The CSR Scoop - 8/31/2015

Sep 2, 2015 10:30 AM ET

The Scoop:

This week’s news was buzzing with ideas and approaches to creating systemic change to better our lives and the lives of others. From Barry Schwartz’s Rethinking Work to the launch of Impact 2030, great ideas are being matched with practical ideas on how to make a measurable impact on making our communities more equitable and vibrant places to live. Dig in, and let us know what you think about the ideas percolating here.  

Ideagen Exclusive Interview With Ritz Carlton's Sue Stephenson

We’re getting excited for what may be the largest collective effort to mobilize corporate volunteers in history!  The UN Sustainable Development goals are being adopted later this month to pick up where the Millennium Development goals left off.  Their adoption will officially launch a campaign to direct the efforts of corporate employees around the world to achieving these global goals.  How?  Impact2030, a business led coalition, is bringing businesses together and providing the tools they need to direct their collective efforts.  Check out how Ritz Carlton is rolling up their sleeves to take on these goals through the use of skills-based volunteering.  

“IMPACT 2030 is about mobilizing "strategic human capital" to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. "For those of us that are involved in skills-based volunteering, we know it is a powerful tool to inspire and engage your employees, and to help them develop critical thinking and leadership skills" by leveraging their unique talents, skills and experience and is also "an effective way to strengthen employee retention. So, there's both a real investment and value proposition for the companies involved."

An Unconventional Path to Developing Female Leaders

In honor of #WomensEqualityDay last week, we’re bringing back an oldie but goodie from Common Impact’s CEO Danielle Holly on how skills-based volunteerism can be one of the most effective tools in developing female leaders.  Women executives tend to have natural, but often uncultivated, strength in  influencing, resiliency, and creativity.  As core survival skills in the nonprofit sector, these strengths enable women leaders to test out how to influence without authority, how to design systems that are nimble and resilient, and how to solve challenges severely limited resources.

“Progress will come through innovative and unconventional solutions; and that creating opportunities to engage actively in the community can sustain a strengthened, conscious and connected workforce, full of individuals – women and men both – who are ready to lead.”

Rethinking Work

Check out this great piece by Barry Schwartz from this past weekend’s New York Times on what truly drives and motivates people in their work.  Schwartz takes a critical look at the way that our society and economic systems have structured work in ways that are in direct opposition with what truly drives and motivates people.  By positioning work as that which we don’t want to do we derail an individual’s ability to find purpose in their work and ultimately, we lead them to stop seeking it.

“We need to emphasize the ways in which an employee’s work makes other people’s lives at least a little bit better (and, of course, to make sure that it actually does make people’s lives a little bit better). Work that is adequately compensated is an important social good. But so is work that is worth doing. Half of our waking lives is a terrible thing to waste.”

Schwartz points to how highly valued having purpose at work is to individuals -- across every profession, industry.  This is something that Common Impact sees each day, both at our nonprofit clients and among the corporate employees who roll up their sleeves to take on skills-based volunteer projects.  When you provide employees with a sense of meaning in their work, and enable them to help others because they’re naturally driven to do so -- not because it’s mandated -- you provide the chance to truly turn around our current work paradigm -- a paradigm that is just not working.      

Why Some Nonprofits Leap, and Others Don’t

And from the ever-wise Nell Edginton, a piece on why some nonprofits are able to realize success and others aren’t.  The four dimensions she points to:

  • Vision:  Keeping the vision for change front and center -- in conversations with a nonprofit’s Board, staff and clients -- and rallies everyone behind that vision.

  • Confidence:  Fighting the trap of supplication that nonprofits can fall into, and making real and confident demands of your partners that will allow you to create the change you seek.  

  • Fearlessness: Heading bravely into the face of uncertainty and not being afraid to ask for support when outcomes are unknown.   

  • Diligence: Making hard choices, saying no and saying goodbye to Board, staff and partners that are no longer benefiting your organization. 

Simple to remember, but hard to do -- Common Impact will be keeping these tenets close as we continue to support our nonprofit clients in developing strong, healthy partnerships with corporate partners.  


WEBINAR: Overcoming the Overhead Myth
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Date:  Today, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Time: 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT
A dangerous myth prevails among funders that overhead can be used as a proxy for efficiency. In fact, research shows that under-investing in administrative overhead is often linked with poor performance by nonprofits. This webinar is for nonprofit executives who wish to invest in administration and who need strategies for communicating to funders the true costs of running their organization; funders who are interested in evaluating their grantees for efficacy and for rethinking operational costs as opportunities for investment; and all social sector professionals who are interested in understanding and spreading awareness about the dangers of under-investing in overhead.

LOCAL, NYC:  Fireside with Ann MacDougall, President of
Be Social Change
Date: Monday, September 29th
Time:  7 - 9PM EDT

Join Marcos Salazar, Co-founder and Executive Director of Be Social Change, and Ann MacDougall, President of, on September 29th at WeWork Soho West, for an intimate fireside chat about creating a better future by engaging millions of people in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world.  They’ll explore what led Ann to pursue an Encore Career, using her experience and talents for social good, and how, in her current role as President of, she is redefining how society views aging from a problem to a solution by helping to unlock this vital source of talent to tackle society’s most urgent challenges.