This week, I’ve been participating in the Strategy for Good Summit, a virtual series of presentations on social responsibility hosted by Susan Hyatt, founder and CEO of CORE THOUGHT.  The summit continues all week and you can still register here.


Monday’s lineup included a presentation by Mark Kramer, Co-founder and Managing Director of FSG on the topic of redefining the role of corporations in society.  Mark is an advocate of ‘catalytic philanthropy’ and asserts that philanthropy shouldn’t be about funding individual organizations, or even solutions, but rather about assembling the right mix of resources, organizations, funders and thinkers to attack a problem holistically.


Here are the 4 practices of ‘catalytic philanthropy’ Mark outlined:


  1. RESULTS:  Donors take responsibility for achieving results (and setting clear, measurable, attainable goals)
  2. MOBILZATION: Donors mobilize a campaign for change, not just give money
  3. TOOLS: Donors use all available tools, not just money (advocacy, fundraising, convening, investing, company resources)
  4. KNOWLEDGE: Donors build actionable knowledge about the issue that improves effectiveness and influences the behavior of others


And here is an example of ‘catalytic philanthropy’ in action: Strive Partnership (


The hallmark of the Strive partnership is that it coordinates the activities of many organizations working to improve education in Cincinnati, OH.  Participants include nonprofits, schools, government agencies and corporate partners such as Proctor & Gamble and JP Morgan Chase.  The initiative spans cradle to career and ensures that organizations at all levels of education are working in concert, communicating effectively and moving towards the same overall goal.  Organizations are broken down into working groups (i.e. high school readiness, teacher training) to tackle specific aspects of the overall goal.  Additionally, the community is invited to be part of the solution through the 'Be the Change' public campaign.


The results are very promising.  The initiative has tracked 50 indicators across the five to six years of the collaboration and as of the latest results, 83% of the indicators are moving in the right direction.  You can read the 2011 partnership Report here.


Today is International Corporate Philanthropy Day, an initiative spearheaded by CECP to “build awareness of corporate-community partnerships and to inspire businesses around the world to engage further”.  How is your company marking the occasion?



Here are some inspiring CECP member projects showcased by CECP:



Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow education program will gift its sixth assistance dog to a school in the U.S. with the help of the National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS).  Samsung employees will be invited to a lunch and learn series to learn about the program and see a demonstration of what the dogs can do for those with disabilities including turning on lights and picking-up dropped articles, such as cell phones and pens.


State Farm

The State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) empowers youth to play a leading role in improving public K-12 education through service-learning and creating sustainable change in local communities.  In recognition of ICPD 2012, the YAB will be launching a new grant opportunity for 40 communities to receive a $25,000 grant. 



Roshan is collaborating with d.light to replace kerosene lamps in households across Afghanistan with durable, solar powered lanterns through the Gift of Light Project. Employees, partners and suppliers will be able to make a donation through M-Paisa, Roshan's mobile money transfer service. For every employee that pledges and donates a lamp, Roshan will match the donation with an additional lamp on their behalf.

The following is a guest post from Network for Good's Chief Strategy Officer, Katya Andresen.  The article originally appeared on Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog.


According to a new report from Fenton on social media (download here), there are several stages to what I would call social media hysteria.


Stage 1: Urgency.  As in, “Everyone’s doing it. We need to do be doing it. Set up a Facebook page. And start tweeting!”


Stage 2: Existential Handwringing.  As in, “Wait, what are we doing here? We’ve gotten some fans and followers but are we really attracting more donors and members this way?”


Stage 3: Disappointment.  As in, “This social media thing is a bust. It takes a ton of time and I’m not sure we’re getting enough out of it.”


Fortunately, this kind of angst is preventable by setting goals and measuring them in simple but meaningful ways. 


Specifically, Fenton lays out an elegant framework:

  • “See” Metrics. These metrics track eyeballs or impressions.  They measure your exposure - though not necessarily your impact.
  • “Say” Metrics. These metrics are when people take your messages and repeat them verbatim across their networks.  This gives signs people may be more engaged with your cause.
  • “Feel” Metrics. These metrics track the degree to which people get involved with your message - they comment on your Facebook content or they react to your Tweets.
  • “Do” Metrics. These are the best - people donating, volunteering, signing a petition etc.  It’s where you want people to be!

For each metric, ask yourself:

  • Who is engaging? 
  • What are they responding to? 
  • What are they saying? 
  • What does this mean?


This kind of questioning will lead to smarter reflection and better results.  Don’t wring your hands - just put on your thinking cap!


Photo courtesy of Katya Andresen


Our friends at YourCause create weekly insightful profiles of cause marketing campaigns.  Here’s their latest edition, which originally appeared on the YourCause blog.  YourCause is a provider of global employee engagement solutions.  You can learn more about YourCause’s CSRConnect platform and get additional CSRinsights here


Company: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Cause: Hunger

Partners: Feeding America



Program of Action

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is teaming up with Feeding America to support hunger in the United States by launching their first Valentine’s Day campaign, Golden Voice of Love. For every consumer’s Valentine’s Day tweet tagged with #VoiceOfLove on Twitter, Kraft will donate 100 boxes to Feeding America, up to 100,000.

Ted Williams, the homeless man who became famous for his unique soulful voice, will be recording your tweet in a personalized video reading. All tweets tagged with #VoiceOfLove will be sent to Mr. William’s virtual mailbox. He will record the tweet and then send the message to whom it may concern with a link to view the video via Twitter. All Voice of Love videos will be available to view on the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese YouTube Channel (kraftmacncheese).


Best Practices

Many cause marketing campaigns are based through social media and can be shared through Facebook or Twitter; however, this campaign seemed a bit different in that it

1. creates a hashtag Twitter campaign, and

2. launches Golden Voice of Love during a holiday


Firstly, consumers can only support the campaign through Twitter – a practice commonly known as hashtag Twitter campaigns. These evolving campaigns offer a clear call-to-action approach to urge consumers to simply tweet a personal message and help support a cause. In addition, social media sites can be used to raise awareness in a quick manner and cultivate an online community where users can communicate, engage, and act for a cause.


Secondly, holiday marketing is a great way to engage consumers to get involved with the holiday spirit and give back. As consumers prepare to buy gifts for their loved ones, they often want to give to individuals in need, as well. Centering a campaign on a holiday also means the campaign must end once the holiday has passed. A short timeframe keeps consumers involved and allows them to act upon the request (or share with others) as soon as possible.


Program Outcome

Golden Voice of Love will donate 100,000 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese to Feeding America at the end of the campaign. Consumers do not have much time; the campaign began February 12th and will end on Valentine’s Day. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese wants to make sure you spread the love this Valentine’s Day and send a personalized recording from the man with a deep and soothing voice to your loved one. Share your love today and help support Feeding America in providing meals for individuals in need.

My colleague Katya Andresen shared this bit of inspiration amidst the doom and gloom economic news of late:  Microsoft reports that 2011 was their most successful year in employee giving ever.  Microsoft employees raised more than $100 million and logged more than 400,000 volunteer hours for more than 18,000 organizations globally.  That’s a lot of do-gooding!


While those results are impressive and I’m inspired by the impact, what spoke most to me about this news was the way Microsoft shared the results on the employee blog.  Telling a compelling social impact story is vital.  Press releases and reports are useful ways to broadcast news, but nothing beats the human touch of a story.


Kathleen Hogan and S. Somasegar, the executive co-chairs of the 2011 Giving Campaign, crafted a thoughtful, reflective post that conveyed the results, but also showcased the creativity and passion of their coworkers (or employee philanthropists, as they call them).  You can’t help but connect to the campaign when you see pictures of employees running 5ks for a cause or pranking their coworkers to inspire action.


I encourage you to read the full post here and think about how you can add that extra human element to your cause communications.


You can read the official press release here.


Photo Credit: Microsoft's annual charity 5K Run/Walk on Redmond Campus, courtesy of 3BL Media press release.

Today, February 14, 2012 is Generosity Day.  How will you say ‘yes’ to every opportunity to be kind, helpful and appreciative of those around you today?


A couple years ago, Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer of the Acumen Fund, conducted a month-long experiment in being generous (more on that here).  When he mentioned the experiment to his fellow panelists at Social Media Week in early 2011, Generosity Day was born.  The inaugural Generosity Day on Valentine’s Day 2011 was hosted by Dichter, Scott Case, former CEO of Malaria No More and current CEO of StartUp America Partnership, Ellen McGirt of Fast Company, and Katya Andresen, Chief Strategy Officer at Network for Good.  You can find a full account of last year’s Generosity Day in Fast Company here.


The intention to re-boot Valentine’s Day for good in 2011 went viral, taking root on social media networks and in the blogosphere.  But intention wasn’t enough for Dichter and his team.  They reframed the challenge (and opportunity) of Generosity Day as action – that is, making an impact in the REAL world. 

Building on that challenge, this year, the crew is back with even higher hopes for Generosity Day.  The campaign is hosted on, where participants can take a pledge to say ‘yes’ to being generous for 24 hours, recruit their friends and family to participate and share their acts of kindness.  The folks at See3 Communications created a touching video to showcase the message of Generosity Day and inspire others to join (watch it here).

So how will you make a positive mark on your world today?


If you are looking for ways to be generous (even before someone asks you for help), here are some examples: Give to people on the street.  Tip outrageously.  Help a stranger.  Write a note telling someone how much you appreciate them.  Smile.  Donate (more) to a cause that means a lot to you.  Take clothes to GoodWill.  Share your toys (grownups and kids).  Be patient with yourself and with others.  Replace the toilet paper in the bathroom.  All generous acts count!

To learn more about Generosity Day, please visit, follow the #generosityday conversation on Twitter or take the pledge to say ‘yes’ at


CSR Trends: What to Expect in 2012

by Kate_NFG on ‎02-13-2012 5:00 AM, EST

The following is a guest post from Network for Good’s partner YourCause, a provider of global employee engagement solutions.  You can learn more about YourCause’s CSRConnect platform and get additional CSRinsights here



Clients and industry acquaintances continuously question what others are doing, how they’re doing it, and why it works.  And, as the new year kicks off, it especially makes sense to get an industry pulse and figure out what can be expected in 2012.  To do so, we launched a mini-survey to a wide range of companies (all with whom we have some sort of standing acquaintance with) and gathered some general information that might be helpful as we continue doing good throughout the year.


To set the stage, let’s explain a bit about how this surveyed data was gathered.  We reached out to roughly 50 organizations, for which 30 responded to the six questions asked ranging from participation and volunteering goals, budgets levels, focus areas, and reasoning for programs.  We gathered responses from seven sectors:  basic materials, consumer goods, financial, healthcare, industrial goods, services, and technology.    Although we would have loved to have equal representation, 46% of the responses came from technology companies.  Fortunately, we had a much more even mix in responses from the size of the companies (number of employees) with a roughly even split between the six employee groups sizes we measured.  


2012 Summary of Results 


Looking holistically at the results, three immediate data points popped out: 


1.Nearly 80% will maintain or increase investment in their CSR programs. 

2.Volunteering appears to be the overwhelming area of focus  for 2012.

3.There appears to be little standardization in measuring ‘engagement.’

The key (and fundamental) areas yielding relevant data include: budgeting, engagement and participation, as well as, goals and expectations.  The overall sentiment from our survey echoed Forbes’ results showing that 72% of respondents stated that volunteerism and philanthropy are critical for recruiting younger qualified employees.


(Source | FORBES New Paradigm: Volunteerism, Competence, and Results, 2011)    


Budgeting in 2012


With every passing year, CSR becomes more and more ‘mainstream,’ which begs the question: how does this impact the associated budgets?  Specific to 2012, responses showed: 43% plan to increase their spending; 36% plan to keep it level; 18% will decrease and the remaining 4% are still figuring it out. 


Budgets changes are oftentimes a direct reflection of program offering.  The introduction of matching, grants, and other incentive programs were some of the key drivers to those expecting to expand their budgets. 


Engagement Goals 


The next set of data answers the question most frequently asked by our clients and prospects, “what sort of engagement do other companies expect from their programs?” We asked for specific engagement goals and broke down the responses into six groupings by total employees.


Responses ranged based on how engagement is measured, size of company, number of programs offered, and overall importance placed within the company.  The results showed that engagement, on average, ranged between 25% and 50%. Companies with programs specifically geared toward incentivizing the employee tended to have higher participation and, therefore, higher expectation for 2012.  


Suggestion: Consider creative strategies (like skills-based volunteering or dollars-for-doers) to encourage employee volunteering. If an employee utilizes her specialized skills by doing pro bono work for a charity, it is three times more likely that she will gain material job skills than if she used more traditional skills, according to the Taproot Foundation.


3.6 Hours Goals, Focus, & Expectations 


Our survey showed that 64% of respondents plan to focus on their volunteer programs in 2012, compared to 11% on giving and 25% placing equal focus. This aligns with what was reported by Forbes, showing that more than two-thirds of the companies surveyed said “they believe their focus on volunteerism will increase over the next three years and that volunteerism is an essential part of their company’s leadership development strategy.”


On average, we found that employers are expecting each employee to volunteer roughly 3.6 hours throughout the year.   Furthermore, and in contradiction with Forbes, nearly 54% of respondents stated they are expanding their charitable options. Forbes showed that 70% of companies would rather support fewer causes with a deeper relationship, than a broad range of causes with less engagement. 


Why we do what we do 


Similar to the way YourCause realized  in 2011 that ‘we care because our clients care.’   We wanted to ask why others put forth such effort via their CSR programs.  The responses were amazing and we thought we’d include a few we could all learn from.   


"Corporate responsibility extends not only to our own operations but to our wider communities. We recognize our continued success depends on the growth and health of our communities and partners, as well as the vitality and conservation of our natural resources."


"Because it's one of our Core Values and because a company is only as healthy as the communities where it does business."


"We’re committed to supporting the communities where we live and work.  At  the heart of our purpose, it's about helping people on their path to better health.  Therefore, it only make sense to promote better community services, and as a result, remain true to our core belief."


-YourCause Team


You can read the original post here.

Please Take this Valentine’s Day Pledge

by Kate_NFG on ‎02-10-2012 5:00 AM, EST

The following is a guest post from Network for Good's Chief Strategy Officer, Katya Andresen.  The article originally appeared on Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog.  You can follow her on Twitter at @KatyaN4G.





This February 14, let’s re-boot Valentine’s Day for good. 


(Thanks to the video wizards at See3 for generously contributing this video to the movement!)


Instead of forging V-Day connections with one person via chocolate, candlelight and a card, let’s forge G-Day connections with as many people as possible – including complete strangers – by saying YES on February 14th to every opportunity to be nice, help out, or delight with generosity.  It might mean tipping 100%.  Or telling a colleague how much you appreciate them and agreeing to that long-delayed lunch.  Or saying yes to that nonprofit canvasser on the sidewalk. 


Please pledge to participate here.  On this site, individuals and nonprofits can post how they are celebrating G-Day.  (It’s also a nice way to share your good work with a big audience, hint, hint.  Talk about your organization’s generous actions!) 


Thanks in advance for saying YES.

Taking a cue from the AdAge “Ten Marketing Books You Should Have Read” list from 2011, I have a 'must read' for anyone and everyone looking to inspire and be inspired this year:  Look at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change by Andy Stefanovich. 


This book spoke to me on many levels: as a manager, as a marketer – and ways that don’t start with ‘m’ – as a thinker and as a person.  So many books, speeches and articles focus on the importance of innovation and cite case studies, but very few give you frameworks and approaches to step out of your daily mindset and actively invite inspiration in.  We all know innovation when we see it, but it’s very hard to catalyze innovation, especially given the fast pace of work and little time for real reflection.  Well, now you have a handbook, so go innovate!


If I can relate one key takeaway from the book  it would be to “become a curator of inspiration.”  If you can’t tell by the themes in this blog, I’m a fan of the practice of curation and creating wisdom, experiences and actionable ideas from the greater deluge of information out there.  Stefanovich talks about curation on three fronts:

  • Traditional: Being the keeper of objects and cataloger information (like a museum or library)
  • Zeitgeist: Capturing the essence of the day
  • Hunter-Gatherer: Finding the most compelling and interesting things to share

And you can be a combination of all three. I myself lean towards the Hunter-Gatherer type with a healthy dose of Zeitgeist.  Which combination are you?


Why is this relevant to cause marketing and employee engagement?  Well, purpose-driven marketing, shared value, cause branding – whatever you call it – is all about inspiring people to make a collective impact.   If you can curate an authentic, relevant and meaningful experience around cause, you can inspire tangible social good.  That’s inspiring!


Think about the resources, perspectives, values and attributes of your brand.  How can you use them to curate interesting cause-related content and conversation your consumers will enjoy?  How can you use them to package a cause marketing program that wins the hearts of your consumers?  How can you create a forum for employees to share why cause matters to them and then use those insights to enhance your employee engagement programs? 


With a little time, thoughtfulness and determination, you can curate your way to inspiration that not only speaks to your consumers and employees, but reenergizes you at the same time. 

Beyond Toilet Paper: 3 Cs of 2012 Marketing In Action

by Kate_NFG on ‎02-06-2012 10:09 AM, EST - last edited on ‎01-11-2013 5:02 PM, EST by Network for Good Specialist

If you are keeping up with marketing trends, then you know that 2012 is all about content, curation and community – that is, inviting your consumers to co-create your brand identity and values through interactivity.  How is all this excitement happening?  Through social technology. 


The trends for cause marketing are the same, except by adding purpose to your marketing, you create an authentic and meaningful reason to interact with your consumers.  That’s gold in the age of ‘new consumers’ who care about the social/eco footprint of the brands they identify with.


So how can your brand create a relevant, transparent and meaningful experience that delights your consumers and drives brand interaction?  Start with what your consumers care about – make it about them, solve a need, fulfill a want, speak to an issue they care about.  Then layer in your brand values and personality to add that stickiness and incite loyalty.


A perfect example of a brand curating a consumer experience that puts people’s needs and social connections front and center is P&G’s Charmin toilet paper brand and its ‘Sit or Squat’ smartphone app.  Charmin crowdsources recommendations from brand enthusiasts for public restrooms around the world.  Charmin recognized a universal need, and decided to improve upon the awkward, but necessary process of finding a clean bathroom on the go. 


While competitor Georgia-Pacific’s Quilted Northern brand is telling consumers “It’s time to get real about what happens in the bathroom,” Charmin is actually helping consumers get real information that makes their day a little easier.  Let’s face it, we don’t really want to ‘get real’ with our toilet paper brand, but we do want it to perform as promised.  When that brand solves an unspoken need and brings us into a shared experience beyond the brand promise, then we’re seeing content, curation and community in action.  And that’s something to ‘get real’ about.


Here’s why the ‘Sit or Squat’ initiative works:

  • Encourages consumer-driven recommendations (wisdom of the crown)
  • Leverages social channels to reinforce the conversation
  • Provides local, relevant info when you need it most
  • Is optimized for a mobile experience (maps, easy interface)
  • Solves a need that makes sense in the brand context
  • Provides a value-add beyond the physical product attributes
  • Allows the consumer to take the brand beyond the home


The Evolution of Content Marketing in 2012

by Kate_NFG on ‎02-01-2012 10:04 AM, EST - last edited on ‎01-11-2013 5:02 PM, EST by Network for Good Specialist

Pawan Deshpande, founder and CEO of HiveFire, shares content marketing trends shaping B2C and B2B engagement in 2012.  The key takeaway is to remain authentic and strive to deliver the right information at the right time on the right channel for your customers.  As Brian Solis argues in his latest book, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution, success in the networked economy requires more than content – you must provide the context and create mutual value.  The era of broadcast marketing is truly over.


The following trends are particularly relevant for cause marketers because social good campaigns, at their core, are really about an emotional connection to the cause.  Storytelling and context are vital to connecting your customers to your cause campaign.  You have to make them pay attention at a time when they are bombarded with information and invitations from all over the on and offline worlds. 


How do you do that?  You make the call to action all about them – not about you.  Putting content and context at the heart of your engagement strategy will ensure that you design a campaign that is meaningful and relevant to the individual and celebrates a collective impact.


“2012 will be the ‘year of specialization within content marketing’.” – Pawan Deshpande


Out: Passing Off Marketing Materials as Content

In: Incorporating Your Brand's Message Into a Larger Story


Out: Traditional Content Channels (i.e. RSS Feeds)

In: The Next Big Thing (2012’s version of Google+ or the Tablet)


Currated Content

Out: Stealing Content From Other Sources Without Proper Attribution

In: Curating Content From Multiple Sources, Including Your Competitors

Search Engine Optimization

Out: Driving SEO by Content Alone

In: Viewing Your Social Media Presence as an Extension of Your Overall SEO Strategy


You can read the full post on


Connect with Us

Get this blog in your inbox

Enter your email (no spam)

About This Blog

Companies for Good shares insights on cause marketing and corporate social responsibility topics to inform your charitable engagement with consumers and employees. Network for Good empowers corporate partners to unleash generosity and advance good causes. The blog celebrates that work and provides expertise and resources to help you do well and do good. Learn more

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean