Let me let you in on a secret: Corporate Social Responsiblity (CSR) is a two-way street.
Non-profits face challenges such as constrained resources, but that doesn't mean we can't give back to our partners. It is as much the non-profit's responsibility to support the good work of their corporate partners as the corporate partners to support the mission of the non-profit.
As we learn in kindergarten, it is better to give and not just receive.
How do we go about elevating CSR to the next level? Here are a few of the approaches we take at MIND Research Institute:
1. Create A Vision Together
The vision is in your mission statement, whether you are a non-profit or the CSR department. It's what the world would look like in your ideal future.
What overlaps in your visions? How are they connected? How can your visions support each other?
Our partnership with Fluor, for example, directly supports their goals in education:
Education, particularly the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), is a foundational component of success in the 21st century and crucial for society’s ability to innovate, problem-solve, and compete. Fluor invests in programs that encourage students to pursue STEM disciplines, preparing the next generation for success in the rapidly changing global environment.
2. Get Employees Engaged Together
This past holiday, MIND supported Fluor and the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana's Holiday Homework Event. From collecting toys and gift cards, sending teams to help set-up the Holiday Homework Event and distributing gifts, MIND colleagues offered their time, skills and resources.
When employees of different partners work together, they form relationships that strengthen the partnership and create a community around the vision.
MIND Colleague Jennifer Fletcher arranges gifts so students can go shopping for their family.
Fluor also introduced MIND and the Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley, with whom we recently hosted a Family Math Night. As a result, our programs result in a disproportionately larger social benefit than if we were working alone.
3. Share and Create a Community
One of the often-overlooked ways a non-profit can give back is by sharing the other great works of their corporate partners. Sharing through social media, word-of-mouth and newsletters not only generates goodwill with CSR relationships, but also provides great content and opportunities to build the community at large.
MIND is excited to share the Fluor Engineering Challenge with the students and teachers we work with across the nation. In the challenge, students get hands-on with an engineering problem. The versatility of the challenge: open to all K-12 students around the world, individually or in groups, makes it appealing to a wide audience!
By sharing opportunities like the Fluor Engineering Challenge with our entire audience (educators, partners, parents included) we are building a community of like-minded individuals. Individuals with a vision similar to ours: to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems.