Ask a CSR Friend: Integrating CSR Impact Company-Wide

Jun 5, 2024

Looking for CSR advice?

Hear from our experts in our Ask a CSR Friend monthly column.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, we know it takes a village to create vibrant workplaces where employees are equipped to contribute to the communities and causes they care about. So, when you need a trusted advisor to lean on, rely on Points of Light to be Your CSR Friend. Each month, our experts share their wisdom and wit to address a specific but often universal challenge related to your work as a corporate social impact practitioner.

Have questions about employee community engagement? Submit your question and it may be featured in a future blog post.

Dear CSR Friend,

We’ve really hit our stride and are consistently achieving our annual employee volunteering and giving goals. We have the right infrastructure in place to support employees no matter how they choose to contribute to the causes and communities they care about it. But I feel like we could be doing more as a company. So much of how we invest in communities seems to be dictated and led by our small corporate citizenship team. What could we be doing to take our company’s social impact strategy to the next level?

Leveling Up in Las Vegas

Dear Leveling Up in Las Vegas,

Congrats on achieving your goals and wanting to take things up a notch! I’ve got a proposal for you — one that is based on evidence and not just anecdotes. To unlock your company’s full potential for doing good, start by thinking outside the lines of what you and your mighty team are responsible for.

Each year Points of Light and partners, True Impact and VeraWorks, celebrate the top 50 community-minded companies in the U.S. Did you see the announcement of the 2024 honorees of The Civic 50 last month? One of several things these honorees have in common is integrating social impact across different business functions. I’ve even got stats to prove it – 100% of this year’s honorees formally integrate social impact work with teams that lead diversity, 94% integrate with marketing/PR and employee engagement strategies, and 86% with supplier diversity. And those are just the top functions; there are others!

You might be thinking to yourself – everybody already has opinions on our team’s work, do I really need to engage other leaders or functions? Let’s look at some of the benefits:

  • For the community, it opens up a wealth of resources and services that can address community needs more effectively and help shift your company’s nonprofit interactions from transactions to transformational relationships. Integration also allows for multifaceted support when responding to urgent and evolving community needs.
  • For the company, it scales positive organizational outcomes across so many more functional areas. Integration helps build company-wide buy-in and commitment. It truly demonstrates your company’s values in action.
  • For employees and leaders, it creates shared ownership, increases awareness for the programs you’ve developed and the issues prevalent in their community, and it helps your team better understand those functions so you can create more accessible opportunities for them.
  • For you, if you (like so many of us) are on a small team, integrating your work with other departments allows you to scale your team’s achievements by bringing in supporters, ambassadors, and ultimately partners to help you deliver deep impact for your community on behalf of your company.

It might sound daunting at first and, yes, it will take some prompting and persuasion on your part to demonstrate the value-add. However, the ideas and the work that ensues will blend into shared responsibilities and goals, which allow your company to become a greater force for good – and maybe even a future honoree of The Civic 50!

What does it look like when companies have integrated social impact across other departments? Imagine new strategic partnerships with community organizations that drive an increase in diverse representation in different industries or increased funding for BIPOC leaders of start-ups. It can be reflected in intentionality around your company’s purchasing power, lifting up small businesses and minority-owned vendors. Truthfully, there’s no limit to the impact you can create when you combine business leaders together with your team’s guidance on what communities need and what interests employees. Social impact strategy will be more deeply ingrained in your company’s operations and purpose – and easier for you to make the case for additional resources should you need to in the future.

So, is it as simple as calling a meeting with these other leaders? It can be! We’ve developed a free-to-download Social Impact Playbook to get you started. The section on integration points out questions to ask before reaching out to set up that first meeting and you’ll find more examples of the power of integration from past honorees of The Civic 50.

If I haven’t yet convinced you, I encourage you to join us for a webinar on July 16 when Points of Light and our partners will reveal key findings from the 2024 honorees of The Civic 50. You’ll hear more about the power of integration and why it will elevate your current strategy and unlock additional business value and greater social impact.

Integrating community engagement and social impact throughout your company ensures you’re not just checking a few boxes. Your company will be contributing to a better future, one where communities thrive, and businesses play an integral role in their success.

Until next time,
Your CSR Friend

Learn more about how we can help you level up your employer’s social impact efforts and why your company should join top corporate social impact leaders and become a member of the Points of Light Corporate Service Council. Still have questions? Don’t forget you can always ask a CSR friend!

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.