Corporate social responsibility is a hot business issue. Why? A recent Conference Board of Canada poll revealed that over two thirds of Canadians want to invest, purchase from and work for companies they view as socially responsible.

According to recent research from the Schulich School of Business, nine out of ten Canadians believe corporate social responsibility should be a top business priority.

As one top executive explained, corporate responsibility can be summed up in two words – common sense. There’s a sound business case to be made for creating a work environment where employees are proud, productive and motivated to succeed.

People want to work for companies that reflect and support their values, so it’s no coincidence, that all of Canada’s top 100 employers are also strong corporate citizens. Being seen as the employer of choice is an increasingly important competitive advantage.

Gone are the days, when the corporation presents a cheque and walks away. Corporate giving now takes many shapes – gifts-in-kind, including equipment, in-house expertise, office space and various products and services.

Some companies encourage active employee volunteer programs, support employee matching programs, sponsorships, or cause related marketing.

Today, corporations are more strategic in their giving. They want to align their philanthropic programs with their business interests. They want the brand recognition and reputation of being the good corporate citizen.

BOARD MATCH

With increased requests for support from charities, one avenue gaining popularity is the creation of employee volunteerism programs.

For example, you can give employees time off to volunteer, make donations to organizations where employees have a volunteer commitment and/or help employees learn about volunteer opportunities.

Most charities try to recruit board members from fields like law, accounting and marketing who can lend expertise to the organization. These volunteer roles also provide you with an opportunity to build your leadership skills and broaden your knowledge of how other organizations operate and function.

It can be a win-win situation for everyone, but finding the right volunteer opportunity is not always easy.

And that’s where BoardMatch can help.

Operated by Altruvest Charitable Services, a non-profit organization, BoardMatch links registered charities to qualified, interested and informed professionals who are willing to share their expertise by serving on the boards of charitable organizations.

BoardMatch also provides both online and in person Candidate Orientation sessions, helping prepare the volunteer for their role on the board and providing information on board governance.

To learn more about this free service, phone (905) 696-5139 or e-mail to boardmatch@altruvest.org. or check the BoardMatch website at www.boardmatch.org where volunteers can register online.

RECYCLING RESOURCES

Support for charities does not always have to be financial. In-kind gifts can also help non-profit organizations cover off other expenses that they could incur. When companies upgrade their business machines, change furnishings or relocate, they can donate the material through In Kind Canada.

In Kind Canada launched its national, gift in kind program in 1994. The program currently assists some 1,200 charities from coast to coast. Through In Kind Canada corporations can dispose of surplus material in an efficient and cost effective manner. Companies do not incur any transportation, storage or landfill costs, and they may qualify for a charitable tax receipt.

Once fair market value has been established In Kind Canada matches the new or used surplus goods with the needs of charities. Surplus goods move directly to the charity in need, while companies reduce storage and administrative costs.

Corporations are able to begin the process of donating their surplus goods on line at www.inkindcanada.ca. For further information about In Kind Canada please call the National Office at 905-816-0900, or e-mail contact@inkindcanada.ca

GOOD COMPANY GUIDELINES

“As socially responsible business leaders, we need to understand, measure and report on the social, environmental and financial impacts of our business operations. “advises Adine Mees, Executive Director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility

(CBSR)

Founded in 1995, CBSR is a national association of business working to integrate financial, social and environmental performance into their business practices.

The CBSR GoodCompany Guidelines for Corporate Social Performance are a set of guidelines that outline what companies can do to become more socially and environmentally responsible.

The guidelines provide an approach to implementing corporate social responsibility and assist in developing benchmarks against which a company can measure its social performance.

Download an abridged copy of the guidelines at www.cbsr.ca.

Anne Day

Anne Day

Company of Women

I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.