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Sustaining Mandela Day vibes

Profit can be used as a power for good. Empower your company to take its mission to the next level with a strategic social investment plan that goes beyond "CSI spend".

BY HEIDI JANNENGA and CRAIG KENSLEY



How was your Mandela Day? The opportunity to mobilise your team to "get out there" and "make a difference" is one leveraged relatively effectively in the ZA corporate context. Yesterday, I bumped into a number of staffers serving their #67mins supported by their respective employers. The dopamine spike in organisations is a happy side-effect and will no doubt see upside benefits in morale (and maybe even productivity) in the next few days.


What if you could sustain that feeling of connection and purpose between your team and the communities they are from and that your organisation serves?


If you are ready to crank up your company’s social investment / CSI / Philanthropic efforts there are a few dynamics to consider? Resources, development opportunitieds and mission alignment.


Beyond the feel-good vibes, there are many other positive and significant benefits to engaging in corporate philanthropy.


FIND YOUR WHY


Before you launch your social investment programme, identify your “why”—your reason behind taking specific philanthropic action.

It will serve as your North Star to keep you focused and minimize distractions for your giving throughout the years. There are many valid motivators behind activating a clear social investment strategy:

• You want to make an impact. When you’re passionate about making a difference, it’s a natural step to support industry nonprofits and want to share the wealth. Whether you want to fiscally support your industry or local grassroots organizations, your company’s generosity can strengthen your connection to the industry you are serving. It helps demonstrate that you are invested in more than making a profit.


• Employees want it. Increasingly, employees want to work somewhere that makes a difference in the world. They want to feel a sense of belonging and part of something bigger than themselves. Organisational culture is a key feature talent seek out in choosing organisations to work with.


• It’s important to your customers. Customers want to see companies that stand for something and support important causes. They are placing increased importance on corporate responsibility— a clear social investment programme is a great way to demonstrate what issues matter most to your company and industry.


• It benefits your bottom line. Companies benefit from both a tax and BBBEE scorecard perspective from directing money to social investment pursuits. A dynamic social investment portfolio establishes a clear delineation between modes of giving and relative returns on investment. With a formal framework in place, funding decisions can be justified to stakeholders and corporate "charitable" activities (like Mandela Day) become more predictable and strategic.


BUILD YOUR PROGRAMME

When first shaping your social investment mission, consider exactly what you want to accomplish with your resources. Decide if you want the programme to focus on local causes in your city or region or if you want to make an impact on a national or global level.


A clear social investment mission aligned with your company mission can help define your giving goals.

Next, complete a cohesive strategic plan, then define and share your goals. When discussing your social investment programme, highlight the social impact you’re making with your donations. In fact, use those highlights to draw attention back to your mission.


Bolster your programmes impact by creating buy-in from employees and other business stakeholders who want to give back. A great way to align with your vendor partners is to collaborate in meaningful ways that benefit your shared industry.


After all, a well-chosen mission will not only naturally align with your employees’ interests and passions, but also with those in the industry who share your conscious capitalistic values.


Donations given by employees, or creating competitions for matching donations among vendors, have been successful strategies to amplify giving.

Tax and legal professionals will be required for setting up the nitty-gritty details of the foundation and require a commitment to remaining transparent about your goals, funding, and actions.

SHARE YOUR SOCIAL IMPACT FROM THE ROOFTOPS

Finally, it’s critical to nail down your social investment programmes elevator pitch. You can already explain what your company does and the value it brings others in one neatly packaged explanation. Now you’ll need to do that for your social investment efforts, too. When discussing your programme, clearly highlight the social impact you can make and are making. Better yet, use this conversation to bring attention back to your company’s mission.


Below is an example of a cause marketing piece GrowZA develops for one of our clients:




Our final advice is this: Build something you believe in.

Focus your efforts on making a difference in that area. You can’t be everything to everybody. Take everything you learn as a leader and use it to elevate others through charitable giving. Profit can be used as a power for good. Empower your company to take its mission to the next level with a strategic social investment strategy and plan.


Feel free to contact GrowZA us at grow@growza.co.za for more insights or advice on developing or deepening your giving programmes.