BLOG: Four Ways to Inject CSR into Sponsorship

By Ken Ungar of CHARGE

Remember the time when the only concern of a for-profit company was “maximizing shareholder value”? If you don’t, no problem. That philosophy is a relic of the past.

Today, 87% of consumers will purchase a product because the seller advocated for an issue consumers cared about. Increasingly, society looks to private companies to make the positive changes in the world that governments don’t or won’t. Consequently, “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) continues to replace shareholder value as an important concern of companies.

As a sponsorship professional, I would expect our industry to track this important trend in corporate governance. However, sponsorships lag in this regard. With CSR integration in sponsorship, there’s a valuable opportunity to cultivate consumer goodwill and, consequently, boost the impact of a sponsorship. If your sponsorship strategy does not yet include CSR, there are four ways to get started.

1. Causes related to sponsorships. As part of the overall sponsorship strategy, incorporate a cause into your sponsorship goals or activation. Example: Recently, the NBA supported a NBA2K esports tournament for fan entertainment. However, the event included COVID-19 relief efforts as well.

2. Unrelated causes integrated in sponsorship. Many times, a sponsor will integrate an existing cause or CSR initiative into a sponsorship regardless of the connection with the sponsorship. Example: Honda Canada supports the Honda Indy Toronto INDYCAR event each year. Honda Canada integrates its existing relationship with Make-A-Wish of Canada into multiple facets of the event. Make-A-Wish has no connection to the Indy race or to racing, but has a valuable opportunity to speak to the audience of this event.

3. Sponsorship of causes. Non-profits often promote events having a sponsorable component. Example: Ford Motor Company and Bank of America speak to their commitment to breast cancer awareness and prevention as partners of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

4. Establish CSR Policies within Events. Today, events express CSR directly through their operations. It could include integration of diverse vendors, inclusion of non-profits in event displays or food/beverage concessions, or adoption of environmental sustainability initiatives. Sometimes, properties take the lead with their events. Other times, sponsors require heightened CSR awareness within events they support.

Merging CSR policies with sponsorship strategy offers an opportunity to supercharge the impact of sponsorship. This trend continues to build momentum as organizations emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic anxious to give back to their communities and societies. Because of the importance and focus on CSR, combining social responsibility with sponsorship is clearly a case of 1 plus 1 equaling 3.

To learn more about Ken Ungar and CHARGE, listen to Episode 88.

EPISODE 88: Ken Ungar of CHARGE

“Marketing and storytelling that align with an audience create opportunities for sponsors to engage and help speak into and share that story. 87% of consumers purchase products from a company because that company advocates for an issue that they care about.” -Ken Ungar 

Ken Ungar, president and founder of CHARGE, a sponsorship marketing agency, is the go-to guy for all things sponsorship. CHARGE helps brands solve marketing challenges through effective sponsorship relations. Ken discusses the power of sponsorship and how companies and nonprofits strive to align themselves as a force for good. Tune in to find out how sponsorship can be linked to CSR and how the industry is evolving amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Don’t forget to download, like, subscribe, share, or rate our podcast wherever you listen!


Who’s Taking Care in Community this week:
Martha Piercefield 

This week’s #TakingCareinCommunity feature is Martha Piercefield. Not only does Martha do incredible work at Riley Children’s Hospital, she also runs a dog rescue in the Indianapolis area, Chihuahua Rescue Indiana, Inc. Martha works tirelessly to save dogs all around the country and believes in “no dog left behind”. To hear more about Martha Piercefield and her mission to rescue dogs in need, tune in to the end of our most recent episode!

Thank you for taking care in your community, Martha Piercefield!

Taking Care in Community is brought to you by The National Bank of Indianapolis

BLOG: Business as a Force for Better

Blog by  Vicki Bohlsen of Bohlsen Group 

No one in their right mind gets excited about having to fill out the same paperwork year after year, right? Well, I’m right there with you, except in one case: B Corp recertification.

Every couple of years, Bohlsen Group has to go through a recertification process to maintain its B Corp status with B Lab (http://www.bcorporation.net) and I actually look forward to it. Why? Because it offers us a chance to review the impact we’ve made and make changes so we can continue to improve. We recently went through our third recertification process.

First off, let me tell you a little bit about B Corp companies. Certified B Corps are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. Certified companies are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all of their non-shareholder stakeholders: their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.

Currently, there are more than 3,400 companies in 150 industries in more than 70 countries certified. And it keeps growing, likely because B Lab offers resources for this like-minded tribe of people who want to use business as a force for good.

Honored with a 2020 World’s Most Innovative Company by Fast Company, B Lab’s quick response to the fundamental injustice, inequity and violence that disproportionately impacts Black people and People of Color, for instance, was unprecedented. I find myself visiting their resources nearly every day so that I can learn and hear from others in the B Corp family on how they are addressing this most important issue and others.

Having recently gone through the recertification process, I have set some new goals for Bohlsen Group.

Bohlsen Group will continue to pay team members for four volunteer hours to the organization of their choice, but I am committed to helping each team member find a fit for their volunteerism. I think this will be especially important in the coming months as we are still facing the challenging times associated with living in a pandemic. Our volunteerism may have to change considerably, but now more than ever our efforts are needed.

Because we are working from home – and for how long no one knows – I am encouraging team members to continue to recycle, reduce and reuse. I am currently in the process of creating a guide for each team member that is exclusive to their household. These personalized guides will have information on what can be picked up curbside and where and when to take all other items; what office products are made from recycled products and are recyclable; and suggestions on other sustainably focused retailers and restaurants in their community.

We’d like to become as carbon neutral as possible. Certainly, we’ll be additive by keeping track of how much we’ll offset by working from home instead of traveling downtown to an office every day, but how else can we make an impact? Perhaps I will have employees calculate their household carbon footprint and Bohlsen Group will pay their fee to offset it.

I’d like to be impactful in the areas of inequality and injustice in Indianapolis and beyond. As a company, how can we listen, learn and act? In our annual company survey, I will be asking questions specific to this important topic so that we can collectively create a road map of activity.

We will be measuring our impact in all of these areas so that when recertification rolls around again we can evaluate our impact and assess what we can do to improve in the coming years.

To hear how other companies – B Corp certified or not – are setting goals in the area of social responsibility and impact, listen to past episodes of “Taking Care in Business.” 

EPISODE 87: Derrin Slack and Pitt Thompson of ProAct Indy

“ProAct Indy made a commitment to be there for kids, to give them somewhere to go that will give them leadership skills and help connect them to their community.”
– Derrin Slack

ProAct Indy is a service-learning and community engagement organization committed to engaging youth in public service that educates, delights and inspires the youth and those they serve. Through meaningful service projects and social equity training, ProAct helps groups to cross social, racial and economic boundaries. Founder Derrin Slack and CEO Pitt Thompson sit down with our hosts this week to talk about ProAct Indy’s mission to be a catalyst for human-centered social good.

Don’t forget to download, like, subscribe, share, or rate our podcast wherever you listen!

BLOG: Caring for Community – Supporting Citizens Returning to Society

By Dr. Cameual Wright, CareSource Medical Director, Indiana Market

Every month, over 850 individuals are released from one of Indiana’s correctional facilities. Citizens reentering society after being released from prison are faced with a multitude of physical and social challenges and often lack necessities to get back on their feet. As a result, returning citizens are 12.5 times more likely to die than the average citizen in the first two weeks after release.

CareSource is proud to support these vulnerable citizens through our CareSource Reentry Program™. Through this innovative program, we coordinate comprehensive medical care for returning citizens that includes mental health, physical health and substance use disorder treatment, as well as social needs such as nutrition, employment, housing and transportation issues that affect a person’s total health and well-being. We are uniquely positioned to dedicate resources to supporting the ex-offenders returning to their communities each year.

To help individuals thrive and gain self-sufficiency upon release, CareSource provides Criminal Justice Liaisons (CJL) to work with individuals while they are still in prison. These CJLs conduct pre-release education classes as well as coordinate care and community services upon release. The CareSource Reentry Team also provides health screenings for returning citizens. Based on these results, our team creates an individualized care plan based on the member’s unique medical and behaviors health needs, social needs and self-sufficiency goals. Through CareSource’s JobConnect™ Program, individuals may also connect with a Life Coach who provides support for their employment and education goals. Our initial plan to build processes to serve criminal justice-involved members has since evolved into a scalable model of care for returning citizens. Our CareSource Reentry Program™, originally intended to be in two prisons, is now present in all 15 state run correctional facilities in Indiana.

Preliminary data shows that when CareSource engages and connects with a returning citizen, he or she is 30% more likely to complete a state-mandated Health Needs Screening, which provides valuable information on the medical and social needs of the member, than unengaged members. They are also more likely to obtain necessary behavioral health care and appropriate follow up and are less likely to utilize the Emergency Department for care.

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the challenges that these returning citizens face. Due to social distancing guidelines, connectivity and much needed social support has become increasingly difficult for returning citizens. The spike in the unemployment rate as a result of the pandemic has also increased the challenge for returning citizens to gain employment in an already competitive job market. Our reentry team is working extremely hard to be creative and work with community partners and our JobConnect™ team to make necessary community connections and get returning citizens the support they need to meet their personal goals.

We encourage everyone to learn more and understand this program and these individuals so that we all may help their reintegration into and contribution to our society. To find out more about CareSource’s Reentry Program, you may visit caresource.com. You may also contact our reentry team at indianare-entry@caresource.com.

To learn more about CareSource, listen to Episode 86.

EPISODE 86: Dr. Cameual Wright of CareSource

“The more we can spread the word that these are human beings who are deserving of our help and understanding, the more that we can help their reintegration into society and contribution to society.”
– Cameual Wright 

CareSource, a health care company, has a mission of making a lasting difference in members’ lives by improving their health and well-being as being a catalyst for developing programs that target the social determinants of health. As part of this mission, CareSource is curbing statistics of citizens rejoining society after incarceration through its CareSource Reentry Program. CareSource Market Medical Director, Indiana Dr. Cameual Wright joins our hosts to discuss how CareSource is working to assist and lead returning citizens toward self-sufficiency and hope. 

Don’t forget to download, like, subscribe, share, or rate our podcast wherever you listen!


Who’s Taking Care in Community this week:
Keys to Work

This week’s #TakingCareinCommunity segment features Jannett Keesling with Keys To Work Staffing. Keys To Work is a dedicated, local minority owned employment agency serving Central Indiana employers and job seekers since 1996. Keys to Work helps to unlock the labor force and to employ citizens returning to work from incarceration. To hear more about Jannett and Keys To Work, tune in to the end of our most recent episode!

Thank you for taking care in your community, Jannett and Keys to Work!

Taking Care in Community is brought to you by The National Bank of Indianapolis

BLOG: Rowing, Running and Raising the Bar

By Carolyn McDonald of Orangetheory Fitness

In 2017, through a partnership with Augie’s Quest, Orangetheory Fitness announced a social initiative to raise money and awareness for ALS. Also known as Lou Gerig’s disease, ALS, is a progressive neurological disease that strips a person of the ability to walk, speak, swallow and, eventually, breathe. On average, 15 people are diagnosed with ALS every day and the average lifespan once diagnosed is two to five years.

In 2005, Augie Nieto was diagnosed with ALS. Later that year, he and his wife, Lynne, co-founded Augie’s Quest to fund research and find a cure. They believe ALS is not an incurable disease, but instead an underfunded one. Augie, once known as the Steve Jobs of fitness, was instrumental in building the fitness industry in the early 80s. He is the founder of Life Fitness and inventor of the LifeCycle.

In 2017, the Orangetheory network raised over $2 million for Augie’s Quest in just two weeks. In 2018, Orangetheory raised over $4 million. With these donations, clinical trials of AT-1501, a drug shown to slow the progression of ALS, were able to begin far sooner than expected. The research arm of Augie’s Quest, the ALS Therapy Development Institute, currently has other promising drugs in the pipeline. Early research of these drugs is showing promising results for not only ALS, but also Alzheimer’s, Lupus and Type 1 Diabetes. Continuing the partnership in 2019, Orangetheory raised over $4.5 million to become the world’s largest single donor to ALS research through Augie’s Quest.

As a network, these numbers are incredible, but I’m proud to highlight how our Indiana studios came together and crushed this social initiative. All three years, our Carmel, Indiana studio raised the highest donations in the country, bringing in $24,272, $54,373 and $58,510 respectively. In 2019, not only did Carmel represent, but Indiana studios as a whole raised over $275,000 and had nine studios in the top 25 out of more than 1,000 studios in the U.S. and Canada.

This type of success only happens with a great deal of planning and solid execution. During a two-week period, our teams worked incredibly hard to raise awareness and donations. They highlighted members and staff whose lives have been affected by ALS and put together challenges for our community to support. For example, staffs were split into teams and members could choose from several physical tasks and assign them to their team of choice at different levels of donation. So for $250 you could assign a 1,000 meter row to a favorite coach or for $500 you could assign a one mile run to a friendly sales associate. At the end of the campaign, all donations and exercises were compiled and all teams completed their workouts together. When you consider donations in Carmel, for example, totaled nearly $60,000, that’s quite a workout!

We’ve been asked many times how we were able to reach such high levels of success with this initiative year after year. I’ll be honest, the friendly competition between our studios helped raise the bar for everyone, but beyond the dedication of a caring staff, we also say that the people of Indiana have heart. When they hear about someone in need, they generously come together to help. It’s the Midwest friendliness you hear about and it’s one of the reasons my husband and I chose Indiana when we had the opportunity to relocated and bring Orangetheory to a new audience.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 derailed our plans in 2020 to continue working with Augie’s Quest. Non-profits like Augie’s Quest and so many others, are finding it difficult in the current environment to raise desperately needed funds. If you are interested in donating or learning more about Augie’s Quest, please visit augiesquest.org.

To learn more about Orangetheory Fitness, listen to Episode 85.

EPISODE 85: Carolyn McDonald of Orangetheory Fitness

“So much is in the detail of what we can do. One little thing that you might be doing can be such a big part of your success.”
– Carolyn McDonald

Orangetheory Fitness is a boutique fitness studio franchise that combines science, coaching and technology to guarantee maximum results from the inside out. Join our hosts as they sit down with Carolyn McDonald, Indiana Area Representative and Owner/Operator at Orangetheory Fitness, to discuss the importance building community within business. Tune in to hear how Orangetheory has continued to foster meaningful relationships, inclusivity and connectivity with its members amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Don’t forget to download, like, subscribe, share, or rate our podcast wherever you listen!


Who’s Taking Care in Community this week:
Polina Osherov

This week’s #TakingCareinCommunity feature is Polina Osherov, founder and executive director of PATTERN Magazine. Polina is one of the Indianapolis’ biggest advocates for the community, fine arts, fashion and photography. Tune into the end of our latest episode to learn more about Polina and her mission to make Indy more “sticky.”

Thank you for taking care in your community, Polina!

Taking Care in Community is brought to you by The National Bank of Indianapolis

BLOG: Using Business as a Force for Good

By Helene Caillate and Ivan Giraud of GoGo squeeZ

CSR and sustainability allows us to enact positive change. It defines who we are, how we make decisions and where we channel our efforts, investments and resources. Our mission and purpose have always been ingrained in our brand DNA. We believe in conducting business in ways that empower kids and families to be healthier and happier every day, support wellness for all people and preserve the environment. It’s very encouraging to see that this idea resonates strongly with our community – both employees and consumers. This motivates us to use our business as a force for good. And while we understand we are not a very large organization; we know that we can still make a difference with our actions and by inspiring others to do the same.

To make exceptional applesauce we must grow exceptional apples. The care of planet, nature and local communities underpins everything we think, how we support our communities and the ecosystem of our production. With that said we have elevated our mission throughout the years to bring it closer to our CSR and sustainability values.

Brands and businesses can join forces to address the planet’s biggest challenges. By learning from each other we can accelerate change. One partner we’ve joined with is TerraCycle® to create a free recycling program for healthy snack plastic pouches and caps, as well as a fundraising opportunity for participants. Via TerraCycle, our pouches are transformed into new recycled products like park benches, garden lumber and playgrounds. To date, GoGo squeeZ and TerraCycle have collected and recycled almost 6.5 million pouches and donated over $110K to local school and non-profit organizations, reaching 14,000 children with our nutrition and wellness programs.

We’re firm advocates for kids’ wellbeing and believe that nutrition plays a very important part. Making snacks for kids is a huge responsibility. Not only because there are environmental consequences to doing it poorly, we’re also providing nourishment for our future generation. Our job is to inspire families to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, spend time together outside, explore and create, all while nourishing their bodies with nutrient-rich foods.

We believe in a more sustainable, healthier, and more inclusive world tomorrow. We see our company as a force for good. Our decisions are made to positively contribute to our community, to reduce and restore our planet, and to drive the growth of healthy and nutritious foods from the best of Nature for All.

To learn more about GoGo squeeZ, listen to Episode 84.

EPISODE 84: Ivan Giraud & Helene Caillate of GoGo squeeZ

“We have a responsibility toward our community. We have an opportunity with our communities and stakeholders to be more responsible as a whole.” – Ivan Giraud

GoGo squeeZ is the leading brand in healthy, portable snacks for kids. This week, our hosts sit down with GoGo squeeZ’s Ivan Giraud and Helene Caillate to discuss the brand’s commitment to improving recyclability and sustainability efforts by creating 100% recyclable packaging by 2022. This pledge includes a brand partnership with TerraCycle to create a second life for used GoGo squeeZ pouches. Giraud and Caillate consider why companies have responsibility to join the fight in climate change and how to turn ambition into action. Don’t forget to download, like, subscribe, share, or rate our podcast wherever you listen!

Don’t forget to download, like, subscribe, share, or rate our podcast wherever you listen!


Who’s Taking Care in Community this week:
ReadUP

The United Way of Central Indiana ReadUP Program connects volunteers with local schools, where they read with two students for 30 minutes every week, helping kids get on track – and stay on track – with grade-level literacy. The students and volunteers work together to recall information from the last session, reading comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and phonics. In fact, 85% of IPS ReadUP students passed the iREAD standardized test. Listen in to the end of our most recent episode to learn more on how they’re continuing to impact the lives of students in their community. Thank you for taking care in your community, ReadUP!
Taking Care in Community is brought to you by The National Bank of Indianapolis

 

BLOG: Better Bedding for a Better World

By Colin McIntosh of Sheets & Giggles

When I first conceived of Sheets & Giggles, I had one goal in mind: build a profitable business by selling truly eco-friendly products. And to foist bedding puns on the whole world. So, two goals.

Whenever we create a new product, sustainability is not an afterthought. It’s our first thought. I’m proud of the high-quality, sustainable products we’ve created over the past 3 years. Because of our commitment to quality and the earth, we’ve established a loyal following – people who love us so much that they let us know when we can do better. So, basically, our moms.

In May 2018, we offered a handful of Eucalyptus comforters on our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, and they were glorious – super soft, good heft, and snuggle-tastic.

But they weren’t perfect. Many of our initial backers told us that we didn’t go far enough with respect to sustainability.

The original comforter was filled with 100% polyester (as we didn’t have the best sourcing capabilities and network early on). Unfortunately, polyester isn’t sustainable at all. It’s thirsty, it’s energy-intensive, it’s not biodegradable, and it can be found throughout our oceans in the form of microplastics.

Yep. Our backers were right, we could do better.

So we shut down production and went back to the drawing board. We experimented with different fills and techniques and decided to move forward with a thermally-bonded filling composed of 50% Eucalyptus Lyocell fiber and 50% recycled polyester made from repurposed, discarded plastic bottles.

Why plastic bottles? For starters, all over the world, a million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and it takes about 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade. In fact, enough plastic is thrown away every year to circle the earth four times.

But one man’s trash is another man’s comforter, as the old expression definitely doesn’t go.

Our comforters take discarded plastic bottles that would have otherwise entered the soil or the waterways and turns them into something useful again.

In the end, our newly redesigned comforter is more expensive for us to produce, but it’s 100% sustainable on top of being more breathable and lighter than the old 100% polyester fill. A rare win-win.

By the way, our community also asked us to eliminate all plastic from our packaging, which we also did. We’ve always been good listeners.

I wrote this post not to brag about our wildly popular, highly-reviewed, ludicrously soft eucalyptus comforter, but to prove that profitability and sustainability go hand in hand.

If you go the extra mile to ensure your products are responsibly-sourced, sustainably-made, and eco-friendly (even if it costs you a little more), people will sit up and take notice. People want to support a company that takes corporate responsibility seriously and doesn’t just pay lip service to the green movement. We will continue to put sustainability first and to keep listening to our community to help us improve and push things forward.

To learn more about Colin McIntosh and Sheets & Giggles, listen to Episode 83.

EPISODE 83: Colin McIntosh of Sheets & Giggles

“We want to make sure work is additive to people’s lives.”
– Colin McIntosh

Sheets & Giggles doesn’t just make its clients’ lives comfier, the company also provides unprecedented support to its employees and community. Colin McIntosh, S&G’s CEO, joins Vicki and Kathy this week to talk about all things bedding, sustainability, and employee relations. Topics of discussion include: The rising sustainable bedding trend; How S&G came to be; S&G’s COVID-19 giveback initiatives; How the company’s products are made sustainably; Staying as green as possible; Colin’s background and why he decided to start his own company; Creating your perfect business model; How S&G maintains a fun company culture during quarantine; Employee appreciation benefits; Supporting employee mental and physical health during the pandemic; and CEO group therapy.

Don’t forget to download, like, subscribe, share, or rate our podcast wherever you listen!


Who’s Taking Care in Community this week:
Brooke’s Place

Social distancing helps save lives and flatten the curve, but it also creates a feeling of isolation. And when a child loses a loved one, it becomes very difficult for them to process their grief in a healthy way. Brooke’s Place has been providing support and resources to children, teens, young adults, and their families to thrive in the midst of grief for many years, and they’re not stopping now.

Through COVID-19, Brooke’s Place has kept the safety, health, and well-being of their community as their highest priority. The nonprofit now offers virtual support groups and teletherapy to its client community.

Thank you for taking care in your community, Brooke’s Place!

Taking Care in Community is brought to you by The National Bank of Indianapolis