Latest Trends in CSR During COVID-19

April 7, 2020


This is Two Minutes from Sunwest Communications. My name is Whitney Strauss, Senior Counsel of CSR and Philanthropic Strategies. My esteemed colleague Melissa Cameron and I are doing follow-up videos to a segment that we did a few weeks ago about the CSR response to the COVID-19 crisis. I was grappling with what to share with you all today, because as this crisis continues to unfold, those critical needs and the response throughout the country changes very rapidly. So I wanted to just give you some of the latest trends that are going on as you consider your own CSR response to COVID-19 that can help not only now with the response, but also the recovery and resilience that we will all need as we work through what comes next after this crisis is over. So first, from a corporate CSR perspective, nationally, I’ve seen two different strategies going on. First, it is looking internally at your own employee base on how are you best supporting them. And secondly is how are you addressing the critical needs within your own communities and also nationally. I’ve been inspired by how the corporate community has really stepped up in various ways depending on size and scope of your company on being really innovative and generous with time, talent and treasure in addressing this crisis in their own communities. So I’ll start with the employee and how companies are supporting their employees during this time. Lots and lots of employee assistance funds being started and how companies are supporting their employees through making sure that resources are available for them to look at if there are, you know, tips on homeschooling or references throughout their community on keeping track with the information about COVID-19 and also a lot of just health and wellness tips on managing stress and getting outside and walking and things like that that are really helping people cope during this time.

For the community response, not only has the philanthropic approach been enormous and very generous to giving to crisis funds, companies are finding really innovative ways to get involved. So sharing thought leadership from financial resources or talking about new legislation coming out to make sure that the community is a better understanding of how to access that or legal services or even health and wellness companies talking about stress relief and tips like that or educational resources. So I’ve seen a lot of companies be really innovative in how they are putting their thought leadership out there. And again, throughout all of this, it only helps their reputation as someone that’s been active in addressing this crisis. So putting your thought leadership out there in that way has been really creative to see the creative ways that people are doing that. The other thing I wanted to talk about is really supporting the frontline. So hunger, housing, child care needs for our health care workers, first responders, those that are truly on the front lines of addressing this crisis and also those that are helping our vulnerable citizens, such as senior citizens or those with health needs and even those that are lacking that connectivity to resources such as if there are language barriers or geographical barriers, things like that. Companies have definitely been involved in trying to address those needs in very innovative ways by providing translation services or connectivity, virtual volunteer efforts, anything like that has been helpful. So I encourage you all, as you look at your CSR efforts to look at your partners and how can you be flexible with them and help in ways that are truly helpful, reaching out to those local agencies and first responders that are on the front lines and asking them what are the best ways to help and then finding ways to pass those resources along to your employees and also involving your employees and finding those solutions to asking for ideas on how you can use your core competencies to help.

So that is my Two Minutes for today. I wanted to take a moment just to share something from one of my mentors, which I’m hopeful will help you all as we work through this crisis in our country. So he was saying to me, when he’s writing to me about what to say today, he said this is the most challenging time for our nation that I can recall in my lifetime. We will survive, but I do not think we will ever be the same. In the long run, we can emerge as a better country. We must have tenacity, creativity, focus, diligence, tolerance, perseverance, determination, grit, good judgment, patience, hard work, empathy, sympathy, love and faith will be required from all of us if we are to emerge from this crisis as a better city, country and world community. We can do this. This is Two Minutes with Whitney Strauss. God bless our first responders and take care, everyone.