Driving a True Culture Change: Connecting Profit and Purpose

By: Andrew Troup, director of corporate giving & engagement strategy, Blackbaud’s Corporate & Foundation Solutions Group

Two weeks ago I had the fortunate opportunity to attend one of my favorite annual events in the corporate giving & engagement space, the 2017 Summit on Employee Engagement in Corporate Citizenship presented by Charities@Work and ACCP. I have attended the Charities@Work Summit for several years, however this was the first year that they partnered with ACCP to host the summit and in my opinion it simply led to continued success. This year’s summit was filled with exceptional content that was both inspirational while also remaining relevant and full of actionable takeaways.

I particularly enjoyed aligning key takeaways from sessions and conversations with recent observations I’ve read and written about myself regarding the state of today’s “socially conscious business”.  Most corporations I’ve encountered have a strong base of employee volunteerism and an established CSR program, but few have taken the next step towards truly driving change: aligning profit and purpose. Mark Shamley, President & CEO of ACCP, alluded to this new trend by speaking about the importance of purpose; how purpose is linked to profit; the need for authenticity; environmental, social, and governance strategies and their connection to earnings; as well as how employee engagement is the new “currency” of CSR.

In my webcast “Building the Socially Conscious Company of Tomorrow”, I break down how purpose is the key to your organization affecting long term change and becoming a socially conscious company of tomorrow. The definition of a “socially conscious company” that I favor is one that leverages their assets to make a tangible, positive, social, and environmental impact. Or, more simply, linking profit and purpose. “Profit” can mean more than just dollars, other examples are talent and expertise at your organization, data you have that can lead to efficiencies, or tips about sustainability. Each of these factors can lead to “purpose”, or tangible impacts. Freya Williams, CEO from Futerra North America, said it best at the conference when she stressed the importance of work and the ability of employee engagement to save the world. If we can connect profit and purpose, we can drive true culture change and foster a more just and sustainable world.

So what steps can you take to drive this culture change within your organization? It will require connecting all your giving and engagement activities, and effectively managing the outcomes and influence of each. Learn more about each of the 3 steps towards affecting long term change by listening to my webcast, which you can access at no cost here.

I will end with a thought posed by the team from Povaddo during their session, Social Activism in Corporate America: “…we need to prepare for a paradigm shift from employee engagement to employee fulfillment…”