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Differences Between Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Philanthropy

As you start your company’s corporate giving program, you might see references to “corporate social responsibility” and “corporate philanthropy” in your research.

So, what exactly is the difference between the two? 

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is how an organization broadly strives to positively affect the world. It combines their brand strategy, business objectives, and philanthropic efforts. Many Fortune 1,000 companies consider CSR as a core part of their business.

Meanwhile, corporate philanthropy is a core part of enterprise corporate social responsibility and a great starting point for small to medium businesses. It focuses on making the efforts tangible through charitable giving. Companies can then track the time, finances, and resources used for each initiative and report on the impact on their communities. 

In this article, we’ll speak more about incorporating both the market shift around purpose driving profit and the wide adoption of corporate giving programs to meet customer and employee expectations of brands into a core business mission strategy.

  • A conscious approach to business
  • Engaging employees, consumers, and the community in corporate philanthropy
  • Leveraging technology to amplify impact

A Conscious Approach to Business

Overall, there has been a societal shift in the global business community towards approaching business growth in a more conscious way. Many top leadership teams in various industries have redefined the purpose of philanthropy to corporations. They no longer view it as just another business cost but as an essential investment for a company’s growth.

The most remarkable example of this viewpoint change is a recent Business Roundtable. Hundreds of CEOs put forth a collective statement that they now define a corporation as an organization driven by a mission that focuses on community and giving back. 

“Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity … Each of our [internal and external] stakeholders is essential. We commit to delivering value for all of them for the future success of our companies, communities, and country.”

This statement is echoed by the esteemed Larry Fink, a famous multinational investment management firm CEO, to his corporate clients. He said that a “[charitable] purpose is … the animating force for achieving [profits]. Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose, [as they] are inextricably linked.” 

It’s clear now that corporations benefit tremendously from establishing corporate philanthropic programs. Especially since, according to a Cone Communications study, 87% of consumers base their purchase decisions on whether a company has driven productive social and environmental change. 

This fundamental shift in consumer viewpoint makes corporate social responsibility and philanthropy non-negotiables and competitive advantages for brands.

While this conscious approach has been shared in the business space for a while now, more businesses are now thinking about how to more concretely put it into place, which we’ll cover next.

Engaging Employees, Consumers, and the Community in Corporate Philanthropy

Throughout the year, there are many opportunities for companies to re-engage their communities and re-evaluate their philanthropic initiatives. Open Enrollment is an excellent time for companies to establish employee benefits that engage their employees in corporate philanthropy or CSR in the workplace. Meanwhile, Giving Season is a good time to create public campaigns that empower your employees, consumers, and community to donate, increase the support for a diverse set of charities, and amplify your corporate giving impact. 

The first step for companies starting giving programs is to define their brand strategy. Afterward, companies should focus on thinking about how to engage their communities, building a workplace culture around CSR, and then activating the program.  

Open Enrollment Period is when companies consider adding charitable giving to their employee benefits. The societal shift towards more conscious business practices has included prioritizing employee wellbeing, leading to more CSR programs established for employees. Giving your team the ability to donate employer-matched funds is a much-desired benefit for employees, with 71% wanting their employers to provide them with opportunities to make a societal impact.  

Companies that properly plan charitable initiatives for Giving Season maximize their impact on critical social causes in their communities. While corporate philanthropy is important year-round, it’s even more significant in Q4 during Giving Season, as 30% of annual giving occurs in December.

Leveraging Technology to Amplify Impact

Technology is the key to innovation, inclusivity, and increased impact in corporate giving spaces. Because it makes philanthropy more accessible, being a socially responsible business has never been easier. The more businesses that use philanthropic technology, the faster and more common charitable giving as a standard business practice becomes.

For example, Givinga’s Philantech® platform and Corporate Giving Funds make it easy for businesses of all sizes to manage their charitable funds without increasing administrative burdens. We are making it affordable, easy, and effective for companies to launch programs and deliver on giving and CSR goals.  

Softgiving, a leading online fundraising platform that works with livestreamers, uses Philantech® to mobilize streamers and their audiences to raise money for charitable causes. With Givinga taking care of the backend infrastructure, Softgiving can focus on creating a great user experience for their livestreamers. Our easy-to-use reporting tools help their livestreamers improve global communities and transparently share results, such as raising hundreds of thousands for causes like the Ukraine Crisis Funds.

Maximize Your Collective Impact on Communities With Corporate Philanthropy

Companies who understand that corporate philanthropy is fundamental to business growth utilize Givinga’s Philantech® platform to maximize their collective impact on their communities. Our technology provides your employees and customers with transparent and straightforward methods to give back.

We customize our giving programs to suit each client’s budgets and goals, which drives deeper engagement with your teams and communities. As philanthropy becomes a core business differentiator and the end of the year approaches, consider implementing new charitable initiatives with our platform so that your business can create sustained positive social impact all year round.

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