Giving Compass' Take:

• Corporate social responsibility programs do not always provide the most effective or substantial partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Here are some ways to improve these relationships for better CSR. 

• How can donors help companies strengthen their CSR programs? 

• Read more about building sustainable corporate-nonprofit volunteer partnerships.

Over the last two years, I have met many incredible people working to advance philanthropy within corporations, trying hard to be effective partners with nonprofits, and trying to understand their place in the work to advance social justice. As problems continue to plague our communities, corporations and corporate foundations have critical roles to play in advancing a just and inclusive community. But to do that effectively, CSR as a whole must undergo a necessary existential crisis and make some changes.

I’ll be blunt. The way CSR has historically partnered with nonprofits has been incredibly ineffective. And downright annoying. For the love of swag, please stop it with these one-day-of-service events where you send hundreds of your employees to us nonprofits to paint a mural or make sandwiches for people experiencing homelessness, or something. Few of us want 400 people, all wearing the same t-shirts, to descend on us in one day.

CSR can be a key player in creating a better society. But to do that well, there are the philosophies you must shift and the things you must do differently. Besides the above, here are other things to consider:

  • Lead meaningful conversations and engagement with your employees 
  • Get your corporation to examine the harm it may be causing
  • Disentangle your philanthropic work from marketing/sales
  • Take bold, courageous stands and accept the risks associated with it
  • Work in true partnerships with nonprofits

Read the full article about corporate social responsibility by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.