Think HBR

Don’t tell me to be socially responsible!

Grace McLean
NFP Connect
“Corporate Social Responsibility is what the big organisations say they have, to make themselves look good”, “Don’t tell me I have to be responsible for anything, it’s giving - I’ll do what I want.”
Two very powerful statements said with gusto that had me shocked when I interviewed some business owners recently on how they give to the community and to who.
Hunter locals don’t like to be told to do anything, we’re from the Hunter we will do it our way!
I once heard a story about how Newcastle became so parochial.
I’m not sure if it’s true, but it goes a little like this….. When the earthquake happened in 1989 we asked outsiders for help and no one came to the rescue so we said… “stuff you then, we’ll do it ourselves” and we banded together to fix our awesome city and that’s where it started.
We are known to be one of the most philanthropic cities in the country to outsiders, but the more I talk to people in our community and to local businesses, the more I hear that we seem to have lost our sense of local giving.
The research shows that some businesses don’t know how much they’re giving. They give, but they don’t know if their staff are engaged in any way. Businesses aren’t able to see the benefits of their giving and are donating to causes but they’re not sure if they’re giving locally.
Research shows that a structured giving program in your organisation is known to have a positive impact on how staff engage with your company, it increases productivity in the workplace and generally makes work life a little happier.
I know we haven’t lost our sense of parochialism. Having worked for various charities in our region, we still love to know our money is going local, but we’ve thrown the structure we know as Corporate Social Responsibility out and where there is no structure, there’s no impact.
So what do we do? Firstly we change the name to Community Impact Program. Giving comes in all shapes and sizes and involves time, education and money, however giving is always reciprocal. You don’t ever give to get but you generally always do.
Then consider the following:
Gather data: Find out what charities you and your staff might
like to support and why, check out the NFP Connect Directory to
find local charities.
Choose champions: Pick a couple of people who love to
organise and need a little creativity in their role to manage the
Determine your outcomes: Identify what you want your staff,
organisation and community to get out of the program.
Choose your investment: How does giving look? Is it a volunteer
day, payroll giving, up-skilling your staff, raising funds?
Create a timeline: Pick what activities and events you will do
throughout the year. It could be in line with staff retreats or major
events you’re already involved in.
Measure: At the end of the year produce a report on the funds
raised, the impact of the events you participated in, how it
changed your staff engagement, the overall impact it had on your
company. Change what you don’t like and keep what you do.
Your Community Impact Program has the potential to change
the way you do business inside and out. If you’re doing it
anyway, why not take a little time to consider how you’re giving
and who you’re giving to. The impact will not only benefit your
organisation but the community at large and that’s just good
If you’re looking for further information or assistance with
your program contact Grace McLean on 0406 494 424 email or visit
Grace McLean2 Grace McLean
Grace McLean has dedicated her career to working within not-for-profit (NFP) and charities. With ten years of fundraising and building community connections under her belt, Grace realised there was a gap between how charities, business and community talk to each other and in 2015 established NFP Connect, a regional model to fill the disconnected gap.  NFP Connect, an organisation that supports charities to work smarter with businesses through leadership and education and work with businesses and the community for mutually beneficial partnerships that grow the community. Grace was named Lake Macquarie - Local Woman of the Year 2016,  Citizen of the Year 2015 and BGC Young Person of the Year 2014 for her work within the NFP sector.