Corporate Social Responsibility- Volunteering

As a committed Pro bono professional with Catchafire I was delighted to read an article on volunteering by professionals on Fastcoexist. Corporate philanthropy is a well-known, well-embraced movement. It has its pros, and cons which merit a separate article, however, to state briefly, one of the biggest challenges in philanthropy is almost always the victory of ‘activity’ over ‘outcome’.

This may be due to various reasons, one of which is qualified manpower focused on outcomes ( ensuring funding goals are met, impact is ensured, and impact is measured). Problems for small not-for-profit include lack of skilled resources, and scarce funding.

In the aforementioned article Ali Marano provides insight into how corporations might execute social responsibility by making their employees available for volunteering. Catchafire started a movement that has demonstrated success with pro bono professionals devoting skills, and time to meet operational needs of small NPOs, or small social enterprises.

Imentor, an organization that leads the mentoring movement for underserved students is another example of a model that leverages the skills and time of pro bono professionals to be mentors to those students who might drop out before entering college if not for the scaffold of mentors, and their commitment. I have studied their work in detail, and am convinced they make an impact through their volunteers (mentors).

More and more corporations might be able to fulfill their quota of commitment to society by allowing its employees time to work on select causes. From an organizational culture and development perspective, what better way than to watch employees make impact via influence rather than power, achieve self-actualization, and develop skills and commitment for a cause.

Strategic Success feeds off of Culture

I came across an article by Derek Irvine at TLNT .com on the importance of culture over strategy. While I do not wish to emphasis on the ‘over’ part of the conversation, I certainly agree with the writer that culture determines lasting success.

Culture influences employees more than anyone outside of HR  might estimate. Strategy can determine direction of an organization, but it is the employees imbued in the company culture who can propel the machine forward.

Culture impacts hiring, and retention decisions; culture impacts talent development ethics, and it is only the right culture that builds collaboration between teams, and LOBs to foster innovation.

In the article, the author gives an example of Zappos where customer satisfaction is a direct influence of culture. As a Learning and Development strategist I appreciate it perhaps more than a few others that Strategy and  L&D efforts are critical to success, but they are not the only determinants. Neither is the financial acumen or blessings of a VC the determinant of success.  Culture, strategy, and tactics interwoven as the fabric of operation lead to success.

A link to the above mentioned article is here