The Will To WOW: 3 Reasons Corporate Social Strategy Is Important

Kristin Mestre

We are in a global age where the Internet of Things is making a huge imprint not only in business, but in the way that people appreciate life. People are opening their eyes to the world around them and finding ways to give back.

As a part of its “Be a Hero” Month of Service initiative, SAP has empowered its workforce of more than 70K to help make this world a better place through a spirit of philanthropy. As one little fish in a big pond, I was inspired to volunteer to fundraise for The WOW Center, which is doing an amazing job providing quality learning programs and support to individuals with developmental disabilities. With the help of a little social media, event strategy, and SAP’s Matching Gift program, I raised $9,369!

Although fundraising did make a tremendous impact, I felt like I needed to do more. So I decided to volunteer my social media marketing skillset to help the WOW Center create a social media plan, managing its posts and interviewing key influencers for the organization’s annual fashion show fundraiser, The WOW Experience. In addition its matching donation, SAP also made an additional $400 donation to The WOW Center on my behalf for volunteering 20 hours as a part of SAP’s Dollars for Doers program. The event was a super success as we made some noise in the social space with over 2M + impressions and raised more than $200K!

Volunteering and dedicating my time to help these wonderful individuals brought so much light into my life. Not all heroes wear capes, and not all businesses think of corporate social strategy as a long-term investment. Think about it: A strong corporate social responsibility program is not only a smart marketing move, but it improves employee productivity and can be a great tool in recruiting and employee retention.

Here are three reasons social responsibility programs work:

  1. Self-fullfillment. Just as consumers buy into the purpose of a brand, employees expect more from their employer than a paycheck. They want a sense of self-respect and gratification from their work and a company whose values match their own. And for people with busy lives and jobs, it can be hard  to find the time to volunteer. This is why I am grateful to work for a company that not only allows me to dedicate time during my work week to support a nonprofit, but that cares enough about my cause to provide gift matching to the organization and purpose that matters to most to me.
  1. A sense of purpose. In a survey conducted by nonprofit, Net Impact, 53% of employees indicated that “a job where I can make an impact” was more important than their happiness, and 72% of Millennials about to enter the workforce agreed. At SAP, I know my purpose and I know that I am making an impact to the business. And by working for a company that encourages corporate social responsibility, I can find a new meaning and purpose in my life by helping others.
  1. Ability to pursue passion. To be driven by passion is one thing. But having a company support you realize your sense of purpose (both in and outside the office) and pursue your passion is another.

I am no hero, but SAP’s CSR program and volunteering for the WOW Center gave me the superpower of using a skill set that has contributed to a much greater cause. SAP was the backbone to get me going, and I encourage you to find something you are passionate about, participate in Month of Service, and find a way to give back to your community.

For more on the power of service initiatives, see In A Socially Conscious World, Brand Integrity Starts With A Higher Purpose.

Kristin Mestre

About Kristin Mestre

Kristin is a millennial marketer with 8+ years experience in high-tech and who currently leads the customer reference strategy and execution for SAP Ariba's buyer and supplier customers.