CSR, Social Innovation, Corporate-Charity, Strategic Partnerships and Tech-for-Good
To Ashoka Fellow Charlie Murphy, a Changemaker is “someone who has figured out how to connect their creativity with what they care about and has summoned the courage to do so.”
“They understand the difference, (as philosopher Immanuel Kant pointed out) between “moral acts” and “beautiful acts”.”
He continues, “We perform moral acts out of a sense of duty or obligation. We engage in “beautiful acts” when we do something that is necessary AND attractive to us. A Changemaker is motivated more by a desire for the common good than by duty. A Changemaker has a sense of self that is connected to the larger web of life and finds beauty in building a life-affirming world.
Someone becomes a change-maker by first discovering who they are in relationship to self, other, and the wider community of life. They find that place where their greatest joy and the worlds need intersect.
If you are motivated by the moral and the beautiful this year, take a read of the next 8 points…
1. Start Empathy: If there’s one thing Ashoka Founder Bill Drayton is convinced of, it’s that empathy is the key to a new world. He lays it out simply and logically: The future is change-making; empathy is critical to change-making; developing empathy skills is the key to the future. Aspiring social entrepreneurs must be rooted in an empathetic mind frame if they hope to create any real impact. Or, more simply, “If you don’t have empathy, you are out of the game.” This ‘Guide to being an Empathy Explorer’ by our Start Empathy team is a great place to get started:
2. Do what you love, rather than love what you do:
We are so inspired by the manifesto laid out by our friends at Escape the City, and are thus re-posting them for you here. If after reading you’re not inspired to start your journey to becoming a Changemaker, then we’ll eat the proverbial hat.
“All our life we jump through hoops. Often without asking why. It’s easy to feel stuck – a small cog in a big machine. It doesn’t have to be like this. Don’t waste your life living someone else’s. Don’t wait for permission. Life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter to you. Want your memoirs to be worth reading? Make your choices your own. Be brave. Be inquisitive. Stop using lack of money or experience as an excuse. You don’t have to risk it all to explore new options. It is possible to find work that really makes you tick. Our world is changing. Careers are changing. Take advantage or keep your head down. You choose. The winners are building lives on their own terms. Take small leaps. Meet people. Ask for help. Save. Plan. Change jobs. Build businesses. Go on BIG adventures. Start something you love. Push. Sweat. No one ever changed the world by toeing the line. You are capable of more than you realise. This is no dress rehearsal – make it count. There will never be a perfect time. And the first step is often the hardest. So stop dreaming, start planning…”
3. Grow Your Idea with the Changemakers
The Ashoka Changemakers can support for you every step of the way! Whether you want to test your idea with an in-the-know sector, raise money, or make connections, start your journey with the Changemakers Changeshops.
4. Build a Brand. Building a brand, whether it is for yourself, your community group, your new business, or even just an idea, is the greatest way to turn your vision into a reality. Buildabrand is a good place to start – a one-stop shop to create professional logos and business cards in seconds. They are offering our network a FREE professional, customisable logo, plus an exclusive 50% discount on unlimited downloads and variations of your logo, logo font and logo colours. Go one step further and add, create and order business cards - just use the following codes when you check out: ASHOKALOGO or ASHOKACARDS (depending on your purchase!).
5. Invest in Innovation
Becoming a Changemaker doesn’t have to mean life changing decisions, fleeing your house, car and job to seek thrills in doing good. A Changemaker is an enabler, a connector, and investor in an idea or mantra. Last year Ashoka launched its new crowd funding platform ‘Invest in Innovation’, to 1. Discover Ashoka’s newest Fellows and their ground-breaking solutions to the world’s most pressing problems 2. Choose the innovations that inspire you and help Ashoka support their work and 3. Allow you to become a part of Ashoka’s global community of Changemakers.
6. Grow your network, listen up and listen in.
One of the best ways to start your Changemaker journey, whether you’re at work, on the move, or pondering life on a Sunday afternoon, is through the conversations happening in Social Media. Twitter can be a creative, professional way to connect with people. Utilize it! A great start is following these top 500 ‘tweople’ in the world of social enterprise and social good. Listen, engage, re-tweet, share - #bethechange!
7. Create a Changemaker Campus:
Get you, your school or university involved with Ashoka U! We believe higher education can help society innovate at the rate the world is changing. Dig in and start using your time as a way to strengthen your leadership skills. Be a Changemaker while at Uni in 2013, and develop and refine your skill set in order to prepare to be a force for social good. This report “Changemaking 101: A Student Guide To Social Entrepreneurship” is quite literally amazing.
8. Search, for Good
Making a difference could be as easy as a single click, with web browsers now clued up to make donations toa charity of your choice. Read this story from Mashable to change your habits, chose, click, and fundraise!
CSR for CSR – how can charities capitalize on this?
Tips for Creative Alliance: developing strategic volunteering programme
1. Appeal to the skills of the companies you work with, meet their HR team to consider the learning and development goals, and how your nonprofit can become integrated. The easiest place to start is with the corporate values. Align your partnership pitch with the same idiosyncratic ideology the company uses!
2. Know your audience – many larger companies will offer a full brief as to the skillset and professional distribution across the organization. Market your organization and any volunteering activities directly into the hands of the employee skillset. Partnering with a large media firm? Consider setting a one-day volunteer challenge with teams of new graduates to create, develop and pitch a re-brand for your charity. Your partner will be impressed!
3. Consider the impact – how can the time of one employee volunteer create a direct and important impact on your charity its beneficiary? A pitch for time and skills should be no different to a pitch for financial support – integrate your best campaign and fundraising skills into volunteer recruitment. Couple this with the desired impact and KPIs of the corporate partner and you will have a mutually beneficial, strategic volunteering programme that shows real impact while providing professional development for the employee. You may not need to provide metrics and numbers.
4. Be a money-making matchmaker – productise the partnership! In a time of limited resources, investors and budget holders want to see a return on that investment. Charities are now beginning to develop ‘products’ to pitch and market to companies, which will generate financial/business return. The government’s Big Society backs this scheme, and never before has social enterprise been so ‘in vogue’. Still confused? Take the age old Employee Volunteering Day – this has long been a way for conservation charities to attract time, skills and investment to their organization, to carry out much needed hands-on work while generating an extra slice of income through a per-head fee or suggested donation. Charities are now developing this concept beyond EVDs, beyond Cause Related Marketing to anything from practical workshops, pop up business enterprises, ticketed events run by corporates, skilled ‘hit squads’ in multiple small charities – all of which can charge a per head fee, plus profits from whatever ‘product’ you create.
CSR and Employee Volunteering – the new frontier
CSR – a quick overview
One of the most common challenges to the success of a corporate-charity partnership is engagement across every level or the organization. The solution? Re-energise the corporate partnership by offering multiple scale access points for employee engagement – be it an online quiz, a documentary film screening, a skilled volunteering opportunity or team volunteering day. This article will discuss key themes in a new frontier of CSR – Individualism in Community Investment, and Innovation in Partnership and Engagement.
Self Interested Altruism and Boosting Brand and Reputation through CSR
The age-old, one way stream of donor to done-ee (!) is long gone – companies, employees and individuals don’t expect to get nothing for something. Companies want to see a return on investment of partnering with a charity – through increased employee engagement, happiness, boosted company culture, profitability and evidence of impact on the ground. It is increasingly important to come prepared with a clear return on investment for a partnership pitch - for the individual employee, the consumer and for the brand.
- Corporate-charity partnerships are increasingly crowd sourced
Corporate-charity partnerships are increasingly crowd sourced by the employees, rather than dictated from ‘the top’ – charities should be considering the lifetime value of inspiring a skilled employee at the world class companies, and by this I of course mean the financial and resource value. Offering an employee an engaging ‘hook’ through a low commitment, one off ‘event’ or activity they can do from their desk will offer them a step on your volunteer ladder, choosing the level of impact, time, commitment and money they send your way. Consider employee volunteers no differently from donors – companies and charities should allow employees, just as they would individual donors, the freedom to choose what and how they support a cause with their time, skills and money, and having a choice and influence over the impact of this.
- Boosting Brand and Reputation through CSR (for Public Relations, Investor Relations, Brand Recognition)
In a recent survey of corporate charity partnerships, 92% percent of companies considered Brand and Reputation to be the key driver in developing a partnership with a charity. Endorsement and recommendation of a great cause will have a direct impact on external and internal investor relations, brand and reputation.
Viewing the CSR debate from the perspective of branding paints a new picture of a complex network of relationships between ideas, interest groups, products and consumption and global supply chains, global trade issues and the interface between governments, companies and charities.
A ‘good’ corporate brand and reputation will directly impact consumption patterns in today’s market of sustainable consumption, and increase an employee’s perception and drive to work for a company doing good things - thus directly impacting the bottom line.
Innovation in Partnership and Engagement
Less money available in the private sector means companies must be more creative with their nonprofit partnerships. For charities, less money available to the third sector means that charities have to get much more strategic with their corporate partnerships! Unfortunately for charities, it also means the corporate philanthropy market and access to core funds is increasingly competitive, and companies want to see a much higher return on investment that those good ol’charity of the year partnerships.
- Strategic Volunteering
Strategic volunteering is exactly what you think it is - a new component of corporate volunteering but this time directly aligned to business, actively developing core corporate goals and targets. 71% of businesses believed that offering skills and other non-cash resources would make much more of an impact on their charity partner’s mission delivery than purely cash-based relationships.
- Direct Business Benefits to Strategic Volunteering – CSR for HR
Firstly, companies are merging their HR strategic goals with CSR – to incorporate core corporate values, learning and development goals with ‘giving back’ to the community. Secondly, there is much hype surrounding the HR benefits of a solid CSR policy within a company – from employee retention, to happiness, to being able to attract the best graduates Generation Y has to offer. Profit with purpose never has never been such a phenomenon.
Milan Kundera - The book of laughter and forgetting
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