Data Drives the CECP Summit: Measuring CSR by the Numbers - CSR Minute for June 14, 2013

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Data Drives the CECP Summit: Measuring CSR by the Numbers - CSR Minute for June 14, 2013

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Friday, June 14, 2013 - 11:00am

CONTENT: Press Release

June 14, 2013 /3BL Media/ - “Big Data” is the big buzzword of the moment. The term refers to collections of data sets so large that traditional methods can’t process them. Although computers and applications grow more powerful every day, the amount of information to be captured, stored, searched, analyzed, and then, most importantly, turned into strategy and action, grows larger and faster than the systems to manage it. CSR has historically been defined as sideways to this trend: lots of activity—but not so much recorded in the way of facts and figures. It’s been more of a qualitative than a quantitative field. What I’m hearing now, however, is that there is more data available to benchmark and manage CSR activity, and that more companies are able to use this data to leverage CSR and sustainability activity to higher levels of commitment and action. One of the principal places to hear such talk was at the annual CECP Summit, the 2013 version of which was held last week in New York.

The Summit offered a preview of CECP’s 2013 Giving in Numbers report, a study that collects information from 240 companies providing a repository of $20 billion worth of philanthropy-related data. The 2013 report, forthcoming this fall, expands on trends outlined in the 2012 report, such as that 82 percent of companies now have a corporate foundation. Also on the agenda was an update on CECP’s Global Corporate Giving Initiative, a pilot study launched in 2010 with assistance from Deloitte, to create an internationally relevant measurement framework. The information developed by this project is available in CECP’s Global Guide to What Counts.

There were other important themes at the CECP Summit, including CEO engagement, collaborations and partnerships, and corporate support of returning veterans. But measurements, benchmarks, statistical trends—these were the terms voiced most often by many of the 200-plus attendees. Those who attended last week’s Summit have returned to their offices to report on CSR progress. By adding more quantitative data to the already persuasive quality of CSR itself, they are surely able to make an even stronger case for greater commitment and more activity.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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