Are you prepared to think differently and lead the charge?
One-off tactical charity initiatives or Charity of the Year type arrangements may on the surface look like a good way to ‘give back’ but in reality, these initiatives are generally very shallow and don’t deliver the desired impact for neither the charity nor the business. They certainly will not enable the charity to benefit from the breadth of skills and support your company could offer if it becomes purely about low level fund raising. So, what do corporates need to do to have the biggest impact?
The inspiring examples below all share some key characteristics of strategic Social Impact initiatives, the most important one being that they all focus on identifying how the corporate partner can use their core skills , not just their ability to fund raise, to make the greatest impact on society.
Deploying core business skills to benefit causes has a multitude of benefits for both parties involved, assuming the skills address a genuine need in the not-for-profit organisation:
- The not-for-profit partner benefits from specialist skills and assets that could be difficult and/or expensive to source
- Corporates who can offer deep and relevant pro-bono skills, provide targeted and valuable support rather than unleashing un-focused volunteers on an already stretched charity management team
- Employees can take part, see and experience the positive impact they and their colleagues are having on the identified cause, building pride in the impact their business is having, and glue between them as colleagues.
- Doing practical, on site work, can help to re-enforce what their employer and brand stands for and believes in, and deepen their engagement
Under the umbrella of their overall purpose of ‘Make an impact that matters’, Deloitte UK launched their social impact programme ‘One Million Futures’ in 2016. The aim of the programme is to help one million people fulfil their potential through access to education and employment. Deloitte work with over 50 social enterprises, charities and schools to achieve this ambition, supporting them with pro-bono work, volunteering and fundraising.
For example, Deloitte partners with Into University, a not-for-profit organisation that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or fulfil another chosen aspiration. Employees will support these young people through mentoring and skill sharing to help them develop key skills for their future at university and in the work place.
Through the ‘One Million Futures’ programme, Deloitte UK has provided over 46,000 hours of employee’s time and has supported in excess of 342,000 individuals, helping them to realise their full potential.
“We want our business to have a positive impact on people’s lives, our teams, customers, suppliers and local communities. Behind the golden puff pastry and freshly made sandwiches, we’ve always been committed to doing the right thing”
Greggs are committed to making good, freshly prepared food accessible to everyone and have been walking the talk on this ambition for decades (back in the sixties, they provided pie ‘n’ peas supper for older residents in the North East.) They have a Social Responsibility steering group, run by the CEO ensuring that their social responsibility ambitions are fully embedded into the overall business plan.
One of the key pillars of their Social Responsibility plan is the Greggs Breakfast club which was established in 1999 to help primary school children get a nutritious start to their school day. This was established to address the concerns about the number of children who were attending school without any breakfast and the negative impact this was having on their wellbeing. Every school is provided with fresh bread from their nearest Greggs shop and £2,000 to set the club up. Greggs staff also volunteer at the breakfast clubs so can see first-hand the difference it makes.
There are now 500 breakfast clubs providing free breakfast to over 32,075 children every school day.
Duracell launched its Duracell Power Forward programme in 2011 with the aim of bringing reliable power to thousands of families affected by natural disasters. Their fleet of trailers, trucks and stationary units allow people and organisations affected by these natural disasters to power key devices such as mobile phones, computers, torches, hearing aids and critical medical equipment.
Deploying the asset that Duracell is most known for, trusted power, to help when it is most needed enables the company to make a tangible and significant impact in times of real need, for example, they distributed more than £760,000 worth of batteries in Puerto Rico at the time of Hurricane Maria.
All of these examples show the significant impact that can be made by taking what you are good at as a business, and deploying it to make a genuine and tangible impact on society.
But it is not just applicable to large companies, as Anita Roddick once said, “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room”.
Every business has valuable assets and competencies (otherwise they would not have a viable business).
As a first step, think about what your business does well and how that could be applied to make a real impact for a social cause.
If some of these examples have inspired you and you would like to explore how your business could make a greater positive social impact, do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.
Claire 07872 624 568