The Communications Executive Council (CEC) just recently wrapped up collecting data from our ninth annual Budget Resource Allocation Survey which means that I have a new cool data set to play with and trends to explore. While looking at some of the changes the communications function went through in the last 5 years, I ran into a very interesting stat relating to companies charitable activities that begs to be shared with our memberships.
The percentage of communications teams investing their time and resources into charitable activities fell by almost 10 percent in the last 5 years (from 2007 to 2012) while the percentage of our members involved in Corporate Social Responsibility activities (CSR) rose by 18 percent. And if you are still not convinced that CSR is replacing charity in communications priorities, here is another cool stat from the latest benchmarking survey: The average amount of time that communicators spend on charitable activities fell by almost half compared to 5 years ago, while the amount of time communicators allocated to CSR more than doubled compared to just 5 years ago.
Now here in CEC, we think that re-allocating your time and resources from charity to CSR is a very smart decision, if done strategically, and we are psyched to see so many or our members catching on. Especially, since communications still face an uphill battle when making a business case for CSR within their organization. The results of our CSR Management Diagnostic show that only 8% of business partners see their company’s CSR program as adding significant value to their business.
However, if done right, CSR can have a significant impact and communicators are in a great position to ensure that their organization’s CSR strategy is adding value to the organization and perceived as such by the business. In a collaborative research with our membership, we found that leading communicators are shifting to a new role: helping the organization spot and create opportunities for business growth that simultaneously benefit society. That is they help the company focus their finite resources upon social needs that are linked to their core operations and to business opportunities from which they can make a return, whether in the short term or the long term.