Communications and Stakeholder Engagement. Created in Partnership between the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and TCC Group

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1 Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Created in Partnership between the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and TCC Group

2 Outline of Presentation I. Introduction II. The Value of Communicating III. How to Communicate Effectively IV. Tools for Communicating V. Resources 2

3 Section I Introduction

4 Presentation Thesis Philanthropy is an asset a company can use to help meet business objectives with internal and external stakeholders. Philanthropy is one component of your company s larger corporate citizenship story -- it should reflect what your company stands for. Corporate communications team should be part of your planning from the outset. Communications should be integrated into all philanthropic activities and tailored to your particular audiences. To communicate effectively, you need a philanthropy story that makes sense for your company, is credible, has a human dimension, and will be told consistently. To make good use of limited resources, know your audiences, what they care about, and the best way to reach them. 4

5 Section II The Value of Communicating

6 Why Communicate? Overall, to let a wide range of stakeholders know that you are a good corporate citizen. Increase Employee Awareness and Pride Strengthen Corporate Reputation / Brand Increase Sales / Expand Client Base Create Positive Impression on Prospective Employees Build Trust Among Public Gain Socially Responsible Investors Build Goodwill with Government Officials 6

7 To Communicate or Not? Concerns about Communicating Risks of Not Communicating Benefits of Communicating Clearly Don t want to pat yourself on the back / brag Don t have a coherent story to tell Don t spend as much as peers Don t want to invite grant requests Limited awareness of your programs Limited support for programs among senior executives Philanthropy department siloed Inundated with inappropriate requests Stakeholders understand your programs Public recognition Internal support Easier to decline out-ofscope requests Reduced volume of requests 7

8 You are Already Communicating All of the ways that your company, business units, and employees are communicating to stakeholders already about CCI/Philanthropy: Cause Marketing Initiatives Media stories Speeches by Senior Leaders Listing of company's name as a donor or event sponsor Employees and products associated with event Funding guidelines 8

9 Take Control of Your Company s Philanthropy Messages The company, other business units, other employees are already communicating to stakeholders about philanthropic efforts WITH OR WITHOUT YOU. You know your philanthropy programs better than anyone in the company. Take responsibility for all messaging about philanthropy. The goal is to communicate these messages consistently and make sure others in the company do too. 9

10 Section III How to Communicate Effectively

11 Articulate Your Company s Philanthropic Message Align your philanthropic message with your company s corporate citizenship message and what it stands for. The public understands that a company s philanthropic activities are not exclusively altruistic. A company is more credible if it communicates candidly why it is supporting certain initiatives, programs and organizations. As a health care company, we are committed to making sure that people without insurance get access to the medicines they need to lead healthy, productive lives. As an innovator in technology solutions, we are working with teachers to help integrate technology into middle school classrooms to strengthen science and math education. As a professional services firm, our success is solely dependent upon the talent of our employees which is why we work to cultivate the next generation. 11

12 Telling Your Company s Philanthropy Story Focus on progress, accomplishments and impact. Use proof points to tell your company s story. Give specific examples of how your philanthropy efforts both advance the company s mission and improve the community. Avoid generalizations. Move beyond dollars given, numbers of people served and a list of grantees. Communicate the whole story. Humanize the story by talking about actual people and the problem you are solving. 12

13 Identify Your Key Stakeholders Consider who needs to know about your company s efforts so you can select the right content to communicate about and the right vehicles to reach them. Internal Employees CEO Senior Mgmt / Executive Team Corporate Board of Directors Foundation Board Other Departments Business Units Domestic/International Field Offices Shareholders Business Partners External Key Opinion Leaders (Influencers) Government Officials Community Partners Grantees Consumers The Field Academics Watch Dog Groups Potential Employees General Public 13

14 What do Your Internal Stakeholders Care About? Internal Stakeholders Expectations / Concerns Employees CEO Senior Mgmt / Executive Team Corporate Board of Directors Foundation Board Other Departments Business Units Domestic / International Field Offices Shareholders Business Partners Company Reputation Employee Involvement / Pride Employee Retention, Recruitment, Morale Business Alignment / CSR Integration Continuous Improvement Learning about Best Practices Social Impact Increased sales / demand for products or services 14

15 What do Your External Stakeholders Care About? External Stakeholders Expectations / Concerns Key Opinion Leaders (Influencers) Government Officials Community Partners Grantees Consumers The Field Academics Watch Dog Groups Potential Employees General Public Transparency Real Social Impact Improving the community Sound environmental practices Treating employees well 15

16 Communicating to Target Audiences Target Audience What Do They Want to Know? What Do You Want Them to Do? What Should you Tell Them? What is the Best Way to Reach Them? C - Suite How is CCI strengthening our reputation with our key stakeholders? What s the bang for the buck? Are we getting credit? Are resources being used efficiently? Publicly champion philanthropy internally and externally Provide adequate resources Get involved Results both anecdotal and measured Communication successes Face to face Memos Presentations Speaking engagements for them 16

17 Exercise: Fill in with Other Key Stakeholders Target Audience What Do They Want to Know? What Do You Want Them to Do? What Should you Tell Them? What is the Best Way to Reach Them? 17

18 Setting Communications Goals Remember to set goals annually for communications. What is new this year to communicate? Big initiatives and new partnerships Milestones Results of evaluation of a signature program CEO being honored by nonprofit organization What is the larger story about the company s role in addressing a societal problem and the impact the company and its partners are having? Once you know what you what to communicate, to whom, why, and when, you can move on to determining your communications tactics. 18

19 Section IV Tools for Communicating

20 Common Communication Vehicles Internal Company intranet Annual CSR / CCI Report Employee newsletters Blast s Senior management speeches Printed materials about programs Employee giving or volunteerism registration website External Company web site Senior management speeches and media interviews Speaking opportunities Conference presentations Academic case studies on model programs Joint funder/grantee forums CSR Report Annual Report Media stories 20

21 External Company Web Site Clearly identified Philanthropy or Community section Be transparent about what you fund, why, and how: What are the focus areas for giving? Why is the company supporting these causes? What are the priorities for giving (e.g., regional considerations, employee involvement, etc.)? Is there an application process? Open application process or by invitation only? What is the timing of decisions? How are decisions made? When will applicants be notified? 21

22 A Word about Media Coverage National media not very receptive to stories about corporate philanthropy unless the impact is relevant, the approach is unique and the contribution is significant. There are many fewer philanthropy reporters today and the beat usually includes the entire nonprofit sector. Immediate aftermath of a natural disaster garners some attention for corporate philanthropic efforts. Local media are often better targets, especially for telling local, community-based, philanthropy stories. Consider print, radio, television and online media and which outlet would be the most appropriate for your story. 22

23 Communicating with Employees Employees are eager for information about their company s philanthropy efforts. Provide both factual information AND human stories to evoke emotion and instill pride. Provide clear information about specific programs relevant to employees (e.g., matching gifts, volunteer activities, workplace giving campaign) Inspire employees with: Stories about the social impact the company has had Connections to milestones (1000 th volunteer hour this year!) Profiles of employee volunteers Grantee profiles CEO speech highlighting a philanthropy program 23

24 Collaborate with Corp Communications Philanthropy is a good news story for the company and can provide the proof points your Corporate Communications department may be seeking to position the company in a favorable light. Establish a liaison within Corporate Communications. Keep that person informed about milestones, new initiatives, program results. Be proactive about identifying opportunities for senior management to speak publicly (internally and externally) about philanthropy. Make it easy for your communications colleagues. Prepare fact sheets on philanthropy statistics and stories that can be included in executives speeches and talking points for upcoming media interviews. 24

25 Collaborate with Human Resources A company s commitment to CCI is increasingly important to current and prospective employees. You can become a valuable partner to HR in its efforts to recruit and retain staff. An Employee Volunteer Program (EVP) is effective in achieving general HR objectives for recruiting, retaining, and developing employees Points of Light Foundation and Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, 2005 Despite the tough economy in 2009, support for employee volunteering remained strong with 83 percent of executives of large companies re-affirming their support. The State of Corporate Citizenship in the United States 2009: Weathering The Storm (Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship),

26 Equip Employees as Communication Ambassadors Employees are interacting with stakeholders every day. They can be your most effective ambassadors in strengthening the company s reputation at the grassroots level. Employees should be well equipped to discuss why their company is a responsible corporate citizen, including the company s philanthropy mission and examples of what it supports in the community and why. 26

27 Leverage Grantees Communication Vehicles Don t overlook the communications vehicles that nonprofit organizations have to get the word out about your philanthropy: Press releases about grants, sponsorships, and partnerships E-newsletters Annual reports Board announcements Recognition at events, honoring a senior leader Agree up front on a mutually beneficial communications strategy. 27

28 Integrate Philanthropy Communications with CSR Communications CSR reports are increasingly common and an excellent vehicle for showcasing philanthropy as part of your company s overall citizenship story. If your company produces a CSR report, weave in relevant stories about corporate giving. Make the nonprofit partner and its programs are the focus of these stories ideally with a testimonial from a third party about how the company is advancing the organization s mission. Be sure that philanthropy staff are part of the crossfunctional team with EH&S, HR, Communications, Community/Government Relations that develops the CSR report. 28

29 Communicating Difficult Information Need to consider how to communicate sensitively when: Changing funding guidelines / focus areas; Shutting down operations in local area; Cutting grant budgets amount or size; or, Taking other actions that will affect the community and organizations you have supported. Be proactive so you can control the message and avoid being misconstrued. Work with communications professionals to figure out the best way to convey difficult information. 29

30 Example of Effective Communication Cole Hardware s Website What makes it effective? Easy to see what the company is doing Gives the right level of detail for external readers Focuses on results on local level 30

31 Example of Effective Communication: Sleep Train s Website What makes it effective? Easy to see what the company supports Compelling story Easy to take part 31

32 Example of Effective Communication: Starbuck s CSR Reports What makes it effective? Covers topics of interest to consumers All info in one place Well organized 32

33 Checklist for Creating Your Communications Plan Develop clear communication goals What do you hope to accomplish? How will you know if you have succeeded? Create your compelling story What is the social impact you want to communicate? Determine your priority stakeholders Which stakeholders do you need to reach? What type of story do they need to hear? Identify your communication vehicles What format should you be using for each stakeholder? Who should be delivering key messages? 33

34 Exercise: My Next Steps What are the key steps you need to take to either develop or refine your communications program?

35 Section V Additional Resources

36 Resources Corporate Giving: Options and Strategies, Chapter Six: Communications; Sylvia Clark and Kate Dewey, Council on Foundations, 2008 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Communications produced by Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Net Impact and Edelman,

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