Corporate Social Responsibility: The Definitive Guide

Corporate Social Responsibility: The Definitive Guide
Learn more about corporate social responsibility.

Corporate Social Responsibility: The Definitive Guide

Learn more about corporate social responsibility.

Corporate Social Responsibility Basics

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (also known as CSR) is a term used to describe a company’s efforts to improve society in some way. These efforts can range from donating money to nonprofits to implementing environmentally friendly policies in the workplace.

Who does CSR impact?

CSR impacts companies, nonprofits, and employees,  as well as society as a whole. Corporate social responsibility is not a mandated practice in the United States; instead, it is something extra that companies do to improve their local and global communities. This means that the general public can be impacted by CSR as well when they get to reap the benefits of companies’ do-good efforts.

What is the purpose of corporate social responsibility?

The purpose of corporate social responsibility is to give back to the community, take part in philanthropic causes, and provide positive social value. Businesses are increasingly turning to CSR to make a difference and build a positive brand around their company. And because social responsibility is not a mandated practice, it can function as a powerful differentiator for companies that partake.

How can CSR programs help nonprofits?

CSR helps encourage companies to get involved and support a wide range of nonprofit causes. For those charitable organizations, taking a strategic approach to leveraging social responsibility opportunities can help drive corporate giving revenue, employee volunteerism, and more.

Though individual donors continue to make up roughly three-fourths of an organization’s total monetary contributions, CSR initiatives can assist nonprofits in driving the remaining 25% of funding after they’ve maximized their individual support. Not to mention, some CSR programs (such as matching gifts) can even increase individual giving as well!

How much money has been donated as a result of corporate giving?

Corporations donated a total of $36 billion to nonprofits in 2022. 28% of total giving went to education programs, while 25% went to health and social services, and 16% went to community and economic development programs.

Total amount of corporate giving revenue in 2022

CSR Statistics: What You Need to Know

26 Million

Individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.

40%

Of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs.

$2 Billion

Is donated by the top 10 corporations annually in cash to nonprofits.

$2-3 Billion

Is donated through matching gift programs each year.

11%

Of corporate donations are made through matching gift programs.

93%

Of employees believe companies must lead with purpose.

77%

Of consumers want to buy from companies making the world a better place.

88%

Of people want to know about a company’s CSR efforts.

Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

These are the benefits of CSR for nonprofits.


For Nonprofits

Companies with strong corporate social responsibility programs are looking for nonprofits to receive their support in the form of grants, matching gift programs, and volunteer grants. CSR initiatives help nonprofits find support beyond individual donors.

These are the benefits of CSR for businesses.


For Businesses

Research shows that consumers are more likely to work with companies or purchase goods from companies that are socially responsible. You can also raise brand awareness by being featured on donor recognition walls or acknowledged in marketing materials.

These are the benefits of CSR for employees.


For Employees

Employees like working for companies that have a good public image and are constantly in the media for positive reasons. Nearly 60% of employees who are proud of their company’s social responsibility are engaged in their jobs.

These are the benefits of CSR for society.


For Society

CSR is a thoughtful and practical way to give back to society. When businesses are conscious of their social and environmental impact on the world, they can benefit society by giving back and helping to find solutions to everyday issues.

Types of Corporate Social Responsibility

A common type of CSR is corporate philanthropy.

Corporate Philanthropy


Corporate philanthropy occurs when a corporation promotes the welfare of others, usually through charitable donations of funds. Companies can leverage this type of CSR in various ways, though one of the most popular methods is by matching gifts their employees make to nonprofits.

Corporations that offer matching gift programs essentially double the donations that their employees are giving to eligible organizations.

A common type of CSR is corporate volunteerism.

Corporate Volunteerism


Corporations can leverage corporate volunteerism by encouraging their employees to volunteer. Many companies allocate hours to go toward volunteering during the workday, and many more encourage involvement by offering volunteer grants to the nonprofits where their employees volunteer.

This kind of socially responsible program is a win-win for every party involved. Employees are seen volunteering and donating their time to important causes in the community, and nonprofits are receiving free time and volunteer work, which is essential for the success of so many organizations. Not to mention the reputation the business can build as they support local missions!

A common type of CSR is environmental leadership.

Environmental Leadership


Corporations can demonstrate environmental leadership in several ways. For example, they can:

  • Put forth efforts to reduce their carbon emissions
  • Recycle their products
  • Give back to environmental causes

By showing that they care about improving and preserving the environment, companies can gain more support and business, and also build a solid reputation as an environmental leader.

A common type of CSR is ethical labor practices.

Ethical Labor Practices


Part of being socially responsible for a corporation means participating in ethical labor practices. These practices can include:

  • Offering more competitive salaries and compensation packages to employees
  • Providing generous parental leave
  • Offering tuition reimbursement

Following ethical labor practices reflects well on companies and causes more individuals to want to work with them—and consumers feel better about buying their goods or services.

A common type of CSR is economic responsibility.

Economic Responsibility


In being economically responsible, companies “pay their dues” to society. This is often done by:

  • Keeping up with their taxes
  • Investing back into their communities
  • Paying their employees competitive wages

Companies that take part in economic responsibility are truly paying it forward for the greater social good. This not only impacts their values as a company but also their employees and the well-being of the economy overall.

Workplace Giving

Matching gifts are a common type of corporate social responsibility program.

Workplace giving is a specific type of corporate philanthropy within the overall CSR umbrella. One of the main elements that sets workplace giving (or employee giving) apart is that companies get their employees involved in the efforts in hands-on ways.

Here are two of the most popular forms of workplace giving:

Matching Gift Programs

Matching gifts are a type of corporate philanthropy in which companies match donations that their employees make to nonprofit organizations.

When an employee makes a donation, they’ll request the matching gift from their employer, who then makes their own donation. Companies usually match donations at a 1:1 ratio, but some will match at a 2:1, 3:1, or even a 4:1 ratio.

Matching gifts are also growing in popularity. Check out these statistics:

  • 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs.
  • 84% of donors say they’re more likely to make a donation if a match is offered.
  • 1 in 3 donors indicates that they would give a larger gift if matching was applied to their donation.
  • 12% of total corporate cash contributions have gone through corporate matching gift programs.

Matching gifts can make a huge difference in nonprofit fundraising, as well as employee engagement.


Volunteer grants are a common type of corporate social responsibility program.

Volunteer Grants

Volunteer grants are a form of corporate giving that encourages employees to volunteer in their local community. Companies then provide monetary grants to the organizations where these employees regularly volunteer.

Volunteer grants are a great way to turn volunteer time into tangible funds and are also rising in popularity. For example:

  • 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs.
  • 80% of companies with volunteer grant programs offer between $8-$15 per hour volunteered.
  • 66% of companies that were surveyed provided paid-release time volunteer programs in 2019.

Volunteer grants essentially help nonprofits meet their volunteering and fundraising goals at the same time.


Corporate Social Responsibility Examples

Take a look at some well-known companies with particularly standout social responsibility programs.

Companies can get inspired by these offerings as they look to craft and refine their own, and nonprofits can seek corporate partnership opportunities with mission-focused businesses!

CompanyAnnual Giving InformationLearn More
Walmart$250 for 25 volunteer hoursWalmart’s CSR program
Wells Fargo$2,000 maximum match per employeeWells Fargo’s CSR program
Akamai Technologies$5,000 maximum match per employee [with auto-submission]Akamai Technologies’ CSR program
Microsoft$15,000 maximum match per employeeMicrosoft’s CSR program
Apple$25 per volunteer hourApple’s CSR program
Google$12,000 maximum match per employeeGoogle’s CSR program
Boeing$10,000 maximum match per employeeBoeing’s CSR program
ExxonMobil$500 grant after 20 hours of volunteeringExxonMobil’s CSR program
Chevron$10,000 maximum match per employeeChevron’s CSR program
StarbucksUp to $1,000 for volunteeringStarbucks’ CSR program
Verizon$750 volunteer grants for up to two nonprofitsVerizon’s CSR program

Top CSR company logo - Walmart

Walmart


Walmart donated more than 1.4 billion globally in FY2019, and more than 47,000 associates in the U.S. volunteered more than 776,000 hours. Walmart also donated 640 million pounds of food in the U.S. alone.

Google


Google recently set a 5-year goal to give $1 billion in grants and offer 1 million volunteer hours. They are also helping close the world’s education gap by supporting nonprofits that build platforms to scale digital learning resources.

Microsoft makes a large impact when it comes to CSR.

Microsoft


Microsoft strengthens communities all over. They recently donated $1.4 billion in software and services to NGOs, and their employees donated $158 million (including Microsoft matching gifts) to nonprofits.

Top CSR company logo - Innovative Discovery

Offers Matching Gift Auto-Submission

Innovative Discovery


Innovative Discovery has established a breakthrough matching gift program using Double the Donation’s auto-submission functionality. Plus, the company participates in CSR by offering VTO (or paid volunteer time off), volunteer grants, employee fundraising campaigns, nonprofit sponsorships, and more.

Read the case study here!

Top CSR company logo - Checkr

Offers Matching Gift Auto-Submission

Checkr


Checkr participates in corporate social responsibility by giving charitably to the organizations their employees believe in (made quick, easy, and accessible with matching gift auto-submission through Double the Donation). Not only that, but they also aim to drive forward fair hiring practices for all companies and offer assistance through expungement and reentry services for post-incarcerated individuals.

Read the case study here!

CSR Software for Nonprofits and Companies

CSR technology

Both corporate businesses and nonprofit organizations are deeply involved in elements of corporate social responsibility. As a result, there are a number of software solutions designed to aid both businesses and nonprofits in making the most of the opportunities at hand.

In the end, the critical purpose of each software revolves around simplifying and increasing participation in corporate giving initiatives. Because, ultimately, all stakeholders benefit from maximal program usage.

Here’s what you should know about each type of technology!

CSR Software for Nonprofits

Nonprofits can increase their revenue by promoting matching gifts and volunteer grant programs to their supporters. Through these CSR programs and others, donors can often double their contribution and volunteers can make an even greater impact with their time.

Double the Donation can help both nonprofits and employees take advantage of these CSR opportunities.

Double the Donation offers the world’s #1 matching gifts and volunteer grant database, with more than 8,500 organizations using it. As the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource, both nonprofits and corporate employees can gain access to thousands of profiles that can help them get their gifts matched and secure volunteer grants.

How the Database Works

STEP 1:

The donor sees the company search tool, giving them access to the matching gift database.


Find out a company's policies for nonprofit stock donations and matching gifts with a searchable company database.

STEP 2:

The donor types the name of their employer into the auto-completing company search tool.


The second step to using a CSR database is searching for your employer.

STEP 3:

The donor views all of their employer’s matching gift information, forms, and guidelines.


The third step to using a CSR database is viewing the results.

In addition to providing access to the industry’s most comprehensive matching gift and corporate giving database, Double the Donation also allows organizations to increase engagement and funds through automated and personalized donor outreach.

By triggering follow-up emails in the hours after an individual makes a donation, each donor receives a targeted message with employer-specific program criteria and direct links to next steps for submitting their matches.

This empowers organizations to drive more eligible matches to completion by ensuring every donor is exposed to matching gift opportunities; including those who would be otherwise unaware of the programs they may qualify for.

CSR Software for Companies

Businesses can also organize their CSR programs by using CSR software. CSR software designed for companies streamlines the giving and volunteering process into one central system, making it easier for employees to participate, as well as for companies to manage!

For example, CSR software helps companies:

  • Manage employee donations
  • Review and approve matching gift requests
  • Coordinate and promote volunteer opportunities
  • Log volunteer hours
  • Review and approve volunteer grant and matching gift requests
  • Communicate employee giving impact

When companies choose the right CSR software to manage their giving programs, this helps them get the most out of the programs they’ve implemented. It’s also great for nonprofits because they get to benefit from those programs as more and more employees participate.

And now, corporate-focused CSR platforms are working with Double the Donation to enable powerful auto-submission functionality. This new option further streamlines matching gift requests for employees by tightening partnerships between charitable-minded companies, their employees, and the nonprofits they both support.

Additional CSR Resources

Matching Gift Companies


Learn more about CSR and matching gift companies!

There are a ton of companies that match their employees’ donations.

However, companies like GE, CarMax, and Johnson & Johnson stand out in the crowd. Find out why!


Volunteer Grant Companies


Learn more about CSR and volunteer grant companies!

Many companies offer excellent volunteer grant programs to their employees.

Learn more about the top companies who offer this and how they take part in corporate social responsibility.


Corporate Giving Programs


Learn more about CSR and corporate giving programs.

Corporate giving programs allow all sorts of companies to invest in social good.

Learn more about how corporate giving programs can impact nonprofits and how employees can take part.