CEO Weekly INsights
Current Thoughts on CSR
Three Ways Nonprofits Bolster the Economy. And Potentially Your Business.
Nonprofit organizations are essential to our quality of life. They are also vital to the economic well-being of the community and all businesses that serve it.
Nonprofits do a wonderful job serving the humanistic values of the community, which helps businesses thrive as well as the people living there.
They help shape the quality of life – from education to health to the arts and social services.
The valuable work they do makes a community more attractive for people of talent to move or stay there.
This creates a pool of well-educated, high-performing people that companies need for innovating and growing their businesses.
Nonprofits are businesses
Like for-profit businesses, the principles of free enterprise apply to nonprofits as well.
To succeed, they need to raise their own funds, attract their own constituents and fulfill their missions within their budget. If not, they will fail.
But when successful, they not only bring the quality-of-life services that make a city desirable. They also are a vital part of the community’s economy.
1. Nonprofits are a steady source of employment
Nonprofits employ people. A lot of people. Each adds to the economy.
A report published by the National Council of Nonprofits showed that 10.6% of total employment in the United States was in the nonprofit sector in 2013 (14.4 million workers).
The report also revealed that nonprofits have been responsible for a faster rate of job creation than their for-profit counterparts. Nonprofit employment grew by 2.4% a year from 1990 to 2006, while for-profit businesses increased the size of their work forces by 1%.
During the recessions of 1990-1 and 2001-2, nonprofits increased their number of employees by 2.38% a year, bolstering the economy when truly needed, while for-profit jobs declined at an annualized rate of 2.2%.
2. Nonprofits consume third-party goods and services
Nonprofits, like all businesses, need goods and services for their day-to-day operations.
Nonprofits require computers, internet and phone services, building materials, utilities, furniture and more to operate. This generates more business for companies that supply these goods and services, providing added economic stimulation.
The National Council of Nonprofits reported that the nonprofit sector contributed an estimated $937.7 billion to the US economy in 2014, which made up 5.4% of the country’s gross domestic product. The nonprofit sector would rank as the sixteenth largest economy among the 199 nations tracked by the World Bank.
3. Nonprofits stimulate endless other facets of the economy
By providing employees with a source of income, nonprofits, just as for-profits, indirectly spur economic growth. This further benefits companies, both large and small.
When people have money, they spend it. People make mortgage and car payments, pay utility companies and buy insurance policies. Discretionary income goes to restaurants, theaters and other luxuries and entertainments. Many people invest part of their income in the stock market and other financial institutions.
The economic impact of nonprofit organizations is indisputably far-reaching and vital to the growth and prosperity of communities as well as to businesses of all sizes. It is another reason why nonprofits are true partners of business in creating dynamic communities that thrive.
Give your organization and yourself an edge by taking our online CSR course on the MIT-Harvard edX learning platform
Business and nonprofit professionals, from all over America and 150 countries, are getting advanced knowledge in CSR from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): A Strategic Approach. This online CSR course is developed by the Satell Institute with our founding university affiliate, the University of Pennsylvania.
More than 3,000 people enrolled in the course during its first month to gain a deeper understanding of CSR. Many have said they find the subject matter illuminating, and that it will enable them to develop, improve and/or benchmark a CSR program to their company’s interest.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): A Strategic Approach is open to all at no charge. Those who successfully complete it will be awarded a signed certificate of achievement.
Close to 90% are working practitioners
Of the 3,000 enrolled, 43% have an advanced degree and more than 45% have a college degree.
Everyone taking this online course is getting advanced knowledge on:
- the CSR landscape and the CSR business case.
- why CSR is essential for attracting and retaining employees, and how to take advantage of this win-win for the company and community.
- how CSR creates long-term benefits for a company and the communities it serves.
- the criteria for successful corporate-nonprofit partnerships.
- principles and best practices of CSR.
Here is what a few of the learners have to say
“There are several clear examples of how CSR benefits an organization including Sales & Marketing, Operational and Human Resources. CSR can help grow your customer base, retain customers, and create loyalty.”
“I enjoyed learning about the 4 CSR strategies. Having a clear understanding/definition of these concepts was interesting.”
“I loved the SMART criteria, and was happy to see this integrated with the course. No point in having goals without being able to measure them and having a time-set in mind.”
New online course begins each month
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): A Strategic Approach is available online 24/7. It can be accessed through most computers and smart devices.
The time commitment for increasing your CSR knowledge is approximately 4-8 hours across four weeks.