As we kick off a new year full of fresh possibilities for growth in the cause space, we have social impact trends on our brain. Thinking back on last year, we saw several social impact trends take root from a focus on women’s empowerment and inclusion to sustainability initiatives that captured the zeitgeist. With a newly passed tax reform bill, we are already seeing new corporate philanthropy initiatives sprout and shape the impact on CSR this year.
In order to get a better picture into what might happen in corporate philanthropy trends in 2018, what better way to find out then to ask a few of the experts? As an Atlanta-based company, we asked some of our neighboring companies with incredible CSR programs and experience for their foresight into the trends that will evolve this year. We asked each expert to “look into your crystal ball, what will be the biggest corporate philanthropy trend in 2018?” Their insightful answers that range from creating brand focused initiatives to developing a lasting local impact, may help you to jumpstart a brainstorm for new ideas and shifts in your CSR programs for the new year:
“Consumers want to buy from—and employees want to work for—brands that make it a priority to help others and make a positive impact in their communities and beyond. I believe we’ll continue to see companies using their brand as a platform for change. ”
– Rodney Bullard, Vice President of Community Affairs for Chick-fil-A, Inc., and Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation
“Effective corporate philanthropy must align with a company’s business priorities as well as with its employees and clients/customers. For this reason, I think we will continue to see the trend of companies investing locally with dollars, people, product and services. Supporting local causes that align with corporate brands makes sense as a business strategy. It is also a great way to engage employees in meaningful ways whether through direct service, skills-based or pro bono volunteering. Another trend that will continue to evolve in 2018 is leveraging corporate/community partnerships for professional development. When companies invest in the community with dollars, encouraging employees to volunteer with these same causes helps expand the support. If employee are gleaning professional skills that will help advance their skills and careers while volunteering in a meaningful way – everyone wins.”
-Cheryl Kortemeier, Executive Director, Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta
“While not a new trend, I believe it’s crucial that corporate philanthropy continues to align with business goals and objectives. It is important for our industry to expand reach, scope and influence beyond the traditional CSR walls; continue to create unique partnership opportunities between the corporate and nonprofit sectors. It is critical for CSR professionals to have a seat and voice at the table to help fortify corporate reputation and brand, reinforce standing as an employer of choice and positively support client’s needs.”
-Michele Blondheim, Executive Director, Community Relations, Cox Automotive Incorporation
“I think the Local Local Local – call for civic engagement will continue to grow. I think this administration has many feeling like they must be involved locally in their community – – a call for citizenship and for being a part of community. Thinking this will make us all be more goal oriented plan focused with our giving and our engagement.
CSR continues to grow and be an important tenant for business in recruitment and retention of employees. Companies are more focused on their approach to giving – both funds and resources / in-kind donations to support strategic goals for the company.
Volunteering through your company will continue to grow and evolve with new technologies. Will be important for employers to offer various ways an employee can participate and give back to community. Nonprofits should explore new ways and more ways to engage with employers/companies to make direct connections.”
-Robbin Steed, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Sales & Community Marketing for WXIA-TV, 11Alive and TEGNA Media in Atlanta
“For our organization we will continue to focus of Financial education and literacy for citizens within the greater Atlanta community. We will focus on deepening our strategic partnerships in proving additional resources in an effort to make a greater impact.”
-Reina J. Short, Team Lead, Business & Community Development, Delta Community Credit Union