Edward Granger-Happ, the CIO at Save the Children and chairman of NetHope, writes at the Journal of New England Technology that the face of corporate social responsibility is changing – “it is no longer an adjunct activity for good community relations; it’s about core business strategy.”
Corporate philanthropy used to be about supporting the arts and local community. But now employees are demanding companies to have CSR programs that apply the company’s specific resources to help with world issues.
Granger-Happ says the next generation of CSR is about skill-based philanthropy. Instead of leveraging the time and general management skills of employees, the focus now shifts to working on projects that leverage the specific skills of the employee and the organization. So if the company’s skill is software development, then the CSR program may be helping nonprofit organizations develop emergency response supply chain management applications.
For Granger-Happ, CSR is now also strategic: It’s about employee response and engagement, and also about developing the next generation of corporate leaders. According to the 2006 Cone Inc. Millennial Cause Study, 79 percent of 13-to25 year-olds want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contribute to society, while 56 percent said they would refuse to work for an irresponsible corporation.