Overcoming ‘compassion collapse’ with crowdsourced CSR

Getting individuals involved in helping to tackle the world’s immense problems — poverty, hunger, unemployment, environmental issues — is a tough task. People don’t feel they can make a difference.

“The problems we know are so big that compassion collapse gets in the way of taking action,” Premal Shah, president of Kiva, a nonprofit microfinancing site, said in a keynote at Business4Better.

Premal Shah

Kiva tries to overcome this problem with a website that makes social issues personal and “human scales” the world’s problems, Shah said. The site provides information on entrepreneurs, such as a 25-year-old woman in Kenya needing a loan to help with her business, and enables individuals to make loans. Continue reading

Zappos Measures What Really Matters to its Business

Zappos has a transformative vision of business metrics.

At Business4Better, Zappos’s Jamie Naughton presented on the company’s famous customer service culture.We heard the normal stuff: 365-day return policies and surprise shipping upgrades. Zappos even offers new, just-trained employees cold, hard cash — up to $4,000 — to quit if they think the culture isn’t a fit for them. Better to get rid of them fast before they ruin a good thing.

What blew me away, though, was how they measure success in their call center. A company based on service, Naughton explained, can’t measure performance based on call time, time to resolution, or even sales revenue per employee. What matters, the whole point of the phone conversation, is for the employee to connect with the customer. It’s about building relationships. Relationships sell shoes. So Zappos needs to measure that. Continue reading

Web Design Company Gets Business Benefit from Giving Back

Tim Frick, president of Mightybytes, a Chicago-based web development firm, got fed up. After weeks of watching footage of oil-soaked pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP spill,  he had to do something. He rode his bike.

Tim Frick on Climate Ride

Tim Frick in the redwoods during Climate Ride

“When you are angry, take it out on your legs,” he told his audience at Business4Better.

Frick joined ClimateRide on a multi-day ride from Ventura, Calif. to San Francisco. A lucky case of bronchitis slowed him down, and he ended up getting a behind the scenes look at the organization from the “sag wagon.” A love affair was born. Continue reading

Midsize Businesses: Follow Your True North and Grow

Reconciling a balance sheet or analyzing data for the next great product is not the only metric that drives the success of great companies. Rather the secret sauce has to do with empathy for the world around you.

It is not just business for better, it is better for business, says Dev Patnaik, CEO of Jump Associates and author of Wired to Care who opened up the Business4Better show here in Anaheim.

He implored businesses to reconnect with their humanity and gave examples of companies that are doing this today. “When we are fact-based and living our lives with PowerPoint data, we are only bringing in a part of our brains every day to work, says Patnaik. “You have to have that connection and get out beyond your walls and spend the time in the real world.” Continue reading

10 Twitter Accounts to Follow for Earthday

Here on the Business4Better blog we talk about all facets of corporate social responsibility, CSR, but in honor of earthday, today we are going to focus on the environment and sustainable existence.

To start the day on the right foot, here are my top ten Twitter accounts to follow to be ‘in the know’ on the topics of sustainability: Continue reading

Technology and the Nonprofit: A Blog Roundup from Stanford Social Innovation Review

This post is by guest blogger Mary Harrison, Stanford student and Stanford Social Innovation Review intern.

The field of technology is one important area of successful partnerships between nonprofits and businesses. Health care, education, and banking are three sectors that are currently using groundbreaking technology partnerships between businesses and nonprofits.

These technologies are often very simple and inexpensive but can make an extraordinary impact in people’s lives. Nonprofit/business partnerships can provide benefits to both organizations involved.

Here are some recent Stanford Social Innovation Review blogs that have been written about innovative partnerships. Continue reading

Top 10 CSR Pros To Follow On Twitter

Twitter.comSocial Media is often thought of as a place to express oneself to the world; sometimes selfishly and for personal gain, and sometimes for the betterment of the world around us. It has proved to be a powerful tool for social good.

People are using social media to organize and create a better world.

No where is this more evident than in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Every step a company makes, whether it be good or bad, is easily broadcast over social and consumers expect organizations to be responsible citizens in their communities more than ever.

With that in mind, below is a list of the most influential and, in our opinion, interesting CSR thought leaders to follow on Twitter. Continue reading

Defining Sports and Social Change: Sports Programming as a Development Tool

This post, second in a series of three, is by guest blogger Howard Brodwin of Sports and Social Change, a sports marketing firm focused on cause marketing, CSR and social enterprise development.

In the first segment of this series, I talked about sports programming for underserved populations, including sports for people with disabilities and programs for economically disadvantaged communities. Here, I’m focusing on sports programming that operates as a developmental platform to tackle specific social issues. These programs are similar to the ones mentioned in the previous post as both are rooted in providing a sport or activity, however the end goal here is a bit different. Programs in the development space have specific outcomes attached to their programs such as literacy and education, disease prevention, or peace building and reconciliation, and the sports activity is central to initiating that change. Defining Sports and Social Change

While there are many on-going “sport for development” initiatives, what’s also common in this category are programs implemented to address immediate issues that arise during a humanitarian crisis, natural disasters and in conflict/post-conflict zones. Continue reading

Volunteering 20 Minutes at a Time

Do you have busy employees that can’t give large amounts of time for charitable volunteering due to other commitments and a busy lifestyle?

Then try micro-volunteering.         

Micro-volunteering leverages employees’ skills and can be done entirely online via a laptop or even smartphone in increments as small as 15 minutes.

Here is how it works: A non-profit posts a small project or question that requires professional expertise. The request must be something that can be solved online, able to be completed in less than 3 hours and have a clear deliverable: Think marketing or communications projects, a finance problem or a graphic design need. Through a platform delivered by Sparked.com, the request is then routed to individuals or groups of individuals that have an expertise or interest in that area. Volunteers can jump in. Continue reading

Tips For Participating In #CSRchat Wednesday, March 20th

We’re very excited at Business4Better that we will be part of #CSRchat on Twitter tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20th, 3 PM ET, sharing some of the results from our recent survey of midsize companies concerning steps they are taking toward being more socially responsible.

Representing Business4Better on #CSRchat will be Scott Vaughan, CMO of UBM Tech who is B4B’s volunteer director of marketing. Scott will have the results of our mid-market CSR survey in front of him and will be sharing some of the more significant findings.

If you haven’t participated in a Twitter chat before, here are a few tips to guide you: Continue reading