Powerful CSR programs align philanthropic efforts with core business goals. To attain the credibility, momentum, and support needed to develop a sustainable program, companies must look at "doing good" as a strategic business driver, not a tactic to enhance reputation. Clearly, implementing CSR strategies that truly align with business goals helps a company's public perception and its bottom line.
- Identify an issue that affects your business and the communities in which you operate. By developing an authentic commitment to an issue that is both closely tied to your company's everyday operations and has an impact on key communities, you will benefit your own business while addressing issues your stakeholders deem vital.
- Leverage your company's resources and core competencies. Bringing together your full range of assets, including corporate financial support, staff contributions (of time and money), and your unique technologies, can make a sustainable impact on a social issue.
- Engage staff and senior leaders. To integrate a CSR program into your company, you must obtain the support of senior leadership and encourage broad staff participation. Through employee ambassador programs, matched giving, and volunteer events, staffers can get involved in the company's CSR efforts - building their affiliation with the business and their linkage with the company's values.
- Create strategic nonprofit partnerships. By establishing strong partnerships with nonprofits that understand your vision and share your goals, you can leverage their experience, resources, and diverse expertise to enhance your impact and gain credibility in the space.
Two years ago, when we established ITT's signature corporate citizenship program, ITT Watermark, these considerations all had a key role. As a leading provider of global water solutions, ITT has used the program to unite our products, technologies, and staffers' expertise to provide access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education in the developing world. Our strong partnerships with Water For People, Mercy Corps, and the China Women's Develop- ment Foundation, combined with our internal commitment at all levels, serve as the vital foundation for the program and are largely responsible for ITT Watermark's ini- tial success. As our program develops, we're committed to ensuring we "do well by doing good" through a focus on alignment.
Angela Buonocore is chief communications officer at ITT.