Global Vision, Local Expression

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a collaborative on Corporate Volunteer giving programs hosted by BoeingMicrosoftRealized Worth and TechSoup Global.  It was a rare opportunity to get visibility not only into what’s happening with Volunteer Programs, but to see how global organizations face their unique challenges and bring those tools back to the small and medium sized businesses.

So what were my key takeaways from the day?

  • Volunteer Programs and Corporate Social Responsibility programs have a unique ability to forge collaboration and partnership at all levels of an organization.

  • There’s no cookie-cutter way to approach a CSR program. I saw differences in the way organizations house their programs – occasionally the programs are housed in the foundation, sometimes in Public Affairs, and occasionally in Communications.

  • Ironically, the outcome metrics typically discussed fell under the umbrella of Human Resources. Although not surprising, it did seem like there were opportunities to make a stronger business case or improve collaboration across organizations by better integrating the needs of the HR team. (Blog post to come on this point!)

  • The goals and outcomes of a global organization are not that different than what local clients are trying to achieve – the challenges are just bigger and hairier. Which, if anything, means small to medium sized organizations have an even greater opportunity to leverage impact to the community and within the organization.

  • Vetting an organization to support is a deeper issue than choosing an organization because they have a good mission. Although anyone who knows me will agree that I don’t typically enjoy getting into the weeds and addressing the potential problems, legal issues, PR concerns, outcome metrics and opportunities for long-term scalability are all important. And unfortunately this is a conversation we’re not even having in Indy yet.

  • Indianapolis is uniquely poised to be a leader in this space, and it’s deeper than ‘Hoosier Hospitality.’ We often overlook the strength our city has in the NonProfit Space. From the sheer percentage of Nonprofit headquarters housed here to the Lilly Center on Philanthropy, charitable focus is a part of our DNA just as much as sporting activities are. And as we continue to discuss the best way to attract, develop, and retain talent, this is an opportunity we cannot ignore.

Needless to say, it was an exciting day of learning.  I have 7 pages of notes, a list of 22 blog posts to write and a vision for what we can pull off in this city.  And I'm convinced that other than resources (see point #4), there's nothing the Fortune 500 have that we can't accomplish within small to medium sized businesses.  Watch out, Windy City! 

If you’re interested in being a part of the mission to change the face of corporate philanthropy in Indianapolis, would like to know more about how to leverage the benefits of a corporate social responsibility plan in your business, or simply want to come along for the ride, I’d love to meet.  Comment below or shoot me an email! 

In the NewsDora LutzComment