The CSR Scoop - 9/11/2015

Sep 11, 2015 10:30 AM ET

This week’s Scoop is inspired by the back-to-school buzz in the air!  We explore new models of purpose based learning, building systems and skill sets for change, and the way skills-based volunteering taps into the core motivations of corporate employees.  All of our authors this week articulate the need for significant change in our current way of doing business - whether it’s in academia, business or the social sector.  Our pencils are sharpened, our notebooks are fresh and we’re ready to dive in!

Teaching Values and Purpose for Social Change

Amidst the sometimes manic start-up craze in the social sector, Sarina Benges from Stanford’s Center on Democracy offers an important perspective on truly understanding community needs before launching a new venture to meet those needs.  She discusses the importance of instilling the values of humility, compassion and resiliency through service-learning at the university level.   

“Through experiential learning inside and outside the classroom, students work alongside nonprofit organizations to witness how they innovate new approaches to social-change problems. They are able to observe how organizations tackle challenges with creativity, empathy, and a partnership-based approach, helping provide a holistic set of values that will serve them in their future careers.”

We couldn’t agree more!  We see the value of service learning every day in skills-based volunteer programs.  More and more of the workforce is recognizing the value in learning through experience and in partnership with the community.  We’re excited for the work the Benges is leading to cultivate that value and perspective in students before they dive into their career.   

Say goodbye to capitalism: welcome to the Republic of Wellbeing

And from Guardian Sustainable Business, a call to a true transformation of business as the international community -- institutions across all sectors -- agree to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The authors paint a picture of a new brand of capitalism,  the “Republic of Wellbeing”, that would need to be in place in order to feasibly and authentically reach the SDGs.  They point to a few significant shifts:

  • New accounting parameters, such as discount rates, that are either neutral or give more weight to impacts and costs in the future than in the present
  • Innovative forms of regulatory impact assessment that help us better understand how laws and markets are impacting sustainable development objectives
  • Active, global participation in ensuring that  international norms, principles and agreements are conducive to human and ecosystem wellbeing

Most would agree that these admirable and necessary calls to action, but how do we move from our current systems and mindset that so value short-termism to something that mirrors this Republic of Wellbeing?  What examples have you seen of companies placing more value on long term sustainability?  

What Do Shared Value Leaders Have In Common

One of the answers to the questions posed above -- how do we truly change our current system -- is through the dedicated leaders who see this vision and push back against our current norms to make it happen in their workplace.  Kyle Peterson, Managing Director at FSG, articulates the characteristics of this type of leader in his recent blog.  Pulling from the now popular concept of shared value (business practices that result in both market and social value creation), Peterson states three key qualities:

  • Purpose:  A strong understanding of their company’s implicit purpose and what social need the company can fulfill
  • Eagle Eyes: An ability to see the trends and changes that are coming in their industry and the world, interpret them, and push for action
  • Network: An ability to glean insights and diverse perspectives from people working in a various sectors across the globe in order to make informed strategic decisions for their organization

The theme seems to be leaders that seek out and activate diverse perspectives in order to set sustainable strategy -- a great lens for any leader to have, whether you’re creating change in the private, public or social sector.  What are some of the leadership qualities you’ve seen in the intrapreneurs and change makers in your work?  What makes them different?

Driving Engagement and Business Performance:  The Role of Employee Volunteering Programs

And finally, our friend Colleen Olphert at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, shares powerful data on the power of corporate volunteerism on overall employee happiness in an excerpt from The Corporate Citizen.  Olphert shares that over 70% of executives view employee volunteer programs as a top priority, and that employees benefit greatly from volunteering and feel more connected to their company and their work when they’re given an opportunity to volunteer.  So, why are only 30% of employees volunteering?  Olphert points to the fact that what motivates employees to volunteer is the ability to grow professionally -- to develop tangible skills -- through their experience.  It’s no wonder there has been such an astronomical rise in the popularity of skills based volunteering, which allows employees to develop those hard and soft skills while creating positive social change.    

Interested in figuring out how to grow your skills in the context of a skills based volunteer program?  Check out Common Impact’s professional development wizard to see how to make the most of a skills-based volunteer opportunity at your company.  


Call for Papers!  
Nonprofit Quarterly and YNPN

Date:  Today, September 11th

Nonprofit Quarterly and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is teaming up to share stories on how our next (and current!) generation of leaders approaches critical issues of diversity, equity and inclusiveness.  They want to know how you’ve negotiated, challenged, or transformed these issues at your workplace.  Submissions due by Friday, September 11th.  

Setting the Scene for Collective Impact
Date: October 6, 2014  

Once you have determined that you are ready for collective impact, how do you get started? Join FSG consultants and partner practitioners as they walk you through the initial set-up of an initiative.  Learn how to identify champions, map the landscape and ensure community involvement.