CR Software Platforms Share Big Data Findings

CR Software Platforms Share Big Data Findings

One of the benefits of running a digital platform used by corporate responsibility teams is being able to learn from the successes and mistakes of your clients, and to access big data to help demystify important issues.

For example, we were curious whether 3BL Media clients were increasing engagement around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Mining the 3BL Media news distribution platform showed a doubling of content referencing the SDGs in 2016 on top of a huge spike the prior year, when the Global Goals were unveiled. 

We used that business knowledge to introduce 17+ SDG-specific tags so our clients’ blogs, photos, videos, infographics and other assets can get added visibility among target audiences interested in water and sanitation versus food security, for example.  Had clients been disinterested in the SDGs, we would not have expended the project management and engineering resources, but the data confirmed momentum for the SDGs.

When it comes to corporate giving programs and the way nonprofits handle fundraising, Blackbaud is a large and respected software provider that’s very well positioned to provide guidance based on mining its own data.

Fortunately, Blackbaud’s Rachel Hutchisson is keen to offer advice gleaned from her experience as the Charleston, SC, company’s VP of corporate citizenship and philanthropy, and from the way the $3 billion software giant’s many customers use its platforms.

Millennials and their behavior in the workplace has been front of mind for Hutchisson, who describes workers in this demographic as a bit rebellious toward traditional CR management models.

“Everyone portrays them as never joining and just doing their own thing,” said Hutchisson, explaining that Blackbaud research shows Millennials are actually very engaged in volunteering, but on their own terms. “They view all their assets equally – time, money and voice.”

Labeling Millennnials savvier than prior generations, Hutchisson said many members of the workforce at her company – including Gen Xers-- are not just working for the money. “At Blackbaud, 86 percent of people told us that it matters to them that they work in the world of philanthropy or social good when they joined us. They could do technology anywhere.”

Advising other companies on how to appeal to that generational attitude, Hutchisson said too many dictates from management about what constitutes sanctioned charities or volunteering activities can be a turn-off – especially for those in the 22-36 age bracket, the largest segment of the workforce.

“They like the idea of authorship,” said Hutchisson, adding that many workers prefer to volunteer with or donate to organizations they’ve founded or sourced themselves rather than choosing from an official company list of projects or charities.

That lack of control is threatening to some corporate responsibility professionals, admitted Hutchisson, but Blackbaud data show a surge in companies adopting more liberal policies around matching gifts and the use of volunteer hours -- typically for anything except religious and political causes. 

“We don’t care what you do as long as you’re out there doing something,” she said, calling employees “agents of good” that should be regarded as a pillar that supports business performance. 

Additional advice Hutchisson shared for CR practitioners:

  • Don’t tell employees what they can put on Twitter.
  • Encourage grass-roots action and advocacy campaigns from employees, such as the Tour to Enable motorcycle fundraiser to provide all-terrain vehicles for wounded veterans.
  • Provide tools for staffers seeking to conduct crowd-funding campaigns.  Blackbaud offers the Everyday Hero app at no upfront charge for nonprofit fundraising.
  • Make sure to celebrate employees for volunteer actions.