June 14, 2021

Time & Treasure: Ways CSR Teams Can Expand Their Programming

CSR teams are continually evolving, as are their programs. Now more strategic and impact-driving than volunteer days or donation drives, CSR programming ties back to mission and influences growing communities. Learn how some corporations are giving back better.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has never been more popular as both business and consumer mindsets are profoundly shifting. CSR was born out of the modern company’s desire to remain socially accountable and conscious of its impact on the world. Incorporating ways to give back economically, socially, and environmentally has proven to be a vital addition to any conscious company’s business model, highlighting the values a business holds are just as important as it’s skills and abilities.

And more and more consumers are on-board. According to a recent survey from Aflac, consumers, workers, and investors are putting increasing pressure on American corporations to make meaningful contributions to the greater social good. They found that 77% of consumers are willing to purchase a product or service if the company demonstrates a commitment to addressing social, economical, and environmental issues; 73% of investors agreed. 

What does this mean for your business? It means that corporate social responsibility is a non-negotiable part of the future of any modern company. Not only can implementing CSR programs benefit the community, increase customer loyalty, boost your brand’s public image, and forge a stronger bond between employees, but it can also help to step away from the bottom-line and feel more connected to the world around you.

Classic CSR Programs

Commitment to sustainability and community welfare has led many companies to promote volunteerism among employees. Working locally to plant trees, clear litter, work with the homeless, etc, can establish an organization’s reputation for being community-minded, as well as boost employee morale. Companies also give back through monetary means, giving a portion of each year’s proceeds to a nonprofit partner or direct giving by donating to a charity. 

These root programs are valuable and thriving, but CSR teams have started moving away from transactional models to find more ways to align their giving with company missions and harnessing the resources they already have on hand. CSR grantmaking

Growing CSR Program Trends

Scholarship Programs

Companies like Coca-Cola are improving opportunities for the next generation by investing in promising high school students with it’s Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. The foundation offers competitive grant and scholarship programs to young people who are creating positive change and “refreshing” the world. 

Consider implementing your own scholarship programs to nurture industry leaders of tomorrow, encourage your current employees to further their own education, or to celebrate the accomplishments of your workforce's children. All tie your mission back to betterment and continual innovation, and can strengthen your community and industry at the same time.

In-Kind Giving

In-kind giving is a way to deliver goods or services to a non-profit organization, such as office equipment, computers, and software or administrative support. Companies like Benjamin Moore have implemented the Giving Moore program where educational programs, housing developments, and historic-architecture preservation organizations can turn to the paint company for supplies to further their efforts and mission.

In-kind giving can be a meaningful way for corporations to make a contribution of much-needed assets other than cash, as well as align their gifts with their brand’s image.

Pro-Bono Work

Pro-bono work gives employees the opportunity to use their professional skills to help people and communities tackle complex economic and social issues. For more than ten years, IBM Service Corps employees have partnered with nonprofits, government, and civic leaders to use their skills to address high-priority issues in education, sustainability, health, and economic development. 

IBM employees are encouraged to take weeks off, with pay, to volunteer their skills. This investment has proven beneficial to IBM, as employees return with a renewed commitment to client service, sharpened technical skills, and cultural experience.

Employee Emergency Support

Protect the core of your business by establishing an employee assistance plan for those affected by disaster or hardship. Hilton supports its employees with the Hilton Team Member Assistance Fund, a donation-matching fund that includes both monetary gifts and Hilton Honors Points to aid their staff during challenging situations. 

Access to professionals who can assist with the emotional impacts of disaster, responsive relief grants, and help accessing available benefits can go a long way in making employees feel secure. 


A cornerstone of a successful corporation is the role it plays in the world and how it gives back to your employees, your community, and your environment. Whether through scholarships and grants, resource donations or pro-bono work, how your corporation gives back solidifies your brand and the public’s perception of it

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