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Adapting CSR for Small Business

Businessman Giving to the Community

Discussions about corporate social responsibility (CSR) are often reserved for large multinational companies. Their size and durability gives them an opportunity to tackle some long-term societal challenges. However, it is false to conclude that corporate citizenship is exclusively the domain of larger enterprises. In fact, many small companies do more for their local communities per capita than their larger brethren. CSR occupies a different place in these firms. Many practices, from starting a CSR initiative to tracking results, are done quite differently in small enterprises. Regardless, corporate citizenship continues to be an important part of the small business community. It is worth examining in some detail.

First Steps

For many small businesses, the idea of implementing a set of CSR policies seems daunting. What is often forgotten is how ingrained many of these policies already are in the companies' structures. Paul Hohnen for International Institute for Sustainable Development in the document "Corporate Social Responsibility: An Implementation Guide for Business" has compiled a checklist and set of reminders (pg 40) for small businesses thinking about their CSR policies. The document recommends assigning an individual, perhaps a student or consultant, to gather relevant information. It is important for small businesses to examine their policies from implementation to evaluation. Their small size actually makes tracking easier. The close relationship many employees have with the company's stakeholders (in particular consumers and suppliers) simplifies the examination process considerably. Understanding what can be considered CSR is an important first step for many small firms.

Hohnen offers some interesting examples of small CSR initiatives that might be easy to adopt. These suggestions include implementing an environmental management system, making some services or products free for local nonprofits, and sharing CSR lessons with other small businesses. Even something as simple as improving the company's recycling policies can be considered CSR. It is important for small firms to remember that the absence of a detailed CSR report does not mean the company is neglecting CSR; certain aspects of corporate citizenship might simply be taken for granted.

Identifying Relevance

It is increasingly evident that CSR means something very different for small businesses. An interesting article in Forbes by N. Craig Smith titled "When it Comes to CSR, Size Matters" offers an interesting perspective on why this difference arises. The author suggests that because company founders are often still running their businesses, CSR is a more personal matter for small companies. Ensuring commitment from management is thus not as big a challenge. Small companies and their employees also tend to have a more personal stake in the community. This notion makes programs like job training and infrastructure improvements quite relevant to the business. Small firms are less concerned with reputation-related pressures and more focused on ensuring a positive local environment.

 

Ultimately, small businesses should be reminded that they are often pursuing CSR initiatives even if they are not explicitly defined that way. It can be very beneficial to identify these policies if the company is in a position to do so. The goal does not have to be to tackle a major societal challenge like a multinational company. Rather, small businesses should be focused on identifying projects that lend themselves to the company's expertise. Small businesses are affected by many of the same CSR trends as their larger counterparts. Their challenge is to adapt solutions to their particular situations.

Context-Focused Giving, Part 1

Business & Communities Philanthropic Partners

Context-focused giving is a method through which corporate philanthropy and strategy are combined to achieve both social and economic gains. The basic idea behind context-focused giving is giving that benefits the environment in which a company operates and, thus, that company's competitive advantage. More specifically, context-focused giving considers the contextual conditions most important to a company’s strategies and industry, and targets their philanthropy toward improving one of these contexts so that the community and the company both reap rewards from the efforts. When companies are able to clearly identify how their philanthropic initiatives are not only creating good for society, but also for the company, charitable expenditures will not suffer from lack of justification in terms of bottom-line benefit.

In their Harvard Business Review publication, "The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy," Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer dispel the "myth of strategic philanthropy" in cause-related marketing efforts. Cause-related marketing, or corporate giving campaigns that often include a vague link between a corporation and a non-profit campaign, are largely intended to benefit the corporation's public image, acting as forms of publicity and marketing to generate goodwill. They argue that most corporate giving programs lack any solid connection to a company's strategy, and that "the acid test of good corporate philanthropy is whether the desired social change is so beneficial to the company that the organization would pursue the change even if no one ever knew about it" (Porter and Kramer 8).

Context-focused giving involves careful research and analysis as to how Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives dually create social benefits and benefits to one or more areas of their competitive context: factor conditions, demand conditions, context for strategy and rivalry, and related and supporting industries. Company's can engage in successful context-focused giving by identifying contextual conditions most important to their strategy and the health of their industry, and developing a giving program that improves the nature of this context, creating social and economic benefits. Just as individuals are impacted and shaped by their environment, the same is true for corporations. Context-focused giving provides an avenue for which to benefit both the individual and the company.

Factor Conditions refers to the size, quality and nature of the specialized inputs necessary for a company to operate. This includes a company's capital resources, its physical, administrative, information, scientific and technological infrastructure, and the availability of adequately trained employees along with natural resources. DreamWorks SKG implemented a successful context-focused giving strategy geared toward improving education and training for low-income students in Los Angeles. Partnering with Los Angeles Community College District and local schools, DreamWorks created a multifaceted program that combined classroom learning, mentoring and internships to provide low-income students in the area with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the entertainment industry. The program had the social benefit of improved education and better employment opportunities in the community (context), as well as the economic benefit of expanding DreamWorks' availability of specially trained workers. Even for the specially trained graduates who did not go on to work for DreamWorks and instead worked for other companies, including competitors, DreamWorks could still count on the benefit of their project in improving the entertainment industry as a whole. DreamWorks is a part of an entertainment cluster, or "a geographic concentration of interconnected companies, suppliers, related industries, and specialized institutions in a particular field..." (Porter and Kramer, 4).

Corporations may choose to focus on the context of demand conditions when developing corporate strategic philanthropy, or conditions related to the size of the local market, customer sophistication, and potential areas of growth and change in regard to customer demands and needs, both locally and globally. One area that corporations have targeted is improving the sophistication of customers, and thus their demand for more sophisticated products and services. Apple Computer has targeted customer sophistication as a part of a long-standing context-focused corporate giving program that provides schools with Apple products. This creates social benefit of improved education and access to learning products in low-income areas while also expanding Apple's customer base.

Stay tuned for part 2!

EVP Strategies: Inspiring Employees to Volunteer

Employee Volunteering

As part of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) culture, it is important for businesses to have a sector that deals with the volunteering requirements that they will ask of their employees. If you are a business trying to get employees to volunteer, what are the best ways to create a program where they actually want to be involved and are willing to help? The first step is to build an employee volunteer program (EVP).

An EVP is considered to be a planned effort to effectively motivate and enable employees to better help and serve their community through the leadership of their employers. Points of Light, one of the largest volunteer services that regularly rewards EVP's, believes that their 20 years of service creates a strong record for deciding what creates a strong EVP.

In their article, "Seven Practices of Effective Employee Volunteer Programs," they first highlight why EVP's are important for companies to have. They list reasons from increasing profitability to attracting new hires and improving corporate image ("Seven Practices", 2). They then move on to the importance of just having a plan. It is important for an EVP to have goals that are beneficial to society and match the goals of the employees and the corporation. Not only this, but there must be a strategy: the business has to have clear tactics and a vision to actually succeed in doing something meaningful. If the notions of the program are not clear, then employees will not really know what they are working towards, if they do not know what they are working towards, then they won't feel motivated.

Once there is a plan, there must be a way to measure how successfully the plan is being carried out. The company should know what the outputs are, the social impacts of their program and also the accomplishments that have been made. Once this has been measured, the company should share this information with the public and also their employees. The employees have to know what their efforts are creating. Knowing that their efforts are not for nothing will make them believe in the cause. One way that HP accomplished this was by having a Global Volunteer Challenge. Employees were given four hours of paid volunteer hours and were able to earn grants for their preferred nonprofit agencies for logging hours. With this method, they were able to measure how many hours were being performed, which country they were being performed in, and what type of volunteer work was being accomplished. Not only this, HP would actually talk with the nonprofits to figure out the impact of the volunteer work, and then they monetized this information to create a dollar amount of social benefit. The impact of work that is being completed is important to know, and it creates higher engagement.

The design of the EVP, different from the plan, is also quite important. Businesses should leverage employee skills with corporate assets, such as in-kind donations and real estate. The design should align with the core competencies of the company, and it should enhance the operations that occur within the company. For example, the company Timbaland gives employees 40 hours of paid volunteer time and views volunteer work as a way to give back to the community and to bond with customers, business partners, etc.

Another step to realize is the responsibility of the leaders within the company. The company leaders have to be sure to promote the EVP's mission and its goals, and then have to effectively communicate the goals and the progress of the program. Not only do they have to communicate, they have to model their strategies. If they are creating an EVP, then they have to show they are serious by actually volunteering themselves. At Toyota, associates are forwarded "thank you" notes from the CSR Executive Community leaders, or they forward a note to the CEO speaking of the good work that employees have done.

At Giva, Ron Avignone, Founder, leads by example. Mr. Avignone is a regular volunteer at a local homeless shelter in San Francisco and also volunteers as a cook at 10-day meditation retreats making meals and washing pots and pans for 50 people. He also randomly gives away candy bars to people on the street. Mr. Avignone is also very involved with the Giva scholarship program often speaks with the winners and encouraging them to continue their community service. "Service has its own reward. When I complete any service working with the less fortunate, I quickly realize while driving home that I really have no problems. What a valuable insight, and so why pay for a shrink :) My true nature and profound gratitude can be found in the basement of a homeless shelter working closely with people in need," he says.

The fifth step is to have strategic partnerships and to work with governments, partners and nonprofits. Caesars Entertainment exemplifies this ideology. All of their North American properties participate in the Clean the World Foundation. It is a foundation that collects soap and amenities that have been used, which are then sterilized and sent to the world's needy. There was not a Clean the World Foundation facility in the western United States, so the Caesars Foundation provided $400,000 towards a Las Vegas location. To aid in employees being able to so easily help the Clean the World Foundation, volunteer work is integrated into their daily responsibilities. For example, as they are going about their normal work, employees are encouraged to remember to collect used soap. In this way, they are helping out their community and the world! They say that this has led to a more engaged, loyal and happy staff.

Employee engagement is definitely an important part of any employee volunteer program, and employees have to be inspired and motivated for a program to work. An effective EVP is what generates employee support, enthusiasm, employee retention and other tell-tale signs of employee engagement. McKesson does a lot to make sure that employees skills and the core competencies of the company are being utilized when it comes to volunteer work. They have a "Dollars for Doers" program where employees are given grant money when they log their volunteer hours (the grant begins when volunteers hit 25 hours). McKesson does have a core volunteer program called Giving Comfort with which all employees are expected to help, but by allowing employees to gain grant money for their own choice of nonprofit, employees are able to volunteer with organizations that are best suited to their interests and to their reasons of why they wish to volunteer.

The last step is to celebrate successes, to share with the company and the public just how well the program is going. It is also important to continue to learn and grow, to know that a static program will never remain sustainable. Holcim, for example, celebrates successes of their program with a photo exhibition of their initiatives on National Volunteer Day.

For more on how to create an EVP that is effective, or what characteristics of an EVP make for happy and engaged employees, there are plenty of more examples in the Points of Light article referenced above.

Corporate Volunteerism in Different Cultures

Global Corporate Social Responsibility CSR

We are all fairly familiar with the North American conception of corporate volunteerism. The area has produced many of the practices we see in operation today. Now it is rare to find a large American or Canadian firm that does not pursue some kind of volunteer initiative. Spurred on by a vast conglomeration of organizations and charities, American and Canadian firms continue to pursue ambitious corporate volunteer initiatives. But, how do these policies translate overseas? A phenomenal report, by the Global Volunteering Research Project, titled "Global companies volunteering globally" sheds some light on how the conception of corporate volunteerism differs in various markets around the world. Some brief conclusions are shared below.

Arab Nations and Africa

The idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate volunteerism is fairly new to certain parts of the world. Many Arab nations are just beginning to understand how CSR can be incorporated into a business structure. A number of firms are still asking some fundamental questions such as how good intentions can be transformed into a comprehensive business strategy. In general, there is a tendency to think of "doing good" as a set of donations to charity rather than as a homemade initiative. The region also lacks the non-profit infrastructure we take for granted in North America.

Africa is currently grappling with many of the same challenges. Volunteering has traditionally been thought of as a local undertaking nowhere near the scale pursued by some multinational corporations. The region lacks the volunteer leadership organizations present in other parts of the world. As a result, corporate volunteerism has remained relatively contained.

Still promising signs are provided by a number of firms in both regions that have developed successful corporate volunteer programs. Safaricom, a leading mobile provider in Kenya, has a foundation in which employees are given the chance to volunteer through four days of paid leave. Kenya also has the National Volunteer Network Trust (NAVNET), a leadership organization that encourages "harambee", the Kenyan tradition of self-help events. In Saudi Arabia, the National Commercial Bank has coached entrepreneurs and helped with disaster relief spurred on by a CEO who cares deeply in corporate responsibility. Each year more and more firms replicate the good deeds of these peers.

In order to understand a potential future of corporate volunteerism in these regions we can look at the success of South Africa. South Africa's emerging corporate volunteerism culture has been driven largely by its growing business community and organizations like CAFSA. CAFSA arranges business-NGO (non-governmental organization) partnerships in South Africa that satisfy both party's needs. Both regions have a history of active community involvement. The challenge for corporations moving forward will be converting these programs into larger, structured initiatives.

Latin America

Latin America's history of political instability helps to explain how the current culture of corporate volunteerism formed. The region has adopted a culture of civic participation and has begun to put a personal spin on volunteerism. Rather than viewing the beneficiaries of charity as hopeless dependents, Latin Americans are increasingly looking at charity as an exchange of services among equals. Social inequality has emerged as the main target of many corporate volunteer initiatives.

Across the region, education seems to be the most popular topic addressed. Approximately 70% of volunteer programs are based on improving access to education, usually for poor children. Skills-based volunteering has been recently adopted by some firms, but is not yet a widespread practice in the region. Chile's Pro-Bono Foundation serves as one of the few examples. The foundation provides lawyers from over 30 companies to limited resource groups in need of legal counsel. Many of the most successful programs in the region address these areas of inequality. The Corporate Volunteer Councils that have begun to pop up in countries like Brazil and Columbia have made it easier to connect with these kinds of causes.

Despite the early successes of corporate volunteerism in the region, Latin American companies must still overcome a few challenges. The largest seems to be convincing shareholders to adopt it as an integral part of the business. Many firms continue to pursue initiatives that are unrelated to their brand as side endeavors. Latin America also poses some unique geographical challenges. It can often be hard to reach the rural villages that are scattered throughout the region. Regardless, the culture of civic engagement that continues to permeate amongst the youth sets up this region nicely for the future.

Asia-Pacific

Corporate volunteer programs are commonplace in much of the Asia Pacific region. In one national survey, 80% of Japanese firms reported having a volunteer program. The country has also seen the adoption of more and more skills-based volunteer programs in place of what some commentators described as superficial volunteer initiatives. Korea likewise has a vibrant culture of corporate responsibility with CSR giants like Samsung, Hyundai, and the SK group. The countries' intense business competitions have made volunteer programs increasingly vital. Australian firms are likewise becoming experts in corporate volunteering. Younger Australians have come to expect the programs having participated in a number of volunteer activities as students.

These successes have been complemented by an emerging culture of corporate volunteerism in China. Many top Chinese firms originally imported variations of volunteer programs from Western businesses. Now, a growing number of initiatives have also come from China. The country's volunteer programs still depend in part on the Chinese Communist Youth League that oversees many volunteer initiatives. These days, programs like the Shougang Corporation's tutoring of children by retirees are increasingly common in China. Volunteerism is no longer just a part of multinational corporations.

Europe

Like their East Asian and North American counterparts, European firms are developing new ways to master corporate volunteerism. According to a 2010 report from a special forum of the General Assembly of the European Volunteer Centre, corporate volunteerism has been growing dramatically. One German study found that 84% of German companies have established volunteer programs. Socially-conscious citizens throughout the European Union expect companies to offer the programs as a civic duty. They are a sign of positive community engagement.

Some parties worry that corporate volunteerism will be limited by certain cultural challenges. Some Europeans believe that volunteerism is a private matter and should not be mixed with their professional lives. Furthermore, some European NGOs have expressed reluctance in forming corporate partnerships, viewing such acts as violations of their missions. But, these issues should be easy to overcome. Socially conscious behavior, the foundation of a successful volunteer program, is already ubiquitous across the continent.

Conclusions

How are we to interpret the globalization of corporate volunteerism? The obvious conclusion is that it is an extremely positive trend. Ethical and constructive behavior adapted to local circumstances is a great development for the global community. But, the globalization of corporate volunteerism also offers companies a great opportunity to learn from one another. Understanding the successes and challenges of other volunteer programs is an important step for firms looking to develop their own CSR initiatives. Being able to learn from so many global peers will be a luxury for future employers.

The reader is highly encouraged to read the aforementioned study on which this blog post is based. The insights are marvelously presented with myriad of anecdotes from which to learn. Both firms and individuals can learn a lot from its conclusions.

CSR-Minded Employees

Corporate Social Responsibility CSR People & Globe

Recruiting talented young employees is essential for a company's long term vitality. Young professionals are looking for an array of features in their employer, which increasingly includes a company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices. A 2012 Net Impact Report asked students and professionals of a variety of ages to rate job attributes as essential, very important, somewhat important, or not at all important. While work-life balance, job security and good compensation were found to be some of the most essential qualities in a job, two-thirds of students also said that contributing to society and making the world a better place were very important job attributes. Perhaps more strikingly, 35% of students said they would take a 15% pay cut to work for a company committed to corporate and environmental responsibility. In order to work for an organization with values like one's own, 58% of students were willing to accept the pay cut. While enthusiasm for an "impactful" job was a little more muted among working professionals, the study still found that 59% of Millenials (age 21-32), 49% of Generation Xers (33-48), and 52% of Baby Boomers (49-65) said having a job with a positive impact was very important.

Other aspects of the Net Impact study highlighted the link between CSR and employee satisfaction. Forty-five percent of respondents who provided input on sustainability/corporate responsibility in their workplace said they were very satisfied with their jobs. This satisfaction might have been the result of internal motivations. For 58% of workers, the desire to work for a socially responsible company had to do with aligning corporate and personal values.

The appeal of working for a positively-impacting company was linked to a feeling of personal fulfillment.

In order to attract these CSR-minded employees, companies must cultivate their internal CSR image. Businesses in which employees at all levels are engaged in a dialogue about CSR tend to create this environment. By communicating CSR initiatives to potential recruits, companies can begin to differentiate their actions from the altruistic endeavors of their peers. If a business is to attract today's talented and CSR conscious workers, these actions are a must.

How to Host a Food Drive at Your Workplace

The Holiday Season is a great time to plan an event at your workplace geared toward giving back and can remind us to consider all of the privileges and comforts we enjoy, such as food to nourish our minds and bodies. Holding a food drive at your workplace is a great way to support your local food shelter and instill a culture of giving and philanthropy at work. Hosting a food drive is also a relatively easy task, and with a little planning it can be very successful.

The first step to planning a food drive is to select a food bank or food-rescue organization where you would like the collections to be donated. Once that has been decided, contact the organization to tell them about your plans and ask if they have any tips, suggestions or standard operating procedures for the process. Some food banks or food-rescue organizations will provide you with a helpful boost to running a drive, such as collection bin signs, help with food drop-off, or marketing/promotional materials and tips for getting the word out about your drive. Remember that both your organization and the food-bank/rescue organization have a stake in the success of the drive. They will be more than happy to contribute their knowledge and tools!

Most projects are aided by using a team approach; this also applies to running a food drive. Forming a team of individuals, or a committee, to plan and implement the drive can create a cohesive structure of leaders for this project, just like other projects your business may undertake. When you have a team together, you can brainstorm the best strategy for carrying out a food drive at your business. You will want to decide whether or not you wish to hold the drive on one day or several days. The benefit to holding your drive on more than one day is that if some employees forget to bring in their donations the first day, they will have other opportunities. A rule of thumb is to make sure that the drive does not go on for too long, for risk of people losing interest.

After you have chosen a date, decide on the specifics of where the drive, or collection bins, will be located. Good places to set up collection bins are locations that most, if not all, employees pass through or see on a daily basis so collection bins can also serve as reminders/promotional material during the drive. Some examples of a good collection site include the cafeteria, the reception desk, the H.R. office, or even outside of restrooms!

Just like your business uses strategy in advertising goods and services offered, it is important to advertise your drive. Sending out email blasts and posting flyers around the office in visible and frequented locations are two easy ways to get the word out about the upcoming food drive. Make sure that in your promotional material you include important information about the drive such as date(s), collection locations, what materials are being collected (food donations? cash donations? both?, etc.), what organization the collections will be supporting, and information on why food drives are important and how they benefit individuals and the community. Again, many food banks and food-rescue organizations provide promotional materials, often with customizable parts to adjust to fit your specific drive. They also provide information and examples of what type of food goods they collect. These details remove obstacles to giving, such as a lack of knowledge about what foodstuffs are acceptable to donate.

Not only should you decide on collection locations, but also the collection receptacles you would like to use. You can use boxes, bins or bags. Remember that size matters when the time comes time to drop off donations. Medium-sized boxes, bins or bags make for easier drop-off. They should be clearly labeled for visibility (your food-bank/rescue organization may also provide signs or printable PDFs for this). If you choose to hold your drive over several days, you will want to have a plan for what to do with the goods at the end of each day. One option is to designate a committee member or two to be responsible for the collected goods either to ensure the security of the donations or perform daily deliveries to your chosen food bank.

One of the last steps to organizing and carrying out a successful food drive is to drop off the donations! This process should be guided by instructions or tips from your chosen food bank or rescue organization. They will tell you when and where to drop off, or sometimes even offer to aid in the process of collections. Before dropping off donations, you will want to record some measure of how much food or cash was collected. Your food bank may have processes for determining this at the drop-off; make sure to ask if this is the case, as it will make the process easier. If not, you may want to get a rough estimate by counting how many boxes, bags or bins were collected in total. This concrete example of the result and success of your drive will be important for reporting and celebrating the work and donations of staff after the drive is over. Send out another email blast with the results to commend those who donated and re-instill an organizational culture of giving.

Food drives are being held all over the country; they have both a local and global impact and are easy to implement at your business. Just as the Holiday Season is a time for showing our gratitude toward friends and family through gifts, food and celebration, it is also a time for showing this same gratitude and spirit of giving to the communities in which we live.

You can also adapt these tips for planning to host a different kind of drive such as a gift drive or clothing drive. Further, even though the spirit of the holidays is a great backdrop for hosting an altruistic giving program or event at your organization, any time of the year is a good time to hold a food as well! But for now, you can take advantage of the unique setting that winter and the holiday season provides for giving, and plan a drive today!

Recruiting the Best Volunteers

With so many topics surrounding volunteer work, one has to wonder, "Who makes for the best type of volunteer?" It could be an overwhelming sense of selflessness, perhaps the desire to change the world, or even the thought of it being beneficial in the future. So an interesting question to explore is, what appears to be the necessary trait of a volunteer, selflessness or selfishness?

VolunteerMatch has a blog titled, "Volunteering is CSR" that they created to provide information for business professionals (CSR = Corporate Social Responsibility). One of their posts is titled, "Touch Your Employee Volunteers' Hearts to Engage Their Bodies and Minds" by Maura Koehler-Hanlon. She writes that people usually all volunteer for the same reason: it is something they care about. She goes on to explain that one of the strongest forces is intrinsic motivation, and that when people actually care about a cause that they are connected to and truly believe in, they do much better work. This means that when you are talking to your employees about volunteering, the cause definitely has to align with your business goals, but employees will gain empowerment if the cause is also something they care about. The blog post has a strong position on appealing to people's more altruistic emotions. One of the ways that they suggest to pull in employees and inform them of the employee volunteer program of the company is to "tell the story of volunteering" and to pull on "heartstrings." They insist that people should not be afraid to bring up the emotional side of being a volunteer.

There is another volunteer focused company called Realized Worth. They are a global consulting company that helps with CSR but keeps a focus on corporate volunteering. In their blog post, "Want Good Volunteers? Forget the Altruistic, Find the Self Interested" by Chris Jarvis, Jarvis explains who they as a company believe to be the best volunteers. Jarvis writes that people have been complaining that volunteers these days want to know what they will gain by volunteering, and he believes that this is a perfect situation. He states that people will always be inspired to volunteer by random things or people, that people will want to give back or be part of the solution, but that these reasons just aren't enough. He states that when people volunteer, they do so because they are motivated extrinsically, that extrinsic (external) motivation could be the will to "give back." However, while a person may be noble, he states that a volunteer is most valuable when they volunteer based on intrinsic (internal) motivation; having those internal motivators as well, where volunteering meets what the individual is personally invested in, is when great things are accomplished. To back up his argument, he mentions Green and Lepper. The two conducted a study in 1974 that dealt with motivation. When children were rewarded for using felt tip pens, they used fewer felt tip pens. This is because rewards are extrinsic and Jarvis argues that they will hurt volunteer projects in the long run.

The interesting thing about both arguments is that each argues in favor of intrinsic motivation, although they just have different ideas of what feelings are actually intrinsic. VolunteerMatch claims that people who want to do good are thinking intrinsically, and Realized Worth argues that it is actually selfishness that is the true powerful intrinsic motivator. While they are arguing different viewpoints, they can both agree on the fact that volunteering is most successful when people are doing it because they feel something pushing them to volunteer from inside of themselves.

Good Corporate Citizenship

Companies around the world are increasingly focusing on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a means of strengthening their reputations. A study conducted by the Reputation Institute, a consulting firm in New York, gives some indication as to why such a practice is important. The decisions one makes regarding a company such as whether to buy their product or recommend it to a friend is dependent more on the perception of the company than the perception of its products. As 42% of a company's reputation is based on its CSR practices, it is important companies consider what makes a good corporate citizen. To better understand this question, the Reputation Institute issued an online questionnaire asking consumers about the corporate citizenship of a variety of companies. For the purposes of this study, corporate citizenship was defined to include actions such as supporting good causes and protecting the environment. Consumers were also asked if each company was responsibly run and whether each seemed like an appealing place to work.

The top performing companies in the study included Disney, Google, and Microsoft. Some of their current strategies involve classic examples of corporate altruism like Microsoft's Employee Giving Campaign in which employees run fund-raising events for non-profit organizations. Other strategies take advantage of a company's unique resources like Google's support of clean water and anti-poverty campaigns. Google helps non-profits by running free ads and aiding in the collection of data, and therefore has a visible charitable impact. The findings of the Reputation Institute study indicate that the best corporate citizens are those that have messages that resonate with consumers in many regions and extend beyond marketing campaigns. In order to achieve this status, companies must demonstrate how they can use their resources to benefit both others and themselves.

CSR Starts from the Top

As Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has assumed a greater place in contemporary business dialogue, discussion has been increasingly centered on the importance of senior executives in its implementation. While ideally socially responsible endeavors are practiced at all levels of a firm, it is clear that a business cannot become a leader in CSR if its decision-makers are hesitant about the benefits of corporate responsibility. Certainly, it helps a company's charitable practices if its CEO is personally altruistic. The example that executives at Microsoft have set has helped establish the CSR culture present throughout the entire company. But increasingly, the most important role executives play in CSR is their ability to anticipate its long-term payoffs. Rather than viewing corporate responsibility as a short-term cost, wise leaders understand its long-term payoffs such as the boost it provides to a company's reputation, employee morale, and sustainability in certain locales.

A look at IBM's 2008 Global CEO Study provides greater insights into how CEO's view their own roles. Each understands his or her role as an individual capable of looking at the company as a whole. This means they are able to understand trends and their customers/stakeholders' interests. Across the biennial CEO studies three external areas continue to assume greater importance: socioeconomic factors, environmental issues, and people skills. Each of these areas is linked to CSR, meaning CEOs are increasingly recognizing its importance to their entire business. Most importantly, senior executives are able to take a look at their entire supply chain and enterprise, giving them the opportunity to implement CSR values throughout the business. While socially-conscious employees may be able to improve the behavior of their departments, no one has the resources to enact policies throughout the company like those at the top. Given their holistic view and ability to rally workers, top executives are absolutely essential for the growth of CSR.

Giva Scholarship & Community Ambassador Award Winner Essay Series: Joseph Lee - Finding My Identity

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Joseph Lee, Rush Medical College. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Joseph Lee - Finding my Identity

Every day we make a decision about living for the betterment of ourselves or the betterment of others. It is not a simple decision, beginning with the discovery of our own identities. This path of self-discovery has led me to conclude that being Korean American is an unfathomable blessing, requiring that I grant that pursuit of happiness to others. Ultimately, this passion drives me into a career of service, which extends far beyond the reach of the hospital floors, and is a message that I hope to spread across the globe.

The moment I first realized I was different was in the gang-infested streets of Chicago, IL. Born to two Korean immigrant parents, my family was unable to find safer residence. And as a young boy, area bullies would harass me because I looked different. At school, students slanted their eyes and said "ching-chong," while teachers asked "where are you 'really' from." Consequently, I matriculated into high school feeling like a perpetual foreigner. Slowly, I started to wish I was not Korean, refused to speak the language, and even tried make my eyes bigger by stretching them. Two trips to my motherland, however, would change my life forever, and lead me toward a path of identity creation as author Thomas Szasz stated "...the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates."

Prior to my freshman year of college, I visited South Korea for the first time. From the moment my feet touched the grounds of Incheon Airport, I experienced a completely novel sensation: belongingness. Over the next month, I began to realize the privilege of being Korean American, embracing both my Korean heritage and my American upbringing. With such newfound devotion, I enrolled in Korean language immersion classes, earned an Asian American studies minor; and wrote a Senior Honor's Thesis on bicultural Asian Americans while at Northwestern University.

Nevertheless, the best was still to come through a conference titled Young Generation Forum in Daegu, Korea hosted by the Korean American Scientists and Engineers Association. It was through learning of the Hyundai and POSCO Corporations that I grasped the extent to which our Korean forefathers sacrificed, and it was then that I realized that I, too, must serve the Korean community. And I have and continue to do so through my work with the Korean American Community Services, Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Chicago, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Asian Health Coalition. Further, I educate young people about the journey of finding ones Asian American identity through avenues such as the Young Generation Technical Leadership Conference (YGTLC) in San Francisco, FOB: Reflections of an Asian American Life Beyond Northwestern in Evanston, and Illinois Lieutenant Governor Candidate, Steven Kim's Fundraising Gala in Chicago.

With that said, we must not limit our impact on society to the Korean Community alone, but look beyond our own people and the borders of our nation as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace..." I have tried to instill such truths of service in my life, first as a teacher to poor, Black 7th and 8th grade students at Parkside Community Academy in the south side of Chicago, Illinois. And while teaching has been the most difficult endeavor I have embarked on in my life thus far, it has also been the most valuable. Every day I wake with a new sense of purpose in life - to aid others in times of distress. This ambition has motivated me to pursue a career as a physician who treats people in impoverished communities with care and compassion.

Locally, Habitat for Humanity has enabled me to provide affordable, adequate housing to those in need. And through the non for profit I created, the Road Less Traveled Fund, I am able to purchase vehicles for community changers in need of safe transportation. At an international level, organizations such as Invisible Children in Uganda, the Good Shepherd's Orphanage in Haiti, and the Health Development Initiative in Rwanda have provided a means to which my efforts can impact lives outside the comforts of my own home country.

Mere words cannot begin to capture all that has happened in my journey of self-discovery as a Korean and American. And while I have learned many lessons along the way, the one I wish to implement and share is this: "The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all" (Leo Reostein).

 

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