5 CSR trends every charity should familiarise themselves with in 2016

There’s no better time to prepare and plan for the year ahead than the start of a New Year. We’ve rounded up five CSR trends that every charity should familiarise themselves with and consider implementing in 2016.

  1. Embracing new technologies

Giving apps, text donations, social media fundraising campaigns, collaborative online platforms like Benojo – the ways in which people can donate has changed dramatically in recent years and will continue to as technology evolves. Charities that embrace new technologies will benefit as donors move towards giving methods that are quick and easy to use.

It’s a trend that was identified in the NAB 2015 Charitable Giving Index. “The Index is a powerful indicator of how people are giving to their charities,” notes Rebecca Kotow, head of community engagement at NAB.  “Mobile apps and web-based charities are changing the landscape and revolutionising the way people donate. With more seamless channels for donation, and a much stronger desire to give digitally, it’s important for charities to understand this shift in behaviour.” 

  1. Greater transparency

Recent incidents such as the UK charities scandal highlight the need for greater transparency in the charity sector as a whole, not only around how funds are raised but how they are spent. 

While bodies like the  Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission  (ACNC) aim to provide some insight to donors, the lack of regulation and standardisation around how costs are reported in Australia tends to make this difficult.

A survey conducted by consumer advocacy CHOICE found 81 per cent of respondents didn't know how much of their donation reached a charity's beneficiaries after fundraising costs and overheads were subtracted –however, 90 per cent said they wanted to know. More than a trend, implementing increased transparency will help strengthen communication and relationships between charities and donors.

  1. The convergence of measurement models

What are the best ways to measure impact? It’s a contentious question that many charities and not-for-profits have been actively discussing of late.  While different activities – such as collective impact, shared value, social impact and triple bottom line – each have distinct requirements, the move towards more converging measurement models, which encourage a more streamlined, cost effective, less laborious and efficient approach, is a trend that is gathering momentum and worth exploring.

  1. Partnering with the public and private sector

Companies and government bodies are not only becoming more socially aware in the way they conduct business, but they are also looking to introduce socially-led principles and values into their models and operations. Herein lies an opportunity for mutually beneficial partnerships between social enterprises and the public and private sector.

It’s a point that was raised by Helen Steel, the Shared Value Project’s executive director, in a recent interview with Benojo, on the future of shared value. She noted: “I think partnering with not-for-profit organisations will be really fundamental because not-for-profits often understand an issue or sector – that some of these companies are looking at going into – really well. So I think there is a wealth of knowledge that they can tap into through the not-for-profit sector. I think what we will see is that not-for-profits will become service providers to some of these big corporates, rather than the traditional model of getting a grant or a large donation. Then they will work together with that organisation to develop a business strategy for a sustainable solution. I see those partnerships as being quite integral to the ongoing success of shared value.”

  1. Conduct hyperlocal campaigns

While there’s no doubting the place of global or national campaigns in charitable initiatives, the ideology behind ‘hyperlocal’ campaigns, which take a local perspective, can bring surprising results. Hyperlocal campaigns can bring local stories to the forefront and connect with donors in a personal, relatable way because they identify it as happening in their neighbourhood, suburb or city. This in turn can inspire hands-on involvement and action in a way that a general national campaign perhaps couldn’t. 

Is your charity adopting any new CSR trends? What are they?

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