Corporate social responsibility - what does this mean? Corporations have moral, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities in addition to earning a fair return for their investors and in complying with the law. Historically, it has been believed that the primary-and maybe only responsibility-is to a corporation’s owners or stockholders. In the past, charitable giving-giving to help others-was done through the church and money was distributed as the church saw fit. However today, there is a broader view of corporate giving. Corporations are encouraged to embrace this concept. This type of giving would include their employees, suppliers, and customers; but it also reaches out to the community which might be near or far away, environmental groups, or other special interest groups-which would include numerous foundations and charities.
Many believe that large corporations have huge reserves of both human and financial capital. Therefore, they should devote at least some of their resources to addressing social issues and to helping make the world a better place. The problem comes in deciding which charitable organization to support. Presently in the United States, there are 1.8 million non-profit organizations to choose from. A non-profit organization (NPO) is an organization that does not issue stock shares or does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders. Instead this surplus must be retained for the self-preservation, expansion, or plans of the NPO. So now instead of the community or the church or even the individual, a corporation may have the role of deciding which charity is the best one suited to match its interests.
NPO’s take many forms. There are charities, foundations, social welfare or advocacy organizations, professional or trade associations, or religious organizations. Their funds may go to support the arts or humanities, education, the environment, animals, health, human service, or just about anything else that you can think of. Most of the resources of these groups come from individuals (75%) followed by foundations, bequests, and corporations.
How can you learn about these various groups? Some charities choose to knock on doors, call you on the phone, send letters, or perhaps to spread their story by word of mouth. Giving has been made easy. Individuals or corporations can easily donate online, and the fees are minimal; you can give directly by sending a check; or you can sponsor fundraising events. The first step is in making the choice to become involved and to vow to make a difference. Then do some investigating and select the charity you wish to support.
Research does show that those corporations that develop a reputation as being socially responsible enjoy a higher level of performance. Most importantly, we want to see corporations as good citizens. Let us help you make that difference!