114jbcfl687You may have come across #GivingTuesday, an amazing movement to create a national day of paying it forward to kick off the holiday giving season. It’s officially added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, #GivingTuesday is not alone. Over the past 12 months we’ve seen a rise in organizations creating lasting positive change and now we can learn from the best, the Civic 50!!

The NEW 2013 Civic 50 Change-makers were recently announced and the results published by Bloomberg show innovations in civic engagement are on the rise in corporate America. In case you missed our last article, the Civic 50 measures the nation’s top 50 S&P companies that set the standard for infusing responsibility practices, behaviors, and thinking into corporate culture. If your organization wants to increase community impact or launch new responsibility programming, you’ll want to hear this latest research.

Here are 4 key insights and examples we found to help you get started:

1) Integrate community policies into your corporate eco-system starting from the top

In 2013, 92% of companies reported specific policies or practices to institutionalize community engagement compared to 76% in 2012. The most successful responsibility directives came from the board, executive or senior leadership teams as more companies followed this trend.

Capital One’s leadership team implemented a formal Board Leadership Program and guidelines to support hundreds of staff who serve on nonprofit boards. Additionally, they created corporate volunteer policies and provided flexible hours for employees to volunteer during typical business hours.

2) Measure civic engagement as part of your business impact (bottom line)

More companies (96%) are now evaluating business performance based on the impact of their community engagement programs. This compares to 86% in 2012. Results indicate civic engagement is helping businesses increase sales, brand reputation, & employee skill development.

Hewlett-Packard demonstrated community engagement programs bumped up reputation scores by over 5%, and one specific initiative increased sales by 9%.

At Altria, 29% of employee volunteers said they gained new job-related skills through their experience and 69% said they further developed and exercised existing skills.

3) Make community involvement a metric in employee performance reviews

More companies (88%) are now evaluating their employees’ performance in part based on their participation in community service.

For example, at Western Union, thirty percent of all employee evaluations are based on “WU Behaviors,” reflecting strong emphasis on ethics and community engagement. Responsible behaviors include developing shared value projects, leading local fundraising events, and more. As part of the basis for bonuses and professional evaluations, all Western Union employees are asked to create a “Social Ventures” objective, aimed at reinforcing each individual employee’s commitment to using WU’s business assets to deliver business & social results.

At DIRECTV, the CEO is evaluated against an annual corporate responsibility goal, and a responsibility objective was included in company goals for all employees. Thus, the company’s responsibility success was a factor in performance reviews for all employees.

4) Donate your expertise through skills-based volunteering

More companies are donating expertise through pro bono support and skills-based volunteering. The latest research shows 31% of the workforce of each company on the 2013 Civic 50 were engaged in volunteerism; in 2012, approximately 16% of the total workforce of The Civic 50 companies was estimated to have volunteered. This year an average of 22% of those volunteer hours donated were specifically pro bono or skills-based volunteering.

At General Electric, through their Developing Health programs, local GE employees provided expertise to drive a billing process improvement project that saved the health center $100,000 annually and allowed them to increase their investment in the facility by 10%. Additionally, the volunteer teams in Lynn, MA helped increase general healthcare capacity by 7%.

Still looking for more ideas to boost your organization’s community impact? Consider this trend: Companies in the Civic 50 are providing resources to help small business and local enterprise counterparts succeed.

Hewlett-Packard launched the HP Learning Initiatives for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE), a worldwide, free, cloud-based e-learning program that helps enterprising individuals and young unemployed individuals who want to start or expand small businesses. In 2012, over 30,000 entrepreneurs from over 200 countries benefitted from HP LIFE and since its launch in 2007 HP LIFE has benefited over 2 million individuals, 25,000 businesses have been launched or expanded and 57,000 jobs have been created.

No matter what stage your company’s responsibility programming is in, the latest research speaks for itself: volunteering makes business sense!

For more details on the latest Civic 50 research, check out this infographic.

The Civic 50 research and rankings are conducted by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and Points of Light, the nation’s leading experts on volunteerism and service. To learn more about The Civic 50 or view the top ranked companies by industry classification, visit www.Civic50.org. For more information about The Civic 50 organizers, please visit National Conference on Citizenship at www.NCoC.net, Points of Light at www.pointsoflight.org and Bloomberg at www.bloomberg.com.

Authors:

Mathew, Mike and Antoinne are the founders of Altruhelp.com, an online community & enterprise software solution to increase volunteerism & civic engagement. What’s your Social Impact?