Social Entrepreneur Seeks To Make CSR Easier For Everyone
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
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Ryan Scott, 48, CEO and founder of Causecast, is working to make corporate social responsibility easier for everyone involved, from the corporation and the employees to the nonprofits they support.
Causecast, a Certified B Corporation, operates a web service that matches corporate volunteers to nonprofit projects. The system provides a comprehensive reporting and management system.
Causecast allows both management and rank-and-file employees to put projects into the system to garner volunteer support.
Alicia Quinn, Director of Programs for Mission Edge, a nonprofit based in San Diego, uses the Causecast platform to match skills-based volunteers to specific needs in the nonprofit community there.
“It truly is a ‘one stop shop’ for corporate social responsibility and employee engagement,” Quinn says.
“When I first began designing the program, I didn’t have an effective method of sharing opportunities for nonprofit engagement with volunteers. I feared having to resort to email and an Excel spreadsheet to source organizations’ needs, and volunteers’ interests and skills. Causecast offers an efficient and effective solution for matching the supply with the demand.” Quinn says Mission Edge chose Causecast instead.
Ryan Scott, Causecast
“By offering an efficient and affordable product, Causecast allows nonprofits to access talent and harness the passions of the corporate community to impact the social sector,” she concluded.
Scott, an early investor in Tesla and other Silicon Valley startups, brought him into contact with the co-founders of AutoLotto, an app that lets users play the Powerball lottery right from their phones. (Disclosure: my wife owns 60 shares of Tesla.)
Mel Brue, head of marketing communications for AutoLotto explains that the lottery was originally started to fund social projects. Building on that idea, AutoLotto has created “social impact pools” that work like office pools to benefit charities. She says that social impact is especially important to millennials.
“Causecast has the infrastructure already in place to help us fulfill our philanthropic strategy domestically as well as abroad,” Brue says. “Causecast has been particularly effective in developing programs that are tailored to a specific region or country. Their diligent vetting of charities, as well as the infrastructure to facilitate giving, will allow us to launch impactful programs quickly as we scale both in the US and internationally.”
One feature of the program is modeled on crowdfunding sites. It allows employees to fundraise for a cause or charity in competition with other employees working to support the same cause. Employee engagement is one of the big benefits of the system, Scott says.
In one case, Scott reports, a corporation engaged 1,000 employees in a crowdfunding campaign, ultimately reaching broadly outside the company connecting with the social networks of the employees.
Scott, who had a successful exit in the 90s after creating an early opt-in email marketing platform, says he gained the ability to focus more of his energy on giving back after the deal.
“I tried doing some fundraising and things like that,” Scott says. “I found it to be not quite as satisfying as I would like. I didn’t really feel like I was being engaged at all levels.”
He began looking at corporations to see how they were giving and realized that they were not being offered tools that would make corporate social responsibility programs effective both in engaging employees and tracking impact.
So, Scott created Causecast.
He boasts that the system works. When companies have an existing CSR program and then adopt the Causecast platform for managing, they see an increase in participation. “All of a sudden they have 50 percent more participation because of all the transparency, because of the social, because of all of the technologies and products that we built around this.”
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