Crowdsourcing, the Power Tactic of Corporate Social Responsibility

PR should be the last cut from your corporate budget

Crowdsourcing is a valuable tactic for companies running corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs because it offers new perspectives, builds engagement and helps find nontraditional sources of opinions; yet only a little more than half of companies have adopted this power tool for their CSR programs according to a recently published research report.

The report is based on a survey conducted in October by PR agency Weber Shandwick and KRC Research on more than 200 corporate executives in charge of corporate philanthropy, social responsibility and community relations within their organizations. 55% of these executives said their companies had used crowdsourcing as part of CSR programs and 95% of those using this tactic found it at least somewhat valuable to the company’s CSR efforts.

Crowdsourcing, or asking customers for their input on certain issues, was a preferred tactic for various reasons. The most prominent one, identified by 36% of respondents, was the fact it provides new and diverse perspectives and opinions. Other valuable aspects noted by respondents were crowdsourcing can build engagement and relationships with key audiences (25%), it invites input from nontraditional sources (22%) and it brings a new energy to the idea-generating process (16%).

One of the best ways to employ crowdsourcing in CSR programs is through social media; overall, social media still benefits CSR programs as more consumers adopt it as a way to interact with companies online. The study showed that 38% of respondents identified the primary value of social media to CSR programs as the opportunity to reach broad and diverse audiences. Another, 29% said the primary value of social media in CSR programs resides in it enabling companies to connect with consumers in a low-cost way.

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