5 Inspiring CSR Success Story Examples

Looking for some inspiration to get your corporate social responsibility program off the ground? Check out these five organizations that have seen real results from their efforts to give back.


Looking for some inspiration to get your corporate social responsibility program off the ground? Check out these five examples of organizations that have seen real results from their efforts to give back.

When you are first starting out a CSR program, it can sometimes feel like your volunteer efforts aren't making much of an impact. After all, how much of a difference can your team really make to a large-scale issue like environmentalism or homelessness?

It's important to remember, though, that every little bit matters. 

And for organizations who commit enough time, energy, and resources  they can literally accomplish things that change the world.

To get inspired, check out examples of what these five organizations are doing with their CSR programs and some of the amazing results that they've seen from their efforts. 

Examples of Five CSR Programs that Are Making a Difference

1. Cisco

CSR Mission: Cisco wants to accelerate global problem solving using their technology and expertise to benefit people, society, and the planet.5-inspiring-csr-success-story-examples-2

Program Overview: Cisco has a goal set to positively impact 1 billion people by the year 2025. The San Francisco software company uses their resources to contribute to disaster relief around the world, healthcare system efficiency, and education in disadvantaged communities.

Success Story: After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, Cisco partnered with NetHope to bring in teams of volunteers so they could re-establish a reliable communication network. This was key so that first responders could coordinate their relief efforts and affected families could stay in communication with their loved ones.

Why We Find It Inspiring: Your CSR efforts don't always need to be working towards long-term goals that will take years to complete. Sometimes, it can be more effective to focus on a problem that is happening right now and challenge your team to help solve it.

2. Microsoft

CSR Mission: Apply the power of technology to ensure corporate responsibility, safeguard human rights, and protect our planet for the future.5-inspiring-csr-success-story-examples-3

Program Overview: Microsoft's key areas of focus for CSR include empowering all different types of individuals to achieve more,  strengthening communities to foster civic and economic growth, and taking action to preserve our environment.

Success Story: As part of their focus to empower all different types of individuals, the company is working towards making their products accessible to the over 1 billion people around the world who have disabilities. In 2017, Microsoft invested in Eye Control and Seeing AI, which are new features for blind and low-vision users.

Why We Find It Inspiring: Microsoft does so much to give back, both on large and small scales. Their organization has donated a record-breaking $1.5 billion to non-profits, and invested in research to help support people with disabilities. At the same time, their teams also take part in charity team building activities like Wheelchairs For Charity to directly support smaller groups of individuals within their communities.

3. TOMS Shoes

CSR Mission: TOMS Shoes was founded on the idea that for every pair of shoes they sold, they would also donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. Since then, their mission has expanded to include providing more healthcare, education, and economic opportunities to children around the world.5-inspiring-csr-success-story-examples-4

Program Overview: The company focuses on giving back to third-world communities via apparel donations, eye exams and vision treatments, clean drinking water programs, safe-birth facilities, and crisis-counselling training.

Success Story: Since it was founded in 2006, TOMS Shoes has donated more than 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need, restored sight to 400,000 people, provided over 335,000 weeks of safe water to communities across the globe, and helped 25,000 mothers safely deliver their babies.

Why We Find It Inspiring: A lot of CSR programs think local, but TOMS Shoes made it a point to think globally. They integrated giving into the very core of their business model, which has helped to inspire not only their employees but their customers as well.

4. LinkedIn

CSR Mission: LinkedIn wants to use their platform and tools to make a positive impact in the world, and connect under-served communities, such as youth, veterans, and refugees, with economic opportunities. 5-inspiring-csr-success-story-examples-5

Program Overview: The team at LinkedIn is aware of the fact that some groups of people have way more challenges than others when it comes to networking and accessing job opportunities. That's why they have built programs and partnerships to help individuals in these communities to succeed.

Success Story: To support refugees seeking employment, for example, LinkedIn has set up an initiative called "Welcome Talent." They partner with non-profit and government groups in different countries to train refugees on key business skills, connect them with mentors, and help them find employment.

Why We Find It Inspiring: LinkedIn is leveraging the social network that they created to make a difference for people in need. The result? Their programs have helped individuals like Issam Bahlawan find new careers and set up sustainable lives after being forced to leave their home countries.

5. Starbucks 

CSR Mission: Named the "World’s Most Ethical Company" by the Ethisphere Institute in 2017, Starbucks is committed to building greener stores, having a positive impact on local neighborhoods, and promoting ethical sourcing and fair trading.5-inspiring-csr-success-story-examples-6

Program Overview: Along with aiming to make coffee the first sustainable agricultural product, the Starbucks CSR program is all about doing things that are good for both people and the planet. They have four pillars of social responsibility: community, ethical sourcing, environment, and diversity.

Success Story: When it comes to ethical sourcing, one way that Starbucks goes above and beyond is by providing direct support to farmers and their communities. In Costa Rica and Rwanda, for example, they have established Farmer Support Centers to provide local farmers with resources to help them lower the cost of production, reduce fungus infections, improve product quality, and increase their production.

Why We Find It Inspiring: To be socially responsible, sometimes you need to turn your attention to your own business and try to reduce any potential negative or harmful impacts that it has. Starbucks did just that, and has taken steps towards making their coffee production more environmentally friendly and economically supportive.

Make Giving Back a Priority at Your Organization

Download Everything Your Business Needs to Know About CSR to learn more about how you can get started with corporate social responsibility.


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