According to the Cone Communication 2017 CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) study, 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. Two-thirds of Americans will refuse to purchase a product if they learn that the company supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
It is important for corporations to be transparent about how social responsibility dollars are allocated and what issues they are supporting. Nonprofits also need to be forthright about who is funding them, and how the money is spent.
JJ&W has been a proponent of developing clear corporate social responsibility/giving policies for many years, and urging clients to communicate about them. Whether you are Target (donating 5% of profits in communities where they have stores) or Xerox (involving over a half million Xerox employees through their Community Involvement Program) or Google (with initiatives like Google Green, a corporate effort to reduce the use of resources effectively while supporting renewable power), strategic social responsibility is an opportunity that should not be ignored. Some organizations, like Patagonia, are even choosing their suppliers based on social responsibility practices. They vet suppliers using a 4-fold approach, considering ethical sourcing, social responsibility, product quality and environmental compliance before they select.
Questions your leadership should be asking about their corporate social responsibility policy:
1. Are we supporting causes and issues that have a connection to our business?
2. To what degree are we encouraging employees to get involved in social responsibility activities? (Note: programs designed this way
have the additional payoff of increasing morale and teamwork)
3. How well have we communicated the policy in order to make clear where we are spending social responsibility resources – so we don’t
waste the time of applicants or the department in our organization charged with weeding through the applications?
4. How well have we communicated the results of our social responsibility programs? Have we effectively tracked where employee time and
corporate dollars are spent, and how this time and money has translated into results? Do our employees, Board members, vendors,
customers and other key audiences know about these results?
5. Are we giving where we get business?
6. Are we supporting the masses or practicing focused philanthropy?
In 1991, JJ&W established the JJ&W Behavioral Science Prize, aligned with our values and in honor of our 35th year of practice. Guidelines specify the Prize should be awarded to a person or persons who has/have contributed a significant body of theory and/or research that enhances understanding of behavioral public relations and whose work is available to scholars and practitioners. Recipients come from the field of public relations, social science and business. (For more about the award and a complete list of winners, visit www.jjwpr.com).