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Question: How can companies scale engagement efforts to maximize the impact to their communities?

avatar Craig Bida
Cone, Inc.

“There are two key things companies can do: 1) Focus for Impact: Companies often dilute their influence by tackling too much. Instead, they should carefully choose the impact they want to have, and leverage the power of scale by focusing their resources—like money, people and knowledge—to single-mindedly attack problems. 2) Search and Amplify: Often, great things are already happening in pockets within organizations. Creating flexible, digital, social platforms that enable collaboration can accelerate scaling of ideas and innovation. Companies MUST approach social investments with a scale mindset—leveraging their assets to deliver maximum impact and ROI. It’s all about doing more, with less.”

avatar Michael Nelson
Quogue Wildlife Refuge

“Companies can scale their engagement efforts to maximize impact by spending time planning and coordinating with the receiving organization prior to the event. QWR never had a grand scale community service project before the 2008 Retail Boot Camp Community Service Event with Timberland. Due to the planning and 300 hours of work, we were incredibly productive. The projects accomplished included widening the trails, shingling the Entrance Booth, Painting the Red Barn, wood chipping & landscaping the Animal Cages and Butterfly Garden. It would have taken the small staff of three people many months to complete that amount of work.”

avatar Jon Scott
Clean Water Action

“5 key strategies: 1 partner with NGOs to select activities that connect employees with local causes, with your customers, and with other NGO supporters; 2 include a fundraising component/option so participating NGOs receive financial resources to advance their mission longer term; 3 include activities in which anyone can participate and where creativity and enthusiasm can amplify measurable results (for most people, “volunteering” includes personal philanthropy); 4 keep it fun, even when hard work is involved – shared fun creates great memories and brings people back for more; 5 thank all participants and recognize outstanding effort and leadership.”

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Most Recent Comments

  1. avatar Mark Newton - Vice President of CSR @ Timberland,

    In-kind service builds relationships and creates a shared sense of purpose and accomplishment. Perhaps its “old school” to simply donate cash – but accommodating service, while potentially transformative for both parties, can also tap the recipient org’s resources. Jon, I like your idea of combining service with fundraising – what do others think?

  2. avatar Tracy Fuller - Haverill YMCA,

    The best way to scale an engagement opportunity is to best assess needs via local non-profits. We have been fortunate to have Timberland support our day camp for five years. The resource of having man hours provide spring camp cleanup, enables us to utilize resources that would have been directed towards facilities to now go towards scholarships for additional campers to attend camp. This has been an invaluable resource towards expanding our camp, and enabling more campers to attend who otherwise would not have had the opportunity.

  3. avatar Sticky Craig Bida - Executive Vice President @ Cone, Inc.,

    There are two key things companies can do: 1) Focus for Impact: Companies often dilute their influence by tackling too much. Instead, they should carefully choose the impact they want to have, and leverage the power of scale by focusing their resources—like money, people and knowledge—to single-mindedly attack problems. 2) Search and Amplify: Often, great things are already happening in pockets within organizations. Creating flexible, digital, social platforms that enable collaboration can accelerate scaling of ideas and innovation. Companies MUST approach social investments with a scale mindset—leveraging their assets to deliver maximum impact and ROI. It’s all about doing more, with less.

  4. avatar Sticky Michael Nelson - Refuge Director @ Quogue Wildlife Refuge,

    Companies can scale their engagement efforts to maximize impact by spending time planning and coordinating with the receiving organization prior to the event. QWR never had a grand scale community service project before the 2008 Retail Boot Camp Community Service Event with Timberland. Due to the planning and 300 hours of work, we were incredibly productive. The projects accomplished included widening the trails, shingling the Entrance Booth, Painting the Red Barn, wood chipping & landscaping the Animal Cages and Butterfly Garden. It would have taken the small staff of three people many months to complete that amount of work.

  5. avatar Sticky Jon Scott - Director of Corporate Relations @ Clean Water Action,

    5 key strategies: 1 partner with NGOs to select activities that connect employees with local causes, with your customers, and with other NGO supporters; 2 include a fundraising component/option so participating NGOs receive financial resources to advance their mission longer term; 3 include activities in which anyone can participate and where creativity and enthusiasm can amplify measurable results (for most people, “volunteering” includes personal philanthropy); 4 keep it fun, even when hard work is involved – shared fun creates great memories and brings people back for more; 5 thank all participants and recognize outstanding effort and leadership.

  6. avatar Paul Hendricks - Global Greengrants Fund,

    Corporate engagement can create lasting impact within a community by ensuring that support reaches those in a community that are most directly in need, doesn’t create inequities or disparities between groups within a community, and is used to address the most pressing socio-environmental issues the community faces, as identified by the community. Practically speaking, funders can form strong relationships with groups that are working at the grassroots level or with intermediary organizations who can efficiently make connections with the communities in question. These relationships help formulate a funding strategy which is based upon local knowledge that identifies places where support can make a significant change. Leveraging this nexus of philanthropic desire and community-identified needs in the field is where strategic philanthropy can create true impact.

  7. avatar Jonah Smith - Sustainable Business Director @ Allaince for Great Lakes,

    While there certainly is no one-size fits all answer, in general, companies can best scale engagement efforts to maximize the impact to their communities by first acting like really good investigative reporters…taking the time to do all the necessary due diligence that will both enable them to best understand their past, present and potential impacts of their products or services from a Life-Cycle Analysis perspective, while simultaneously examining the long-term needs of the communities, and then finally discovering environmentally, socially equitable, sustainable ways, to integrate all of those intricate worlds as much and as often as possible.

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