Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Look at Giving in 2011: Part 3 of 3 in a Series...Social Responsibility and Giving!

This is Part 3 of 3 in a series. Part 1 is available at: Giving 2011 Part 1 and Part 2 is available at: Giving 2011 Part 2.

More and more companies and celebrities are getting into giving. It is an exciting time in history. In September 2009, Time Magazine called it the "Responsibility Revolution" and the "Era of the Ethical Consumer." Consumers are demanding giving. Time Report html

Despite the economy still struggling to get back on track, giving is here to stay and consumers are demanding it. Cone research found that 90% of consumers want companies to tell them the ways they are supporting causes (that's over 278 million consumers who want to know what companies are doing to benefit causes)! Additionally over 80% of consumers said they would be likely to switch from one brand to another if the other brand is associated with a good cause. Cone Report html

Yet as with many good things comes a down side.

First, corporate social responsibility and celebrity giving efforts often get targeted for their self interest in giving. While there is the potential for and some abuse as it relates to this, it still doesn't account for the fact that companies that are giving those dollars are committing money that wouldn't have been there otherwise. We do all have to start somewhere and starting with some giving is better than no giving.

But why does this have to be a bad thing? Is there anything wrong with creating a win-win scenario. If done well, social responsibility creates a win for the corporation, the consumer and the cause! Plus, even if a corporation starts giving with less than the best intentions, it is a continuum. If they get into giving and have good nonprofit giving partners, they can learn more about it, become more thoughtful and sophisticated in it, and they may even derive more value from it. If their experience with it is positive, then likely their giving will grow too. Over time, creating the partnership can lead to more and more sophisticated donors, corporations and causes - everyone wins!

Second, corporate, celebrity and all giving often gets targeted for corruption, misuse of funds, lack of transparency, etc. Once we get organizations, public figures and others giving, we need to educate them and provide them with the tools and resources to give with ease, transparency and strategy to make giving impactful, sustainable and fun! There need to be more resources to strengthen this capacity!

Finally, consumers are demanding giving and more choice in giving. Cone found that not only do more consumers want to choose brands that are tied to causes, but they want to have more say in choosing the causes they care about (over 84% of consumers want to select their own causes). Campaigns like Chase Community Giving and Pepsi Refresh and others have created online campaigns to allow users to choose their causes of choice. More efforts are being tailored and need to be created to give consumers more choice.

So what's the moral of the giving story? Let's face it...Giving is good, giving is happening, giving is sexy and giving is here to stay. Now if we can find more effective ways to give with transparency; coordinate, consolidate and aggregate our giving across the dozens of giving platforms and players; give more strategically and provide more choice in giving...we will have solved the Giving Conundrum! At least for now!

That is one of our dreams and visions for OneGiving! Thank you for your continued passion, patience and support as we create OneGiving! We will get there...a little at a time!

You can find me at www.facebook.com/pilarstella1 and twitter @pilarstella.

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