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.

What is CSR?

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 alike. 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.

How can CSR programs help nonprofits?

Individuals make up roughly three-fourths of an organization’s total monetary contributions. CSR initiatives can help nonprofits make up that leftover 25% after they’ve looked to individual donors. CSR also encourages corporate volunteerism in the communities where employees live and work.

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

Corporations donated a total of $26 billion to nonprofits in 2019. 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.

Corporations have contributed $26 billion as part of corporate social responsibility.

CSR Statistics: What You Need to Know

18 Million

Individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.


Of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs.

$2 Billion

Is donated by the top 10 corporations annually in cash to nonprofits, much of it through employee matching gift programs.

$2-3 Billion

Is donated through matching gift programs each year.

Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

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.

These are the benefits of CSR for businesses.

For Businesses

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 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.

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.

Corporate Social Responsibility for Companies

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
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

Types of CSR Programs for Companies

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

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

Walmart is a large player in corporate social responsibility.


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 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 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.

CSR Software for Nonprofits and Companies

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


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.


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

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


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.

CSR Software for Companies

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

For example, CSR software helps companies:

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

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.

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.