Consumers and employees are dissecting a company’s values more than ever, which is why corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a new standard for companies to increase revenue and attract talent.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines CSR as the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that:

  • Contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society;
  • Takes into account the expectations of stakeholders;
  • Is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behavior; and
  • Is integrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships.

4 Reasons Why CSR Matters

Practicing CSR and corporate philanthropy helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders and to the public. Many CSR companies aim to positively contribute to their communities, the economy and the environment.

CSR also has proven to be a great way for companies to benefit themselves and society in four primary ways:

1. Improves brand image.

Active CSR tends to result in positive public attention within your community, which can lead to media exposure. Promoting good in the community and your workplace can even result in awards and recognitions, which boosts brand value and awareness. CSR practices portray that your company is about more than making profits; it’s about making a difference.

2. Builds customer loyalty and meets public expectations.

55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies. And according to Cone Communications, nearly nine-in-10 (86%) Americans expect companies to do more than make a profit and feel they should also address social and environmental issues. Researching a brand’s philanthropic impact is becoming more commonplace when customers are evaluating companies.

3. Strengthens employee engagement and retention.

Bringing employees together to participate in corporate philanthropy activities, such as volunteer events or matching gift programs, fosters a more positive work environment and a greater sense of community, leading to increased employee engagement and retention, positively impacting culture and the bottom line.

4. Attracts top talent.

How a company treats its employees and community has a positive impact on attracting new talent to organizations. CSR practices can often result in a greater sense of pride among employees, which boosts the recruitment and development of new team members.

Many of the largest corporations in the U.S., such as TOMS, Starbucks and Google, are well-known for their corporate social responsibility practices. And they all approach CSR in a unique way that makes sense for their companies and brands.

Jumpstart CSR with Corporate-Advised Funds

Corporate philanthropy efforts, such as matching gifts, volunteer grants and corporate scholarships, remain the most common ways companies implement CSR practices.

A unique and simple way corporations can leverage this type of CSR is through a corporate-advised fund. With this kind of custom corporate giving, companies can give gifts of cash, stock, real estate or other assets to the fund, which is managed by a charitable sponsor organization like a community foundation.

As the charitable assets grow under the stewardship of advisors and investment managers, companies grant the funds and return on investment to nonprofits.

If your company is just beginning to consider how to adopt or expand your CSR strategy, The San Diego Foundation team is here to help you further your goals.

Contact  Director of Development & Stewardship Cami Mattson at or (619) 814-1385 to learn more.