April 22, 2010

4 examples of corporate social responsibility done right


JD LasicaHere at Socialbrite, we’re always looking for sterling examples of how the corporate sector is contributing in genuine ways to the social good. Those bridges between the for-profit and nonprofit/social good sectors are becoming increasingly vital.

So I was jazzed to see the presentation by Beth Kanter and Kami Huyse of Zoetica yesterday at NewComm Forum in San Mateo, Calif., on what they’re calling “lethal generosity” (a term from Shel Israel’s “Twitterville”). The discussion provided some clarity around the difference between corporate social responsibility, cause marketing and what the Zoetica folks call lethal generosity: “when a corporation applies its core competencies to advance social change in a way that contributes to business results and gives it a competitive advantage.”

Without going into whether the term will catch on (I think it probably won’t — it’s really just CSR done right), here are four fantastic examples of how large companies have been contributing to the social good in compelling ways:

Molson Coors & responsible drinking


1.Over the years, Molson Coors Canada has used CSR to advance its brand — and is one of the few major corporations to take advantage of social media in doing so. (Shel Israel wrote about Molson in his book Twitterville.) As Beth mentioned yesterday, Molson Coors invests more in responsible drinking education than on alcohol-centered events. Molson reaches out to the community to find ways to spread the message of responsible drinking, putting money behind the TaxiGuy program (for those who’ve had one too many) and covering the cost of free public transit on New Year’s Eve.

Shel recounts the story of the holiday season of 2008 when the Toronto Transit Authority canceled its New Year’s Eve free-ride transportation because of budget cuts. Molson stepped in and launched a campaign to replace public funding with private sector donations, starting with its own $20,000 donation.

Molson has a small social media team led by Ferg Devins, who is not only responsible for selling beer but for outreach to communities in need. The team uses Twitter and blogging to initiate community generosity projects.

Molson’s Responsible Drinking Program (see image at top)
Molson Coors blog — they even have a Socialbrite-style Twitter conversation widget at the right
@molsonferg on Twitter (Ferg Devins)
Molson Canadian Facebook page

Tyson Foods & hunger relief


2.Tyson Foods offers another example of a major company tying its corporate social responsibility efforts to its core mission. Tyson has committed its brand to efforts to relieve and ultimately end childhood hunger, and in the past few years been integrating social media into its hunger relief efforts.

Tyson connected with the Social Media Club and began a string of extraordinarily smart and effective efforts to enlist the community. For example, it launched a campaign in Austin in which it agreed to donate 100 pounds of chicken to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas for every comment posted on its blog. They received 658 comments in two hours and loaded up two trucks filled with chicken for the hungry, Beth said. They repeated the success in Boston and San Francisco, launched a user-generated video contest in Minnesota and sponsored a day of service for its social media team.

Tyson Hunger Relief Blog
Tyson Hunger Relief: Our Commitment
Tyson Hunger Relief blog post on outside Twitter accounts involved in hunger relief
Tyson Hunger Relief on Twitter (Ed Nicholson)
Tyson Foods Hunger Relief on Facebook
Sustainability – It’s In Our Nature: Report on Tyson Foods’ economic, social and environmental efforts (PDF) Continue reading

February 1, 2010

The power of giving & corporations doing social good

Pamela Hawley

Pamela Hawley

JD LasicaFor the inaugural podcast of the new Social Causes Show on BlogTalkRadio, I interviewed Pamela Hawley, founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, with a focus on two areas: Corporations doing social good (corporate social responsibility) and how individuals can make sure their donations are making an impact in Haiti.

For my first go as a podcast host, this came out extremely well, so much so that the UniversalGiving team transcribed our conversation. (Idea: BlogTalkRadio should offer transcriptions as a premium service.)

Click the above player to listen to parts of the 40-minute podcast on the power of giving, which BlogTalkRadio featured on its own blog.

A few highlights from our talk. Pamela on donations to Haiti:

You want to make sure that the organization you’re donating to has been vetted, and that’s one of the things we do at UniversalGiving. One way to really help ensure that is going with a small or medium organization. There’s less administration; there’s less layers of personnel because they have to be scrappy. They have to be nimble, and they have to be focused and quick with their resources. One that we promote that is very strong is Action Against Hunger, which helps with the long-term and short-term sustainable solutions to hunger. And they operate in 40 countries across the world, including Haiti. They may not have the Red Cross brand but they’re extremely accomplished because they’re so focused in one area, which is combating hunger and doing that in 40 countries across the world.

Continue reading

February 1, 2010

Transcript of podcast on corporate social responsibility

universal giving masthead

Following is a transcript of the inaugural podcast of the new Social Causes Show on BlogTalkRadio with host JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz and Socialbrite.org, and guest Pamela Hawley, founder and CEO of UniversalGiving. See JD’s blog post on Socialbrite.

JD: Today we have Pamela Hawley, founder of UniversalGiving to talk about some of the corporations making a big splash, a big impact through their CSR efforts.  But first we’ll begin by talking about the situation in Haiti. … Pamela, thanks for joining us.

PH: Good morning, JD. Thanks for having me.

JD: Why don’t we start with your background? I believe you co-founded VolunteerMatch in 1996 and more recently UniversalGiving, is that right?

Pamela Hawley

Pamela Hawley

PH: Yes that is. Right out of college, I had the opportunity to be involved in the web and using the web to help make it easier for people to get involved in our communities. And so, that’s the whole point. How can we create these websites and marketplaces that help people know where are the most effective ways to get involved. And I think particularly if you noted what’s going on in Haiti – it’s just absolutely devastating with the 7.1 earthquake on Tuesday – and what we’re really striving to do, just for people who want to be aware, there are some very key ways to help the earthquake victims in Haiti that are noted on the UniversalGiving homepage, on our website underneath the spotlight.

One that I really like to point to is there’s an emergency response team with an international corps that provides supplies to the earthquake survivors that need that immediate relief. And second, there’s another one that provides educational resources and aid. So a lot of people need to know how to actually get their kids eventually back to school. And so that’s something that you know we don’t think about immediately, that we have first of all the immediate needs of people needing to watch out for their lives and to take care of themselves. And then there’s the other side when people start to normalize, they need to know how to start to get their lives back in order: where they can live; where they can get clothes; where they can send their kids to school. So we want to think in a crisis like this about both short and long-term needs. So if you’re interested in helping out that way, we have both short-term and long-term development projects that are on the UniversalGiving.org homepage. Continue reading

October 13, 2009

Cause marketing with celebrities, social media

Marketing for charitable causes from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaThe smartest guy I know in the cause marketing space is Chris Noble, CEO of 8-year-old Kompolt. With the help of a grant from eBay, Chris’s team at Kompolt is organizing the nonprofit track Thursday at BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas.

Some $6 billion was raised online in 2008 for charity and nonprofits — less than 5 percent of total US charitable giving. Chris thinks we’ll see that trend follow the same growth curve as ecommerce over the next 10 years, and as it does, cause marketing and cause campaigns will play an increasingly important role.

In this 13-minute video interview, Chris talks about the rapidly evolving field of cause marketing — working with companies to promote a social good. Major brands have begun backing charitable causes, and celebrities have as well. Now social media, and participation by online communities, is throwing an extra dimension into the mix.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo. Some highlights:

• The first cause marketing campaign was by American Express in 1980s. A penny of each transaction was donated to renovating the Statue of Liberty.

• Social media is the latest wrinkle in cause marketing, enabling users to have a higher level of direct engagement with a brand. Continue reading

April 1, 2009

GoodVision: Powering corporate social responsibility

This post is condensed from an April 2008 dispatch from Israel on Socialmedia.biz.

Group shot

JD LasicaWe had a fascinating conversation over a lunch of yummy falafels at GoodVision, an Israeli consulting company that specializes in planning and managing corporate social responsibility processes in firms and governmental agencies. General manager Ivri Verbin took us through the site’s mission and mentioned these sites, which also support community efforts:

  • The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire, a good U.S.-based resource for news about the space.
  • Global-demos.org, which describes itself as “a transnational civil society platform. It pools the globally dispersed and fragmented knowledge on the social and environmental performance of corporations. It empowers citizens, unites civil society and democratically embeds global business practices.”
  • Koldor.org, the first Jewish global platform of young leadership. established seven years ago by professionals around the world.

But the highlight came when six young people trooped into the room. Ariel Markhovski, Moran Haliba, Polina Garaev, Yael Rozanes and Gregory Karp were brought in to discuss perceptions of Israel around the world, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other high-minded issues. (Two of the young women wore their Army uniforms.) Their view of the prospects for peace ranged  from skepticism to hope. “I think when our own children grow up, then there will be a chance for peace,” said one.

Continue reading