A New Form of Giving

A New Form of Giving

By Ken Makovsky

Philanthropy.  We all know what it is:  “the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people.”  But not everyone may be aware that it’s much more than a way for corporations to give back.  These days, companies are often expected to be active participants – if not a driving force – in solving the most pressing social and environmental issues.

More than 8 out of 10 people surveyed in last year’s Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study said they would consider corporate social responsibility when deciding where to work (81%), what to buy or where to shop (87%) and which products and services to recommend to others (85%).

So what’s the most effective way for a company to act on its philanthropic goals?

For Toyota, it’s kaizen.  Kaizen, which in Japanese means good (zen) change (kai), is a philosophy that encourages people to think outside the box, making small changes to generate big results.

“It’s a form of corporate philanthropy but instead of giving money, they’re sharing expertise,” says David J. Vogel, a professor and an expert in CSR at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s quite new.”

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