Show Me the Impact: Responding to Marketplace Demand for Proof of Purpose

Do you know if your social impact commitments are delivering return? It's a critical question – one that many companies don't have the answer to.

Many companies have put their stake in the ground, making impressive, long-term commitments to address pressing social and environmental challenges. But as the marketplace evolves, it's not a case of if, but how companies engage in CSR, and it is no longer enough to simply stand for a social issue – you have to do. Cone's research shows that 84 percent of Americans hold companies accountable for producing and communicating results of their CSR commitments. Today, leading brands set themselves apart by demonstrating progress toward solutions, engaging key stakeholders and clearly communicating their commitments and impact.

Cone helps companies assess their social impact commitments with the recently launched Social Return Assessment. This new diagnostic tool provides a score from 0-100 to enable companies to assess their social impact efforts, course-correct to deliver greater effectiveness and efficiencies, and better communicate results to stakeholders. It was designed to uncover gaps and opportunities within three elements that are critical to a successful program:

  • Awareness: The degree to which you are leveraging all of your channels, clearly communicating your social impact, and building awareness among stakeholders.
  • Engagement: How well you are creating a spectrum of engagement opportunities and mobilizing stakeholders around your social commitment.
  • Impact: The degree to which you are investing diverse assets to address critical social challenges, setting goals and measuring against them.

As the CSR landscape continues to get more sophisticated, the marketplace will demand even greater precision around how companies demonstrate the business and social results from their social impact commitments. Wouldn't it be nice to have an answer next time you're asked about your social impact commitment?  

-    Melissa Cilley, Senior Account Supervisor, CSR/Social Impact


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