Change the World
Charitable giving programs are taking off as more and more organizations realize that social responsibility is important to customers, employees, and communities.
But how do you start one? And is it really possible to change the world one company at a time?
Alessandra Cavalluzzi is someone who has made an enormous impact creating these programs and encouraging others to start them. She currently oversees corporate giving and fundraising for a large company. Her new book, A Million Dollars in Change: How to Engage Your Employees, Attract Top Talent, and Make the World A Better Place.
I recently spoke with her about her passion for corporate giving.
Would you clarify the difference between charitable giving and a corporate social responsibility program?
Charitable giving and corporate social responsibility are often used interchangeably. However, we’ll sometimes see articles and books describe them as being completely different animals. The truth is, they are not exclusive of each other, but they are a little bit different. Charitable giving encompasses donations or grants made to a nonprofit organization. If you’ve ever made a donation to fund cancer research, for instance, this is a form of charitable giving.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can include philanthropy, but these programs have other functions, too. A company might design a CSR program, for instance, to improve the well-being of its employees, the environment, and the community around it. A company with a CSR program might partner with a nonprofit to keep at-risk teens in school by enrolling them in training and educational programs. Companies with CSR programs encourage volunteerism, their employees volunteer their time and talent to help a local nonprofit. It’s not uncommon for a company with a CSR program to reduce its carbon footprint by making changes like installing solar panels or energy efficient lighting, or doing away with Styrofoam in its packaging. All of these are examples of CSR.
The main thing to remember is that both charitable giving and corporate social responsibility are important. A company doesn’t need to adopt one over the other. Which term you use to describe your program will depend on whether you decide to go strictly with philanthropy, create a full CSR plan, or maybe even develop a hybrid—donations plus action. It’s really up to the company. The bottom line is, there is no “wrong way” to give.