5. Corporate/Celebrity Philanthropy

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Successful Examples of Philanthropic Corporations—Hewlett Packard

Successful Examples of Philanthropic Corporations—Hewlett Packard

Last time, we shared Deloitte’s devotion in voluntarism, focusing on its impressive application of skills-based volunteering. (Deloitte’s skills-based volunteering) Today, let us introduce another company that should be acclaimed for its generous works—Hewlett-Packard, an American multinational hardware and software corporation. If you had not known before, HP is one of the most socially responsible companies in its industry. In fact, it has received several compliments from various sources. To list a few, in 2010, Fortune magazine named HP one of the World’s Most Admired Companies for scoring high on areas such as social responsibility, long-term investment, global competitiveness and use of corporate assets. In the same year, HP was also named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute; in 2011, HP secured the 1st place in the ranking of Greenpeace’s guide to greener electronics that ranks electronics manufacturers according to their policies on sustainability, energy and climate and green products.

Now the question is how has HP established itself as a socially responsible company so successfully? Continue reading and you will realize that skills-based volunteering is only a fraction of HP’s effort.

1. Care about our planet

HP shoulders its environmental responsibility by exploring ways of reducing their environmental footprint. It tries to respond to pressing issues, such as mitigating climate change and using energy more efficiently, by providing solutions that are transforming how people live, work and connect. As an active effort to minimize its impact on the environment, HP sets environmental goals every year and share it online, allowing anyone to keep track of its accomplishments. To see the list of all the goals and achievements that HP has accomplished, visit HP’s environmental goals.

2. Care about our society

Major natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes can  overwhelm communities or even entire countries. Whenever these disaster strike, HP and its employees are ready to step up to aid and support those people, non-profits and whoever is in need of help. Not only does HP provide big donation, but it also collaborates with international non-government organizations, such as Save the Children, the American Red Cross, and Doctors without Borders, to utilize its resources.

For example, In the wake of the unprecedented natural disaster in Japan, HP, its employees, and the Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation committed more than $2.3 million USD in technology and cash donations to organizations performing short and long term relief work. HP Foundations’ grant, which totaled up to $500,000 USD, was sent to Japanese Red Cross and to Save the Children, the first two organizations to respond after the earthquake. In addition, it pledged $350,000 to match employee contribution. In Tokyo, Miyagi and Fukushima, laptops donated by HP were running virtual face-to-face communication among workers, survivors, and other between Tokyo and harder hit areas.

Other cases include saving the children in India and supporting long-term recovery in Haiti.

3. Skills-based volunteering

HP also manages exceptional skills-base volunteering program. It acknowledges its employees’ wealth of skills and is willing to share the passion to give back to the world. HP’s employees are provided with the time, tools and technology to make a positive impact through pro bono work as well as skills-based and hands-on volunteering. Since most of HP’s employees have deep expertise in high-value fields such as technology, engineering, human resources, and manufacturing, they take part in pro-bono service, serving on non-profit boards, or joining company-sponsored volunteer programs, such as Junior Achievement, an international organization that inspires entrepreneurship and introduced business skills to students from grades 6 to 12.

For pro-bono service, employees are offered four hours of company time each month. In order to encourage its employee to show further effort, HP runs inspiring activities or programs that inspire team effort as well. Such effort includes family giving tree, Morocco entrepreneurship master class, global health corps, HP Mexico job search course, HP China pro bono program and more.

When Family Giving Tree, a 23-year-old nonprofit which works with about 7,000 volunteers to sort and distribute donated school supplies to as many as 67,000 people, came to HP for pro bono help, four of top HP finance employees stepped up to find solution for its warehousing problem. After several months of studying the problem and searching for solution, the team recommended that the Family Giving Tree continue seeking temporary warehousing each year. With the solution confirmed by the experts in the area, Family Giving Tree is now confident with its management system. Right away, the team located a warehouse for the coming year. “They were four of the brightest people I have ever met,” said Jennifer Cullenbine, the executive director of Family Giving Tree.

Mark-Zuckerberg

When You Call Out Mark Zuckerberg

Dalton Caldwell, the Founder and CEO of App.net recently called out Mark Zuckerberg, the king pin of Facebook for how he runs the company, and how the company runs as a whole. Now most people would see this are career suicide, as Mark probably has a significant amount of power to make sure that someone does not make it in Silicon Valley. Check out the post here.

The thing is though, is that we can’t just sit around and let the behemoths of business tell us what to do, how to run our companies, and what we should stand for when operating our companies. The Facebook revenue system runs almost completely off of ad revenue. What this means is that although their main customers would appear to be the 900 million users that are on the site, they are not. Their real customers are all the advertisers that pay for the ads on their site. Which means that when they are operating their business for profit efficiency, they are going to do everything that they can to make the advertisers happy to get more money. Often times this means completely disregarding what the customers want and deserve.

Now, Dalton Caldwell brought up an interesting thought, if you charge the customers it means that your main source of revenue is based on getting more happy customers. Happy is the key in that sentence, if your customers / users are not happy then you do not get paid, you don’t make a profit, and your business goes bankrupt. In our time of social change, this is something that is needed. Granted, I do accept that not all users would use specific platforms like Facebook or Twitter if it were a charged service.

That is where I think a “freemium” architecture comes into play. With that system you give the users who do not want to pay the option of still using your site, but with less features. This is similar to what Linkedin has done. If you take a look at what Linkedin has done in terms of profitability you will see that half of their revenue comes from their hiring solutions, whereas the advertising on the site is only a small portion. This allows for them to make sure that their users are well  taken care of and the effectiveness remains valuable, and profit sucking is not the main objective.

What this means for services like http://www.FuzeUs.com, in the realm of social change, and corporations with a social cause at their core, is that they must make sure that their product or service is serving their users to the best of their ability. Thinking about that, the companies that are after social responsibility have to start looking to new ways of generating revenue, because let’s be serious, if a company isn’t making significant profit they will not last very long in the corporate world. The “freemium” aspect does work well for these types of companies. It allows to get the users who are just looking for a little bit, but it also makes the people who are looking for every ounce of benefit they can get out of it to get that. Yes, they do have to pay more for it, but it means that they are the bottom line. As they say, the customer is always right, so if you make your customers, the right customers, then if they are happy you are happy, and your bottom line is happy.

This does not mean that the ad space is over though, it just means that it has to change. What we do at FuzeUs is hold all the corporations accountable for how they advertise. This does not mean “buy buy buy”. We do not want N Sync here. What we do is hold them accountable for making sure that they do cause marketing, saying why their product or service is better, and why it is better for the environment or community that they serve. What this does is make the ads more relevant to users, and makes sure that the main focus is not just to increase ad revenue, but to make sure that the ads that are being encountered are actually relevant to the users, not the 50 gallon drums of lube for the typical Facebook user. 

We feel that there is a lot that is about to change in the Web 2.0 world, and a lot of corporations are going to have to restructure their infrastructure, or die in the process. As is the nature of the beast, you must be the predator and not the prey, which means opening up this new era of social change through the social media that we have become so accustomed to. Welcome to Web 3.0. 

Don’t Sweat The Sweatshop Anymore

Remember that whole thing in the 90’s with Nike and their inhumane sweat shops. Who knew the reason the swoosh had such great margins because they were using some really cheap labor in a particularly poor area? Jason Kibbey is changing all that though.

Don’t know who Jason Kibbey is? Well it is about time that you know. He is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. It is now made up of 60 different corporations and environmental organizations. This list includes big names like Nike, Walmart, Target, Patagonia, and JCPenney. What these quite large corporations are trying to do is hold everyone in the apparel industry accountable for how their products are impacting the environment, and are measuring this based on the Higg Index. We at FuzeUs are quite glad to see something like this done, and it is putting our vision into action one step at a time.

This coalition now contains 150 or so products that are rated as safe and sustainable for the environment. For the companies that have their products listed within this coalition, they are receiving some excellent PR. Interestingly enough, the built this index from something that Nike had already been doing and working on, which is Nike’s Material Assessment Tool. It seems that Nike has had to reevaluate a few things. That is fine by us, it just helps out all of us and the world that we live in.

This is a big step to see corporations actually care about sustainability and the environment, and it may actually win them some fans and a significant set of customers. Now that is a concept, do the right thing and make more money.

Pinterest

5 Best Ways to Use Pinterest for Green Business

Attention anyone who is involved with green business! Here are some great tips to utilize pinterest to market your business.

ReduceReuseRelate

Pinterest has been the latest craze in social networking. According to site analytics, Pinterest popularity has exploded from 1.2 million users in August, to over 7 million today. The budding social network has proven to be more than a fad, gaining over $27 million in venture funds.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets users organize and share images that they find on the web. Pictures, or pins, are organized onto boards that categorize them into themes. The pictures then link back to the original site where users can find more content. To learn more about the network, Mashable’s Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide  is a great resource.

Beyond its mainstream appeal, the network has the potential to be particularly valuable for green businesses. Organizations undertaking green initiatives are constantly trying to make environmentalism fit within the larger scope of business. Pinterest is the perfect platform to…

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Successful examples of skills-based volunteering–Deloitte

Successful examples of skills-based volunteering–Deloitte

In the previous article, “If you are here to help…grab a shovel?” we talked about the concept of skills-based volunteering and how it can benefit volunteers. To reiterate, skills-based volunteering utilizes individual’s specialized kills and talents to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofits, helping them build and sustain their capacity to successfully achieve their missions. Now, we will introduce companies that have successfully implemented this system and the first company on the list is Deloitte–one of the Big Four professional services firms that helps clients with issues such as auditing, consulting, financial advisory, and tax.

But before we go in depth about Deloitte’s work, let us briefly discuss about the campaign that enabled many companies to join skills-based volunteering–A Billion + Change. A Billion + change is a national campaign that aims to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based service by 2013. Companies can join to pledge to contribute their skill sets, filling critical gaps in community needs in areas including, but not limited to, financial and legal services, educational and environmental initiatives and programs for veterans ad senior citizens. Currently, the campaign combines companies’ pledge to reach its goal of mobilizing $2 billion to support community organizations. It was first launched in 2008 by the Corporation for National and Community Service and was invigorated in 2011 under the leadership of Senator Mark Warner. The initiative is supported by HP, the Case Foundation, IBM, and of course, Deloitte.

(Here is a complete list of pledged companies up to date:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61428762/Website/Pledge%20Companies_EXTERNAL_7_2.pdf)

As a very active member of this campaign, Deloitte has been greatly contributing to the society with its skills-based volunteering.

“While so many nonprofits have sophisticated social missions and programs, they often struggle with the same business challenges as for-profit companies. We believe that the most valuable resource we can contribute to nonprofits is the one we offer our clients everyday—our intellectual capital and business knowledge. Helping nonprofits to become stronger organizations is the most lasting contribution we can make to our local communities.”

– Barry Salzberg, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte LLP

A snapshot of Deloitte’s skills-based volunteer program composes of following: year-round volunteerism/IMPACT Day, Pro Bono, Board Leadership, Thought Leadership and Problem Solvers Fund. The core project within the program is pro bono work, which has long been a fixture on the Deloitte’s community involvement landscape and is now a key driver of its community involvement strategy. On June 1, 2008, Deloitte launched a pro bono program that provided the resources and infrastructure necessary to support up to $50 million in cross-functional pro bono engagements. Thus pro bono service became a part of the business units’ annual planning and budgeting process, allowing Deloitte to distribute its workforce more efficiently. Compared to the past when the service was only provided on an ad hoc basis, Deloitte became more strategic in project selection. At the same time, Deloitte is also providing the board leadership, the most valuable assets the business community can offer, and problem solvers fund, which provides large-scale grants to support local community initiatives where Deloitte employees are engaged in capacity building, pro bono and other skills-based volunteer projects.

Due to its constant effort to give back to the world, in 2011, United Way Worldwide–a coalition of charitable organizations in the Unite States– honored Deloitte with two Summit awards for volunteer engagement and community impact in education. Deloitte was especially recognized for its dedication to increasing high school graduation rate and advocating college-going culture in America by contributing its employee’s professional skills and knowledge to serve nonprofits through skills-based volunteering and pro-bono work. The Spirit of America and Summit Awards program is United Way’s highest national honor of corporate citizenship, recognizing United Way Global Corporate Leaders with the most comprehensive commitments to strengthening communities. Applicants are evaluated by corporate peers and local United Ways.

“We’re grateful for Deloitte’s continued leadership and longstanding support. They’ve been instrumental in driving progress in education, corporate philanthropy and volunteer engagement,” said Brian Gallagher, United Worldwide president and CEO. “The organization’s strong culture of service, innovative thinking, and unwavering commitment to strengthening communities is making a real impact.”

After years of perfecting its strategy, Deloitte finally has an efficient and highly successful volunteering plan. Deloitte is now promoting other companies to do the same as well. Here is a video of the interview with Evan Hochberg, the national director of community involvement at Deloitte, at the 6th Annual Edelman Change and Employee Engagement Summit.

If you are here to help…grab a shovel?

If you are here to help…grab a shovel?

With hectic schedules that you manage everyday, it can be difficult to find time to volunteer. Some of you may want to spend that time memorizing SAT vocabulary words and attending mock trial to receive that acceptance letter from your dream school; others may spend it learning Chinese or taking accounting classes for resume building. Indeed, flying off to Uganda to tackle poverty will definitely not be your top priority in daily life. However, if you realize how efficiently volunteering can benefit you, you might change your mind. All you need is the right match, which can be arranged by skill-based volunteering. You no longer need to grab a shovel to remove sod from the ground for habitat, unless you choose to. When properly planned out, volunteering can help you find great connections, learn new skills and also have best moments of your life.

What is skill-based volunteering?

The resources for volunteers across the nations are being stretched like never before, with the countries seeing both a significant increase in needs and a measurable decrease in the financial resources available to meet those needs. In order for non-profits to maintain certain levels of service, they need to increase their capacity to meet the growing challenge, which requires a variety of skills and expertise that may not be available within the organizations themselves. At the same time, the corporate sector is beginning to recognize the fact that it can create greater impact on social issues by offering its own best resource—its professional expertise. Thus, at the intersection of the challenges to be met comes skill-based volunteering. This innovative approach takes benefits of individuals’ skills and experience to help service organizations sustain their ability to bring real solutions to world problems.

What can SBV do for you?

1) Make connections

Skills-based volunteering opens the door to those seeking to use their personal and professional skills and talents to serve others. Because most people participate in areas of their interest or specialty, you can make special connections with professionals.  Connections made while volunteering build on trust and faith in participants’ personality and morality. As a participant, you can prove your ability and expertise while volunteering, which will increase chances of getting a job or an internship that you want. Well-designed programs can strengthen relationships as well as the productivity because people will get the change to collaborate with people of same interest from all over the world.

Below are links to organizations that connect individuals and companies with volunteer opportunities with additional information about SBV

2) Build skills

Skills-based volunteering can be an opportunity for you to practice your skill sets and even acquire new ones without having to worry about getting fired. You can either go after something that you really know or engage in something outside of their comfort zone for experience’s sake. Usually, skill-based volunteering thrives when it comes to non-profit management. This commonly requires deep analytic rigor and modeling financial analysis for the non-profits. People who already have these skills can get the crux of their skill set while putting the core competencies to work and people who do not can practice and eventually acquire them.

In fact, many corporations are implementing this system to procure the benefits. They are allowing their employees to volunteer in a most efficient way. They match teams of employees with non-profits and provide strategic advice on issues critical to the nonprofits’ business models with their professional skill sets. Any skill-based program that aligns with company’s culture and values while recognizing the needs that exist in community can effectively capitalize employee’s specific skills and strengthen internal relationships. Currently, Deloitte, Morgan Stanley, Cisco System, intel, Wells Fargo and more have successfully implemented the system.

3) Grow healthy mind and body

Let’s face the fact. Volunteer may not be the most entertaining way to spend your time. But by using skill-based volunteering, you have the motivation to do good work while exploring your interest and passions. At the same time, it can be an escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school or family commitment. Experience of helping others out side of your box can also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and visions that can carry over into your personal and professional life. Pretty soon, using personal talents or professional competence will be the most common way for volunteers to help non-profit organizations.

Now, with numerous volunteer opportunities available, how do you choose the right position? Before you make your choice, you should ask following questions.

  • Do you prefer working alone or as a part of a team?
  • How much time are you willing to commit?
  • What skills can you bring to a volunteer job?
  • Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer a more visible role?
  • What causes are important to you?

Again, when you answer these questions beforehand and properly plan out for the volunteer work, you would be pleasantly surprised by your experience.

Corporate Citizenship: A Means to an End

In response to our post about corporate philanthropy and consumer confidence, we had a reader voice their opinions about corporate philanthropy and if it is actually doing our society any good, or just covering companies overhead costs for their foundations or initiatives. To paraphrase what our reader voiced, was the fact that often times the cause marketing and advertising of the corporate philanthropy that we as consumers see in the media today can be very misleading. His main concern was that we are not holding corporations accountable for how their philanthropic money is being used, and that much of it is going to overhead costs of corporate owned foundations, rather than directly towards the causes that they support. Our reader has a strong point and brings up a big issue in terms of how do we hold corporations accountable for the charitable actions that they are giving to the community, and if it is really solving the issues that the corporations are toting.

In trying to learn more about this issue I came across an article by Mara Einstein, author of Compassion Inc.: How Corporate America Blurs the Line Between What We Buy, Who We Are and Those We HelpOne of the main things that she pointed out was that it is no longer good enough to just attach a “charitable cause to all of our purchases”. What she means by this, is that although there is some merit in donating based on the purchases that a corporation receives for a particular product, it is not generally a sustainable way to do business or to maintain substantial help for the charity that they are donating to. Not only that but with the community as a whole, this is not solving a problem, it is merely putting a band-aid on it and hoping it stays for the long haul.

What these campaigns are lacking, is a few things. The first is that it leaves it up to the corporation to decide what charity or cause it is going to donate to. The issue with this, as described above, is the fact that the general consumer does not where these funds are going and how they are being used. Another problem with this is that it is not always the case that the corporation is picking the charity or cause that is most popular with their consumers. Leaving their needs unresolved. Another issue with this type of social marketing is in the way the product is produced and the level that which the corporation is pressured to improve upon their product or service to make it more sustainable. It is true that the corporation may see an increase in sales due to putting a donation behind their product, but it does not actually solve the causes that it says to be fighting for. What it is actually doing, is throwing money on a fire and hoping that it blankets it enough to stop the fire all together. The issue with this, is that these causes and those that work for the causes aren’t always the most efficient with this money, nor does the money go directly towards preventing the issue. Instead it is used to mask the problem.

There is a better way to do this. As Mara points out in her article management of these companies do not have enough incentive to actually prevent these social scars. Instead they are often incentivized to make the company as profitable as possibly to reach their bonuses. Mara declares that they should also be held to qualitative measures of performance, but quantify them so that it is directly measurable, such as how many people’s lives were directly benefited due to the donations, or how many less outbreaks of malaria there were compared to the previous year, that was directly related to their giving. If they do not meet these goals, they should not be able to receive bonuses. This is a way of finding a means to an end, not just consistent cover up of a problem.

Management also needs to realize that this does not just come from them, but all of their associates as well. Any person can have a great idea that optimizes a particular product or service and makes it better for our communities. CEO’s and presidents need to understand that one of the greatest resources they have in their company is the minds of those that they employ. Not only that but creating programs or incentives for your associates to volunteer and donate their time in an effective manner can go a long way. As I described in earlier articles, time and personal contact can mean the difference between a succeeding non-profit, and a struggling one. However, these companies need to assure that their foundations and employees are in fact doing what suits them best. The Home Depot Foundation should not be volunteering to help do micro financing, nor should Quick Books be trying to build houses or structures. 

Corporations and those that run them need to realize that although money can help particular initiatives, other aspects can go a long way. Examples of this would be donating actual products to a non-profit, like Lowes giving tangible resources like sand bags to aid in disaster relief after a hurricane, or a playground company donating equipment to be built at a near by park in a struggling neighborhood, or HR Block giving their time to help a struggling non-profit complete their taxes, or Target donating school supplies to underprivileged children to help their education.  Money is not always transparent, but the time and resources that we give is, which is good for not only the causes that are receiving these products, but for the companies PR, as consumers are able to see what exactly the money that they purchase with is going to. Unfortunately, as it stands now, tangible supplies like that, are what the top Fortune 500 companies give the least of, which isn’t much when they are only donating .11% of their revenue to such causes each year. At this time what we really need is a whole host, of many strong willed, and devout corporate citizens to make a change in our society.

We at FuzeUs hope to solve that with our website and applications, but will need the help of others to make sure that we are holding true to our word and properly serving the community that we set out to benefit.