforce diversity and Airbus is developing the leaders of tomorrow with help from the United Way.
4. Share your experiences to help promote CSR. Be an ambassador for the brand of giving back locally to make long-term positive changes in your community. Our Google panelist said it best – “Try for the impossible. If you get most of the way there you’ve really done something!”
5. Make CSR a core value of your organization. The newest members of our workforce – millennials – consistently share that CSR is important to them, and that they want to be highly involved in the organizations they support.
6. Be a leader within your organization to help change the culture of your company – one person, one team, or one company can make a big local impact.
7. Do your research – spend the time to research the company or non-profit you hope to partner with to ensure it is a good fit (look at things like mission, number of employees, location and interest level) and if it’s not, recommend another partner instead to help promote CSR!
8. New partnerships may need a translator – someone to help companies and non-profits communicate their needs vs. what they can offer.
9. Understand the impact of your CSR program by measuring key metrics and sharing that information with your team. Broadcast your success to inspire others.
10. A good CSR program, event or activity helps put everything into perspective. Doing one together with your teammates is an amazing opportunity to grow and learn together!
Thank you to all of the Chamber members, including the Community Engagement Committee, who helped put together this engaging, inspiring event. Now go out there and make an impact!
The Community Engagement Committee meets on the first Tuesday of each month at the Reston Chamber. We would love to see you there!
By Samantha O’Neil, Manager of Corporate Communications and Community Relations, SOS International LLC