Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) growing in Australia?

It’s still early days here in Australia, but there is a notable rise in the roll out of Corporate Social Responsibility plans and activities locally. Businesses are increasingly aware of how their brand is received in the marketplace and the sometimes painful transparency of social media. It’s a critical time to give back: hence my first trend spotting topic for 2016 is growth in CSR. 

One definition of CSR is the commitment by business to contribute to economic development as well as quality of life of their employees, families, community and society at large. I’d add to that definition: with no motivation of making a direct profit from this contribution. 

Visible CSR leaders include Microsoft, Facebook, Disney, Zappos, BMW and Google to name just a few. Much of this is measured in large corporate gifts to charities, independent company charities being developed, volunteerism, participation in peer-to-peer events and whole departments created with a specific focus on social good and social impact projects. But you don’t need to work for a global empire to have an impact and contribute to social good at work.

One particularly successful form of CSR is ‘Workplace Giving’ whereby employees aid the missions of charities themselves.  In Australia, workplace giving is a simple and effective way for employees to regularly donate to charities or organisations that are entitled to receive tax deductible donations and have deductible gift recipient status.

According to the Australian Charities Fund website, 250 million dollars has been raised, for more than 300 charities by more than 3,100 employers.

What an astounding figure! We can say with confidence that workplace giving is making a difference to the work of charities and to social good in general.

On top of this, many businesses also incentivise the collective impact of their workplace giving program by matching donations and hosting workplace fundraising campaigns. Workplace giving has struggled with the inability to direct individual donations and track their impact. Now, innovative online platforms, like the one available from FrontStream, provide customisable options so employees can create and track their own regular giving campaigns. This new feature is enhancing workplace giving by informing employees how their donations are impacting the causes they truly care about.

CSR is growing quickly in Australia, a trend that will continue into the foreseeable future… 

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