As part of the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas, they hosted their first annual Corporate Responsibility (Opportunity!) Conference today.
When they launched the idea for the event they had hoped to have around 50 attendees. Instead over 150 community leaders showed up to participate in the dialogue about the importance of companies being engaged in philanthropic and community efforts. When done right this is win/win ... as it impacts the social well being, but also helps the company's reputation and brand with customers, employees and the community.
Corporate Social Responsibility goes far beyond what some might think. Many perceive such programs being part of large, multi-national corporations. While the "big checks" that large companies write are part of the equation, it is not usually the money alone that has the power. Enlightened organizations know that the world is changing, and people want to be affiliated with companies that have a cause. Making money, while very important, is not enough, especially to the younger generations of workers and customers.
"Giving back" is not exclusively for big companies, and it is not just about some PR motives. Organizations of all sizes can benefit from being engaged with their community. Aligning the culture of your company with the interests of consumers, employees and beyond creates the seeds of a sustainable organization.
All organizations can benefit from having a cause that they support. But to have a successful program you must have buy in at all levels of the company. Many CEOs are visionaries who desire to impact the greater good, but they do not do an effective job at making sure that middle management and line employees are part of the CSR team.
A company can have the best results if they focus on one thing rather than trying to their charitable attention up into too many directions. Look for ways that your expertise and skill sets can have the greatest impact and work together with organizations that serve those areas. When corporations and non-profits can establish long-term partnerships and alliances then more can be accomplished.
Most important is to realize that it takes time to create meaningful results. Doing volunteer work one day a year will not solve big picture issues. It takes years to make a sustainable impact on causes you support. This is why you must make this part of your culture.
Congratulations to the team at the Entrepreneurs Foundation ( Eugene Sepulveda, Amanda Chiampi, marion Cimbala, Shobie Partos and Peter Frey ) for putting on a great conference that made people do more that listen.... it made people think!
Have A Great Day