Giving Compass' Take:

• To inspire others and create authentic social impact, business leaders must tap employees from all organizational levels and take calculated steps to bring about results in meaningful CSR. 

• Multi-sector partnerships are one step in the right direction to achieving significant change. How is your employer making strides in collaboration? 

• Read what makes a successful corporate social responsibility plan. 

A new age of consumerism that prioritizes data security, low environmental impact, and ethical behavior from the private sector is at hand. More and more employees and executives are making it clear that corporate commitment to social impact is non-negotiable.

To be successful in this new context, companies need to move beyond simply saying the right things to doing the right things. They need to create opportunities for action across all organizational levels, from the most junior positions to the board of directors, that will deliver social impact for real. Here are three ways to begin:

  1. Find the Right Initiative First, companies should identify a social impact initiative that aligns with an existing business interest. If an organization can find a cause that aligns with what the company already does, it will be better-positioned to gain community trust and make a long-term impact.
  2. Assess Your Abundance Companies should also think critically about what they can bring to the table beyond just writing a check. Certainly, the charitable sector relies on donations and money matters, but there are lots of other, less-considered ways to actively support social impact.
  3. Find and Build Partnerships Cross-sector partnerships are nothing new, but companies stand to gain still more from them. Multi-sector partnerships can both support companies’ existing work and open doors to something new, and investment in research and nonprofit philanthropy can help expand the reach and impact of all three sectors.
  4. Live Your Company Values Today’s executives also need to showcase humanity by intertwining their personal values and stories into a corporate context. In fact, executives shouldn’t be afraid to assume the role of representing the company's character through their individual ideology when it makes sense.

Read the full article about how companies can achieve authentic social impact by Allyson Hewitt at Stanford Social Innovation Review.