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Crowdsourcing Drives Community Initiatives

Raytheon Community Relations

Corporate social responsibility programs are on the rise. Companies continue to seek ways to involve the public and drive awareness of their community initiatives.

What methods work best? According to study released this month by Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm, community involvement is essential to a successful social responsibility program.

Surveyors questioned more than 200 corporate executives from companies with philanthropic and community outreach programs. A majority of those polled said crowdsourcing proved to be invaluable in the success of CSR programs.

“As companies strive to create value through CSR efforts, it’s clear that many are also focused on how to create meaningful forms of social engagement with customers and other stakeholders,” said Paul Massey, founder of Weber Shandwick. “Our research illustrates that companies see the value in crowdsourcing because it creates opportunities for immediate and direct dialogue with key audiences about CSR goals, strategies and impact.”

Crowdsourcing directly involves the customers. The public is asked for input and participates in decision-making processes. That level of involvement builds relationships, and often leads to innovative approaches.

Survey results also found social media to be a big player in how companies drive their messages. Nonprofit partners, the media, policymakers and the public are routinely reached through social media by 72 percent of the executives polled.

“Because of the vast adoption of social media, conversations about CSR are far more dynamic than ever before,” said Stephanie Bluma, co-founder of Social Impact. “Companies are now using social media to raise awareness and directly engage consumers by listening to what they have to say, and incorporating that input into more effective programs.”

Companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon have actively pursued community relations programs. Corporate responsibility programs rely on customer interaction. A good program will involve its various publics from the beginning.

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