I sat down with two of the top minds in corporate social impact from Bonterra to talk about building business cases, improving impact metrics, and measuring impact engagement across large organizations.
These are the tips, tools, and strategies used by some of the most impactful brands in the world.
If you’re a part of an impact team at your organization this webinar and blog is going to make your planning season 10x more effective.
Meet the Panel
Bonterra’s SVP of Corporate Strategy, and most recently was the General Manager and Chief Product Officer of Bonterra’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) business. In addition to his experience with CSR, Pete’s passion for the personal and community impact of Philanthropy underlies his passion for day-to-day execution. Prior to joining Bonterra Pete had 20+ years of leadership in the software industry, including at CyberGrants, IBM, and MRO Software. Pete resides in Massachusetts, with his wife and four children.
Before leading the CSR product team at Bonterra, Lauren was in the fundraising software space, working with enterprise nonprofits on efforts to fund and support their missions. At Bonterra, Lauren contributes to the social good community through solutions that maximize corporations’ philanthropic impact and empower employees to power their passion through CSR programs. Lauren resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and some plants.
Susan Hunt Stevens
Founder & CEO of WeSpire, an award-winning employee experience technology platform focused on engaging people in ESG initiatives. She was named an EY Entrepreneur of the Year for New England, a Boston Business Journal Woman of Influence, and to the Environmental Leader 100 list.
Prior to WeSpire, she spent 9 years at The New York Times Company, as a consumer marketing and digital executive. She has an MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where she was named a Tuck Scholar, and graduated with high honors from Wesleyan University.
Who is Bonterra?
Bonterra is an ecosystem of social good platforms that connects the entire chain of impact from giving to volunteering, to non-profit management, and individual case management.
WeSpire was acquired by Bonterra in June of 2023. Why? Bonterra’s ecosystem of social good platforms needed a solution to help companies better engage their workforce in impact programming. This is a game-changer for impact teams.
CSR, DEI, Wellbeing, and ESG managers can now build their business case internally, engage employees, and track the impact of their dollars AND their actions.
The Inefficiencies of the CSR Ecosystem in 2023
Giving in the US is 2% of GDP. It’s been 2% since 1950. That’s right. 70 years with 0 growth.
We have this unbelievable perch to see the flow of information, the inefficiencies, the opportunities in the ecosystem. - Pete Karns
Pete Karns is seeing the majority of inefficiencies coming from 3 areas:
- Poor donor engagement in CSR programs
- Fragementd flow of resources from donors to social orgs and non-profits
- Minimal information flow back to donors about their impact
The 2 Biggest Trends in CSR
Patagonia was recently named the most respectable brand in the world. Why? Not because of their warm jackets. They’re respected for committing to making and impact and delivering on their commitments.
How do you tell that really compelling story and center what you're doing around social impact? It’s not enough to just to talk about the story, but how do you measure it? How many hours volunteered, how many gifts did you make, how many how did you reduce your carbon footprint? - Lauren McCarthy
Companies need to be able to add up all of these measurements to quantify their impact and use that story to grow brand and have a greater impact.
Employee Impact Engagement is Table Stakes
42% of employees are willing to leave their job for one that has greater impact. You can’t get away with minimum engagement.
Whether you're a 25-person company or a 200,000-person company, everybody wants to be part of an organization these days that is driving some sort of impact and some sort of social good impact, right? - Pete Karns
How WeSpire & Bonterra are Helping CSR Leaders do more with less
60 of the F100 brands are working with Bonterra and WeSpire to grow impact programs. They are all facing the same reality; do more with less.
We see a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to enable the day-to-day program leaders & administrators. - Pete Karns
There is a need to unlock more CSR activity by enabling impact teams to run programs with simpler administration, more content, and better measurement.
Better communication to tap into willing donors
Only 13% of employees can easily access ESG programs. 25% of employees don’t even know these programs exist.
The more employees understand the benefits and impact of their giving, the more likely they are to give again
This industry has a time tested problem of a donor who wants to do something but doesn't know how. - Pete Karns
WeSpire’s tools are built to amplify voices and communicate across channels to bring awareness to opportunities that engage employees.
Communication & measurement go hand-in-hand to show donors their impact.
More measurement and efficiency across the chain of impact
If you can’t measure it you cant communicate it and you can’t improve it.
Impact measures that are out there today are well intended. But it can be done a lot better. We're a technology company and we're gonna bring technology to solve that problem. - Pete Karns
CSR teams are trying to answer a ton of questions
- Should we continue to run this program?
- How should we evolve this?
- Is this working?
- Are we seeing the results?
Answering these questions unlocks more engagement and more budget.
Employee-directed giving Democratizes Impact
Your employees are the ones making the impact and doing the work.
These are the people who are actually using their time, money, and energy to try to make an impact. Maybe it's only a $5 contribution, maybe it's five hours of volunteerism, but they’re using their own personal resources to make an impact. - Lauren McCarthy
If employees are investing their resources they want to know the outcomes and the impacts before they keep giving.
The business case for CSR and going good
Pete, Lauren, and I each covered our keys to developing a strong business case for doing good:
- Know why you're doing good. What is the objective and how will it be measured?
- Tie it to something that already exists
- Be patient. You may need to build a wave of resources and action over time
- Use multi-threaded programs to engage employees across actions and channels
- Communicate. You need to say something 7 times to make it stick.
- Tell a good story. Inform people of the outcome you are driving.
- Understand what drives your most engaged employees. They are ripe for more engagement.
- Capture impact data that helps tell your story.
- Get leaders involved. Leaders send the message of encouragement and permission to be involved.
- Think strategically about the non-profits you work with. Find the intersection between the two orgs.
- Build relationships within your donor groups. They are more likely to give if they give together.
- Build an ecosystem. Open up your engagement with customers & partners.
Now I would like to hear from you!
How are you creating a leading-edge social impact initiative? Or are you just at the beginning of your journey?
Join the discussion by signing up for WeSpire: Live and coming to our session on the 4th Thursday of every month.
WeSpire: Live! is all about community engagement and we would love your input! If you have any questions, topics, or emerging themes you want discussed in this upcoming session, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!