How exactly has data changed Corporate Social Responsibility?  Let’s take a closer look.

Data is literally everywhere.  Every search done on Google or every second spent on LinkedIn is collected and converted to data.  According to Internet Live Stats, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second or 3.5 billion searches per day - that is just one internet platform!  Companies are taking enormous amounts of data, analyzing it and translating it into strategic insights. Those insights help make strategic decisions in real time across the entire organizational enterprise.  This includes, how they engage with cause partners in corporate social responsibility activities.

In the old days, companies formed a community relations team or created a Foundation and tasked those staff members with defining what good the company would do in the world.  For the most part the work done within these teams was something that happened in departments “over there”. The causes and nonprofits that were supported were chosen based on C-suite executive interest. Meaning that executive had a passion for a particular cause or because the company had created giving pillars and the chosen nonprofit qualified for one of those categories or because they just fell into the relationship.  

For the most part, the cause partners were not chosen based on sophisticated data and the outcomes of the partnership were certainly not measured for complex impact.

Luckily the process has changed - companies are now using data analysis to not only decide what causes to partner with, but to analyze the value of that partnership for their overall brand and business outcomes.  

Business outcomes?  Yes, business outcomes.  So what does that mean for nonprofit causes?

In response to the more sophisticated analysis by companies, nonprofits must measure outcomes and must report those outcomes to their corporate partners.  That measurement has to be more sophisticated than ever before to justify the relationship. The nonprofits that understand they have to measure outcomes and proactively provide that data to their corporate partners are the ones that are winning – and raising more money for the cause.  

Let’s take a look at what we used to measure and the info provided to our corporate partners:

  • Donor or constituent age/gender/ethnicity
  • Total campaign impressions garnered in the marketplace around any activities done together
  • Celebrity brand interaction
  • And that’s about it…

Now let’s look at measurements companies are looking for from their cause partners in today’s Big Data environment - it falls into three main categories:

  1. Cause Impact (what did the company’s time, talent and resources do for the cause in the communities in which they do business).  HINT: The more you can provide that Cause Impact information in a sound bite, the better!)
  2. Constituent Impact (how did employees and consumers respond to the partnership with the cause).  HINT: Understanding sentiment if key.
  3. Return on Investment (what return on investment did the company get from the partnership with the cause).  HINT: What organizational assets did your nonprofit leverage on behalf of your corporate partners?

By now if your head is spinning and you are thinking, “what exactly do I have to measure in these three categories OR how is my nonprofit supposed to actually measure all of this?”  Don’t worry - join me on August 16 at 2:30 EST for a webinar titled  How To Use Data To Raise More Money From Corporations. I will break down what specific data and measurement companies are looking for from their nonprofits partners (and the best way to deliver that data!)

About the Author(s)

Maureen Carlson Chief Strategy Officer Catalist View Bio

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