Jackie Norris: Creating a Standard for Doing Well by Doing Good

Nov 14, 2012

Today's blog is republished from the Ideas Lab on Nov. 9, 2012.

The executive director of the Points of Light Corporate Institute highlights the 'Civic 50' a yearly list of companies that improve their communities alongside their business.

Ben Franklin knew – without the aid of economic modeling, PR professionals, public opinion polls or the 24-hour news cycle – that companies could succeed by doing good. Today we have the benefit of all of these things to confirm Ben Franklin’s intuition.

According to a 2010 CSR Perception Survey conducted by Penn Schoen and Berland, 75 percent of consumers say good corporate behavior is important to them. More importantly, as it pertains to consumer behavior, respondents reported a greater likelihood to purchase products or services from a company after reading its responsibility agenda.

The practice holds benefits for employees and corporate recruitment efforts as well. A Cone study found nearly eight of 10 employees born in 1980 and after, want to work for a company that contributes to society, while more than half say they would refuse to work for an “irresponsible corporation.”

Recognizing this trend, the National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light launched The Civic 50 to identify civic-minded business.  We are proud to have had so many S&P 500 companies participate in the survey.

For decades, NCoC and Points of Light have promoted the idea that companies wanting to stand out in today’s competitive environment and do the right thing should devote resources to building a corporate infrastructure that promotes responsible business practices.  But how do we get there and what is the best, most impactful approach?

The Civic 50, with its unique scoring methodology and focus on seven dimensions, is our initial attempt to answer that question.  You see, NCoC and Points of Light believe that “responsibility” has the most meaning when companies use their core competencies to create lasting change in communities.

The Civic 50 illustrates how companies are using their time, talent and financial resources to empower and improve the communities in which they do business.  From employee volunteering to community nonprofit partnerships, the range of activities are broad and they are making a difference in health, education, child enrichment, poverty reduction and disaster relief to name a few.

The Civic 50 recognizes companies making lasting impacts in their communities, but perhaps more importantly, it encourages companies to make these practices a part of their corporate DNA. Check out the list of the top companies.  We congratulate the companies awarded today and salute them for their achievement.

Jackie Norris is the executive director of the Points of Light Corporate Institute and leads the corporate strategy and employee engagement programs.