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April 25, 2012
Focus on Corporate Responsibility  
By Anna Ibragimova
According to the Reputation Institute, Corporate Responsibility is the third highest predictor of brand reputation, following emotional appeal and quality of products and services. 
 
Paradoxically, research indicates that “consumers do not know enough about companies’ CSR initiatives”, said Kellie McElhaney, the founder of the Haas School’s Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley and author of “Just Good Business – The Strategic Guide to Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand”, at the 2012 ACCP Annual Conference on Corporate Contributions.
 
This engaging and informative conference was held in one of my favorite places, Orlando, FL. Immersed in an environment overflowing with fantasy and fun, more than a hundred corporate contributions professionals were inspired to focus their attention on the very real and  serious issues facing CR in today’s business climate: questions such as how to increase consumers’ awareness of CR,  how to build strong nonprofit partnerships, and, finally, what are the right ways to the measure success of CR and social investments. In our discussions, there was that “Aha moment” when we realized the tendency by many to underestimate the ripple effects of corporate responsibility efforts, and equally important, how strong collaboration among businesses, government, and civil society multiplies the results of CR initiatives.
 
The Solution: Extreme Focus
 
Pat Williams, a senior vice president of the NBA's Orlando Magic and former minor league baseball player, delivered a compelling answer to how CR can enhance corporate identity.  In an entertaining, yet earnest way, Pat summarized that the key to winning the game is extreme focus.
 
The Pitney Bowes Approach:
 
At Pitney Bowes, we couldn’t agree more with this advice. As a leader in corporate citizenship, we have always been focused on sustainable programs that matter to our communities, employees and our many stakeholders.    

We focus our philanthropy on literacy and education, the building blocks of the American dream. 
  • With our passion for accessible and relevant data, we’re focused on building effective and scalable models for successful programs including rigorous metrics around sustainability & grant results.
Through our focus on volunteering, our employees provide hands-on and skills based support to community efforts.
  • Through our Share The Message:Read! program we read to young students, we tutor and mentor, inspiring students to strive for their own success, and we get involved, lending our support to the most urgent needs of our communities. 
I was inspired by Pat Williams’ presentation, but I was also delighted to realize that I work with colleagues who understand the power of collaboration and team work. We never opt for sitting on the sidelines. Our focus is laser sharp on results, commitment, and leveraging the multiplication effect of collective work.