Localizing Corporate Philanthropy Efforts on a Global Scale

By Liz Bardetti

Creating a corporate social responsibility program is something today’s businesses take very seriously. Blame it on the uprising of technology and social media or even the increase of Millennials in the workplace. Today’s employees and candidates are watching the actions of organizations, expecting to see some stance on issues and challenges facing the community in which they conduct business. It’s no longer acceptable to be prosperous without giving back, which is all the more inspiring. Of course, planning a program that appeals to all employees increases in difficulty the larger and more widespread the organization.

Understanding the World of Work and Giving

A 2016 survey of 272 multi-billion dollar companies breaks down global CSR trends by continent, unveiling just how varied the approach to giving and community involvement is beyond borders. To understand what resonates, we looked at current giving and how nations approach their programs:

  • Africa (mainly South Africa): 50% of giving is done through foundation cash and 49% is direct cash, leaving only 1% to be non-cash (pro-bono, volunteering, etc.)
  • Asia: 74% of giving is direct cash, 15% is foundation cash and 11% is non-cash
  • Europe: 59% of giving is direct cash, 33% is foundation cash and 8% is non-cash
  • Latin America: 54% is direct cash, 29% is foundation cash and 17% is non-cash

Another variant is the focus of giving and volunteering. In Africa, the survey reports, 93% of schools are public and face many struggles, inspiring a higher percentage of South African businesses to support educational investments. The environment and sustainability interest Asian corporations most, while Latin America continues to concentrate on supporting community causes dealing with children, poverty and education. Meanwhile, crisis response to refugees has European companies shifting attention to hosting and supporting the influx of people.

The Problem? Localization.

Executives know how important (and difficult) it is to implement a CSR program that satisfies every employee and unfortunately participation is the next greatest challenge. The best way to up the number of participants is to choose issues and organizations that touch closest to the workers themselves. Often, businesses turn to local nonprofits and problems that occur in their zip code.

When your company employs people in dozens or hundreds of zip codes – or spans operations over borders and across seas – scaling that localization seems impossible. Especially the closer your organization holds brand initiatives like CSR and outreach.

The Glocalization Solution

Glocalization is traditionally a marketing term referring to thinking globally but acting local. As Rahul Mitra (@rahulmitra) explains, culture applies to just about any business effort, including CSR.

“…culture does matter, both in terms of deciding what the social role of the organization is in a particular context (and thus, what can be reasonably and realistically expected of companies), and in framing CSR methods and practices…”

His approach to building global CSR on a local scale takes delegation of authority. When companies allowed employees to choose the charity to which they donated time and money, participation rates increase. One organization saw a 79% increase in donors and 73% increase in donations when they expanded their campaign model to include more than one charity. Mitra urges corporations to allow subsidiaries the freedom to plan local efforts but still be held accountable by the parent company.

Revisiting your company’s mission and values is a great way to begin dialog around multinational CSR programs. All employees and subsidiaries work within and under and for those solid truths, so building efforts around them will ensure alignment.

Companies all over the world are invested in giving back and that’s uplifting. Honing in on the causes that will scale to all arms of their organization, inspire and engage employees can be just as uplifting with the right approach.

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Read more here:: B2CMarketingInsider

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