Katy Wood and Tamryn Stowell from the Charities Aid Foundation write a guest blog on the impact tech companies can have on the culture of giving.
Tech is universal, reaching into many industries, opening up access to information, communication, social platforms and creating innovations that directly contribute to the advancement of society.
With the ubiquitous nature of technology comes great responsibility. The rise and spread of technology is not only ushering in the fourth industrial revolution but raising crucial questions around ethics, social change and globalisation. Increasingly governments and the general public are looking to technology companies themselves to provide answers.
Far from shying away from this responsibility, in response to a rapidly changing environment, tech companies are being proactive in creating purpose beyond the purely profitable and are leading the way in corporate social responsibility. According to findings from the Reputation Institute’s 2017 Global CSR Reptrak, Microsoft, Google, Intel and Cisco Systems are all within the top 10 companies with the strongest CSR reputations.
Each has effectively applied a combination of aligning their CSR strategies closely with corporate brand purpose, driving internal and external engagement, having a human focus that is about action rather than rhetoric and actively engaging senior leadership.
These front runners prove that for tech companies, having authentic social purpose is essential in demonstrating to all stakeholders that they serve a useful role beyond profit and loss balance sheets. CAF’s recent collaboration with Edelman highlighted that developing an environment of trust is essential for companies: not only are people more likely to buy and recommend products and services from a trusted company but for many it reinforces a company’s licence to operate.
Demonstrating social purpose and meaningful impact is essential to attract and retain talent, particularly in a world where the Millennial generation are not only demanding employment but also authenticity., As the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 states “the potential for a “profits-first” approach to alienate Millennials” is very real.
At CAF we are proud to partner with some of the world’s biggest technology companies to help them realise and achieve their social aims. Our expertise ranges from advising companies on how to establish a corporate foundation that reinforces their CSR objectives and commercial aims, to distributing philanthropic capital on a global scale and delivering employee engagement programmes that align directly with business strategy.
SITA, global technology provider to the air transport industry, approached CAF to provide critical guidance and support in developing a community foundation which resonated with the IT and aviation industries that they operate in.
The initiatives that the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation have implemented are providing students in Africa with access to IT and education – giving opportunities to the next generation of young people across the continent.
FTSE 100 tech company Sage gives SME’s and entrepreneurs the technology solutions and tools they need to succeed. These core values in turn shape the mission of Sage Foundation: to provide sustainable social, economic and entrepreneurial opportunities to non-profits in the communities worldwide that Sage operates in. They achieve this through the 2+2+2 model of giving their colleagues time, expertise and philanthropic funds. By working with CAF, grants are donated to organisations internationally, impacting lives and allowing communities to reach their full potential and creating positive social impact.
Employee giving schemes play an increasingly important role in directing funds into the charitable sector and allow employers to demonstrate their own commitment to supporting the causes their workforce cares about. Siemens recognise the importance of fostering a culture of giving and work with CAF to administer the Siemens Give As You Earn scheme to facilitate personal giving as well as empowering staff to fundraise collectively for local causes. As part of their commitment to sustaining communities, Siemens double their employees’ payroll donations to disaster appeals, valuing their employees charitable giving and boosting the impact through company matched philanthropic donations.
Social responsibility, social purpose, and social impact have enormous benefits for companies, employees and the wider world. With tech disrupting so many industries and reaching so many lives, the responsibility of the industry is growing. Have you considered your social impact?