Boston College for Corporate Citizenship annual International Corporate
Citizenship Conference wrapped up yesterday and lots of great corporate
social responsibility (CSR) content is flooding their blog from the
attendees. One post by guest blogger Bradd
Baskin is particularly relevant this
week, as it’s National Volunteer Week.
post on the conference session “From Volunteering to Involve-a-teering”
shares insights from corporate volunteer programs at Morgan Stanley, General
Mills and Pricewaterhouse Coopers Canada Foundation. Each corporate example highlights a different
approach to employee volunteerism, but all three had one striking commonality:
the programs all achieved a goodness of fit with the corporate culture and core
Morgan Stanly, for example, embraced its competitive
environment and culture by transforming a volunteer program into a Social Enterprise
Strategy Challenge to engage employees in a way that leverages their
skills, personalities and competitive spirit.
As Morgan Stanley puts it, this initiative is “a signature initiative to
give back to the community in high value-added ways that uniquely leverage the
talents and passions of Morgan Stanley's current and future leaders.”
This conference panel and the corresponding corporate
examples provide a great reminder that
goodness of fit is a key component of any sustainable and successful corporate
Read more from the conference on the BCCC
National Volunteer Week is here and it’s time
to celebrate the incredible impact corporate volunteers make all year long. National Volunteer Week is sponsored by Points
of Light Institute & Hands On Network and is about “inspiring,
recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in
their communities”. Corporate volunteer
programs provide a rich opportunity to help employees connect to the causes
they care about and put your company’s CSR brand into practice.
Read the National Volunteer Week Resource Guide from Hands On Network for more information.
TODAY provides a rundown of resources, national programs and local events
taking place this week and month.
- Starbucks is
hosting service activities across the country in April as part of its Global
Month of Service dedicated to engaging its employees and customers in
meaningful service opportunities.
- Microsoft US Partners in Learning is teaming up with Youth
Service America and the Corporation for National & Community Service, to
announce the Global Youth Service Day InterroBang missions.
- Operation Gratitude is teaming up with McKesson during National
Volunteer Week to show their support for the Armed Forces.
- L'Oreal Paris, in partnership with Points of Light
Institute, will kick off the sixth annual call for nominations for Women of Worth on April 11.
Do you have an innovative approach to corporate
volunteerism? We’d love to see shared
stories about what works, what doesn’t work and how your companies are forging
meaningful relationships with nonprofit partners that drive tangible impact in
the communities in which you work and live.
At Network for Good, we often reference the ‘Helper’s High’ –
the feeling of euphoria that people report after giving to charity – when talking
to potential partners about the value and relevance of charitable engagement
programs for customers or employees. A
donation is truly a gift for the giver and the recipient nonprofit.
Then why is it so
common for nonprofits to encourage donations by sending a small unsolicited gift
with each direct mail appeal? Isn’t
the ‘Helper’s High’ enough motivation? Feeling good about giving is a great
result, but it only manifests after someone has committed to making the
donation. As Neuromarketing
puts it, “The concept of reciprocity suggests that giving someone something, or
doing a favor for someone, establishes a subtle return obligation.” The bonus is that you also feel good after
you meet that obligation (or make that donation).
Yesterday when I retrieved my mail, I noticed three
envelopes from different nonprofits that each included a donation appeal with a
small gift –a set of address labels, a nickel, and a handmade bookmark from a program beneficiary. I get a set of address labels at least twice
a month from various organizations – I’m stocked up through 2015 for sure – so this
little bonus didn’t tap any real desire to respond. I found the nickel intriguing since the
message was about how my donation could amplify the value of that 5₡
investment, but it didn’t connect me to the organization’s mission. The bookmark gave me pause. The handcrafted quality and the story about
the beneficiary brought the organization’s mission to life. I was compelled to donate and make sure more beneficiaries
had the opportunity to thrive and share their success on a bookmark. The right type of gift can obligate the
recipient to take action.
But does the size of
a gift matter? New research says
yes. German researcher Armin Falk demonstrates
that the reciprocity effect is directly tied to the size of the gift. Falk mailed 10,000 donation requests in three
samples: one sample just received a letter (no gift), another received the
letter and a postcard (small gift) and the third received the letter plus a set
of postcards (large gift). The results
are staggering. The third group that
received the large gift donated 75% more than the first group that just received
the letter. The second group that received
the small gift donated 17% more than the first group, demonstrating that “the reciprocity
effect is relative to the perceived size of the gift”.
What does this mean
in the context of CSR and engagement with customers and employees? Advocates of corporate social
responsibility (CSR), strive to embed CSR values and strategies within the culture
of the company. For some companies, that
may happen organically, especially if CSR values are part of the founding
principles. For most companies, CSR is a
newer concept that requires stewardship to take root and grow.
Reciprocity can be a powerful engine for that
- Consider how many employees would adopt personal sustainability
goals at work if their employer incentivized the actions (free branded reusable
water bottles for all!) and removed barriers (recycling bins for all!).
- Think about how motivating corporate matching grants are to
boost employee charitable giving. Or ‘dollars for doers’ programs to inspire
- We’ve all succumbed to the power of a free gift with
purchase at the mall. What if that free
gift were a charity gift card to spread generosity? Or a sustainable product to encourage environmentalism
through consumer choices?
How we incentivize employee and consumer behavior though our
programs and policies can make all the difference. Establishing the right size ‘gift’ (aka
incentive) will motivate the proportionate CSR action (water conservation,
charitable donation, volunteer time, conscious consumerism etc…) and ultimately
create positive outcomes – and the bonus of a ‘Helper’s High’!
Read more about the reciprocity effect and Falk’s research
on the Neuromarketing blog …