Nonprofits are tasked with addressing the most urgent needs facing humanity, and I was initially drawn to the field of philanthropy out of a desire to help these organizations achieve their critical missions. But early on I saw that making personal donations - while important - was just a first step.
The next step was harnessing the power of technology to achieve scale. Technology creates efficiencies that facilitate fundraising and volunteering across a broad base of budding philanthropists. And long ago, I could see that one of the most promising and untapped of these bases was within companies.
So many employees want to contribute to their communities, and they feel significantly more engaged with their jobs if giving back is tied to their work. Today, employees of all generations have overwhelmingly come to expect that their companies must demonstrate a strong pillar of social responsibility and allow them to play a central role in that effort.
Fortunately, technology is revolutionizing the ways that companies can connect employees to nonprofits and, in turn, creating a richer, more dynamic corporate culture that attracts top talent to their doorsteps and makes them want to stay.
At Causecast, we have a mantra about three essential elements of the employee volunteer and giving experience: it should be social, interactive and mobile. Technology creates a strong platform for all three of these qualities, but let’s talk for a minute about that last one - mobile.
Why does mobile matter to CSR?
In an age where the smartphone is the new desktop, especially for Millennials, the mobile experience is an essential consideration for CSR. Mobile can instantly connect pressing causes and opportunities with the volunteers and donors who can help, and mobility also connects employee volunteers with each other to forge a social and interactive experience that encourages more people to get involved.
A mobile platform furthermore eases the essential step of reporting. For example, identifying volunteer opportunities in the field, checking in to those opportunities and logging hours, which is critical for companies and nonprofits trying to calculate the community impact of their efforts.
As companies recognize that mobility is a cornerstone of the future of CSR, more organizations are capitalizing on the power of mobile to open up exciting pathways for giving back. This development is evident everywhere in CSR advances, with many mobile apps created by companies and nonprofits now engaging users through gamification, challenges and storytelling.
For example, consider these mobile apps that are using mobility towards social responsibility, as reported by Mashable:
♦ Charity Miles lets you raise money for your favorite causes while walking, running or biking. The app's corporate sponsors donate 25 cents for each mile you walk or run, and 10 cents for each mile you bike.
♦ With every photo you share on Donate a Photo, Johnson & Johnson donates $1 to a cause of your choosing. The app, available on iOS and Android, also lets you follow your friends' photos, so you can keep up with your social life.
♦ Great for foodies, photographers and humanitarians, Feedie adds a great cause to your foodstagrams. When you dine and snap a food shot at one of the participating restaurants -- which, for now, are only in New York -- a meal is donated to a non-profit feeding schoolchildren in South Africa.
♦ Did you know that with the money you save cooking three of your own meals, you could fund someone's HIV medicine for three months? Instead is an iOS app that shows you how much you can save with simple tweaks in your lifestyle. Once you make those cheaper decisions, Instead encourages you to donate to a non-profit out of your savings.
The explosion of these apps for social good demonstrates the increasing importance of mobility to the future of CSR. Mobile plays a key role in Causecast’s volunteering and giving platform. Our mobile functionality takes these concepts a step further, making it easy for employees to bring their personal giving spirit into the workplace, and engage with their company programs. If your organization cares about evolving its CSR efforts with the times, make sure you’re reaching your employees where so many of them “live,” and giving them one more attractive way to connect with your corporate efforts to make a positive impact in the world.