Four tips for social investment in uncertain times

About the event

3 Dec 2018

In a world where the discourse seems to be more polarizing and divisive by the day, it can be difficult for a business to identify how best to make change in the world. When it comes to education, we have some tips to help you navigate the political discourse and make a sustainable impact consistent with your brand.

Our friends at Porter Novelli partnered with The Guardian newspaper to bring together experts from Lyft, Univision, and Ben & Jerry’s to provide some guidance. GBC-Education was there – and we have four tips to help you make sure your strategy is one that can deliver results in the changing times we face:

  1. Base your strategy on your purpose and values: Every business has a core identity that permeates every product it sells and every decision it makes. For businesses that want to make a change in the lives of children and youth, it’s helpful to look at the guiding principles of the organization before developing an education investment strategy.
  2. Bring voices in from different parts of your company: Companies are made of employees, and those employees should have their voice heard when it comes to social responsibility. By engaging with your employees through surveys, meetings, or other means of communication, you will learn what issues within education they really care about – and how different parts of the company can help. Product development, human resources, supply chain, and R&D all have something to contribute to the cause.
  3. Make sure that the issue is relevant to your industry: No one can do everything. So pick a focus that is specific and relevant. For example, if your business is involved in the tech sector, then it’s worth considering investments to close the gender gap in the industry. If your business is focused on consultancy or professional services, then it may be wise to look at how company can focus on skills of the future.
  4. Look at your strengths: There is no need to reinvent the wheel if you do not have to – so look within your company to see what you already are doing and the partners you already work with. Finding ways to scale up or build on existing programs to make a bigger impact in education will be much easier than researching a new method of delivering learning opportunity to the most marginalized.

When looking at how to make a strategic choice in uncertain times, remember these four tips and do not forget that the challenge in education have many dimensions – from early childhood development, emergencies or youth skills – so there is a place for every company to contribute.

To learn more about the Global Business Coalition for Education and the work that we are doing to mobilize the business community in delivering learning opportunities to children throughout the world, follow the link here.

Editor’s Note:  

On November 28, at the event, Navigating Social Justice Issues In Divisive Times, Porter Novelli and the Guardian presented a diverse panel of corporate representatives who each offered input on how their businesses are tackling social justice issues in a toxic and divisive political climate. Each representative expounded on the need for business to take a stand on the issues that their employees and customers care the most about; it was emphasized that the business’ purpose and values should drive any strategy moving forward.

The representatives at the event were:

  • John Mulholland, Editor, The Guardian US
  • Sean Greenwood, Grand Poobah of Public Relations, Ben & Jerry’s
  • Crystal Cooper, Public Affairs Manager, Lyft
  • Stephen Keppel, VP, Social Impact, Univision
  • Alison DaSilva, EVP, Purpose & CSR, Porter Novelli