Aug 05 2020

The Role of Social Responsibility in the Nonprofit Playbook

Increasingly, corporations looking to stand for something are focusing on building nonprofit partnerships. With the right approach, these relationships can help put nonprofit tech resources within reach for causes.

We live in a world where people now expect more from the organizations that they support.

Going back 15 or 20 years, it would have been rare for a CEO to publicly weigh in on a social issue. But times are changing. A 2016 study from the Public Affairs Council found that corporations have felt increasingly compelled to speak out on social issues.

The reason for this? A growing focus on social responsibility decades in the making. Driven by public sentiment, companies care more than ever about how they are perceived in broader communities. And to achieve this, they’re looking to work with nonprofits that reflect their values. This has long been true, including for CDW, but its importance is growing as companies want to stand for something larger than the bottom line.

The Importance of Technology-Driven Corporate Partnerships

In many ways, the increased partnership between nonprofits and corporations has been positive. Nonprofits are often on the front lines trying to make a difference on broader humanitarian and societal issues, and to bring awareness for medical cures. Corporate support also provides a buffer during times when charitable giving faces gaps — something that is a serious concern during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. The pandemic has not only placed financial stress on traditional sources of charitable giving, but it has also prevented traditional in-person fundraising events, such as galas and charity runs, from taking place.

But corporations are also well suited to help offer knowledge and resources to nonprofits, as their business expertise can help to uncover new ways to solve big problems on a budget.

This is where technology can help in a big way. Nonprofits already think nimbly — they have to, because of tight budgets and a strong focus on mission. This applies to how they think about technology as well. For example, many nonprofits were early to cloud computing, in part because of the potential for cost savings. They may not want to run the servers in-house anymore, but they still need the benefits those servers once offered.

Like Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits want the best technologies and infrastructures to increase their reach, make sense of the data they receive and reach their broader goals. But working with tighter resources often means they must get clever, using tools such as customer relationship management platforms — along with emerging technologies such as machine learning and Big Data — to bring a degree of science to their outreach and fundraising.

Corporations are ideal partners to build upon these nimble efforts and bring even more innovation to missions that deserve this kind of focus.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Get quick wins with the data your nonprofit is already collecting.

A Savvy Approach to Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is becoming more important than ever. When recent college graduates apply for jobs in 2020, for example, they ask potential employers what they’re doing for the greater good — a phenomenon I’ve seen myself.

Nonprofits can maximize the impact of this phenomenon in service of their causes. But it requires a focused message. Nonprofits need to continue being savvy about how they present themselves to the business world to show why their missions matter and are worth supporting.

With the right approach, a corporate partner can help nonprofits turn an important cause into the start of a shared mission, with innovation leading the way.

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