Over the last 2 weeks, my colleague Jon Packer (President of The Idea Workshop) and I conducted workshops in Toronto and Vancouver for corporate community investment managers. Participating corporations included TELUS, Bell, Pfizer, Shoppers Drug Mart, RBC, and 3M among others. All major corporations with significant programs in this area.
We had 3 important learnings from these sessions:
1. Community investment managers need management tools to help increase their accountability for community investments. Largely managers in this area are flying blind and don’t have a way of demonstrating the value of what they spend in this area. This leaves them very vulnerable – especially during time when all budgets will come under scrutiny from executives.
2. While community investment (and other CSR programs) are now profiled in all existing internal communications and many external communications, employees and external stakeholders remain largely in the dark about what companies do in this area.
3. Managers are wrestling with how to evaluate the risk that’s associated with creating more profile for their programs. At our workshops we showed participants back-to-back videos of Dove’s remarkable Onslaughtcampaign (263,000 views on YouTube) and Greenpeace’s hard hitting response called Onslaughter(549,000 views on YouTube) that targets Dove’s use of palm oil in its beauty products.