Viviana Cerda
corporate civic engagement, corporate social responsibility

What is Corporate Civic Engagement?

As more employees are prioritizing making an impact on their communities, the traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model has expanded. What was once an activity for special occasions, giving back is now built-in to many organizations’ day-to-day culture. From regular volunteering opportunities, to fun events benefitting various causes, and much more — doing good at work is no longer limited to corporate philanthropy. With employees driving their companies’ social impact, a more fitting term has emerged: corporate civic engagement.

The Definition of Corporate Civic Engagement

Corporate Civic Engagement is a means by which businesses relate to and support their community. Expanding on a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program — which is traditionally focused on philanthropic and charitable giving — Corporate Civic Engagement aims to encourage and equip employees to identify issues of public concern, and then enact positive change from within their community. This engagement can be achieved as individuals or a collective, and can take many forms.

Examples of Corporate Civic Engagement

Whatever form civic engagement comes in, the main point is that participants take an active role as a citizen, in order to make a change in their community. What makes civic engagement corporate in particular is when a company helps to facilitate the civic activities for its employees — regardless of whether it is for individuals or a collective. Here are some examples of what corporate civic engagement can look like for your team:

  • Attending community meetings
    By participating in a community meeting such as a town hall, employees can understand the public’s perspective on local issues and encourage the company to act in the people’s best interest.
  • Writing to elected officials
    Using company resources (manpower, skills, funds, supplies, etc.) to advocate for the community’s wellbeing, a company and its employees can draw important legislative attention to a cause the community cares about.
  • Volunteering at a local nonprofit
    By serving the needs of a local do-good organization, a company and its employees can make an immediate and lasting social impact.
  • Voting or mobilizing others to vote
    Giving employee resources to exercise their right to vote (whether offering paid time off on election day, or providing a simple-to-follow guide for absentee voting, etc.) is one way for companies to encourage and support an important act of civic engagement.
  • Community organizing

Benefits of Corporate Civic Engagement

Regardless of what form corporate civic engagement takes, it benefits not just the community, but the employees and company as well. Here are a few ways that corporate civic engagement makes a positive impact:

  • Establishing community bonds
    When employees are active in civic engagement, it creates a strong connection between them and the community, leading to a boost in public support. Having a good reputation among your neighbors will benefit your company in numerous ways, including lubricating your hiring and sales processes.
  • Connecting with the local government
    When contributing to community needs, your employees are likely to establish mutually-beneficial relationships with local civil servants and institutions. This ensures that your giving back program will be as impactful as possible, while granting your team access to various community resources they may need.
  • Enjoying a sense of purpose
    Participating in Corporate Civic Engagement gives employees the satisfaction of making a meaningful impact on their world. It is empowering for an employee to witness their first-hand efforts play out in a positive way. This not only boosts morale, but offers a sense of purpose that increases employee happiness and loyalty in the long run.

Visit.Org offers dozens of corporate civic engagement experiences that can can be tailored to meet the needs of your company, including virtual volunteering experiences that allow your employees to give back from the safety of their own homes. For help facilitating your own team activity for a cause, contact us at [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Shane Rounce