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Corporations and What They Want in Today’s World of Employee Engagement

Resource Center - Foundation

rachel HutchissonCorporations, like individual donors, require cultivation and stewardship in order to have the most rewarding relationship. AFP had a chance recently to chat with Rachel Hutchisson, vice president of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Blackbaud, about what corporations are looking for in offering nonprofits support, the subject of her upcoming webinar, Corporations and What They Want in Today’s World of Employee Engagement, on August 31. 

Q.  What attracts corporations into giving/partnering?

A.  Making a decision about whom to partner with, why and what to give to is anything but easy for a company. There are always so many great causes and organizations to support. Companies have to go through their own thoughtful process about why and how they give, which includes thinking about their employees, their brand, the role in the community, what they offer, and so on. 

Nonprofits approaching companies should inquire about these decisions and do their research. Companies do want to give back, but they are looking for strategic alignment – a way to support good work that fits with who they are and what they believe.  A little research goes a long way! 

Q.  How has corporate social responsibility (CSR) changed over the last decade?

A.  CSR has become more widely embraced over the past 10 years, and the biggest shift has been the growing importance of employee engagement. More than ever, people who are seeking jobs are also seeking companies with a heart. Companies not only must recruit these people, they also have to retain them—which means focusing on what makes people happy. I often call employee engagement one of the biggest gifts to CSR because it’s something you can measure through engagement surveys and has hard costs associated with it. 

Q.  Where do you think CSR is headed?

A.  I think the focus on employee engagement – and keeping people central – is here to stay.  I am about to give a talk at TEDx Wilmington about how the era of CSR is ending and why that’s good. In that talk, I’ll share thoughts about focusing on the human component versus “corporate.” CSR is evolving, which is natural and good.

Q.  Without mentioning names, what’s the most audacious ask you’ve received?

A.  I think the most audacious ask was something to the effect of “We’ve never met, but how about a million dollars?” Seriously? I have some other examples of how NOT to ask for money that I’ll run through during the webinar. They’re funny, sure, but I guess we still have to make it clear that they aren’t good fundraising.

Q.  What causes do you personally support?

A.  I support many causes including the Coastal Community Foundation (I am a strong believer in the role of community foundations in building the communities we want and need for the future), education, my church and AFP, of course!  I believe strongly in equality and access to education and opportunities for all.

To find out more about what corporations are looking for in nonprofit partners join us for Rachel’s webinar on August 31, 2016 at 1:00 PM Eastern:  Corporations and What They Want in Today’s World of Employee Engagement

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