Microsoft’s Sid Espinosa Reflects on Corporate Citizenship
Sid Espinosa, Microsoft’s Director of Corporate Citizenship, has a recent article in Venture Beat about corporate citizenship: Corporate philanthropy: Good for the Soul and Your Bottom Line.
There’s no question what he says is important and very true – he cites a recent study from the Reputation Institute showing that “increasing local community engagement is one of the most effective means by which a company can improve its overall reputation and, ultimately, bottom line” and gives some great basic principles for companies beginning to integrate CSR into their operations. But, to really reap the benefits of engaged corporate citizenship, I believe you need to take things a step further.
Don’t be afraid to look at philanthropy as a driver of revenues and brand equity. Use it as a tool to not just encourage employees to volunteer, but to increase their community engagement and sense of fulfillment. Leverage it as a social innovation lab – getting essential feedback and information from your customer base in a safe environment. Gather real knowledge about the world your products or services are released into. The more circular this feedback cycle can be, the more your bottom line and community will benefit from your philanthropic actions. In the end sustainable and relevant corporate citizenship is about a new design that creates economic and social value simultaneously.