Make your Corporate Social Responsibility Awards entry a winner

Award winners from Aurora Organic Dairy, Berkshire Bank and KPMG share their knowledge.

Do you want to earn recognition for your corporate social responsibility efforts?

Whether you’ve put together a diversity and inclusion program at your organization or developed the messaging and storytelling efforts behind it, we want to know about your work.

Listen to our previous winners before putting time and effort into your entry. We asked winners from PR Daily’s 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards to share their insight about their submissions, the challenges they faced when executing their work, and how winning an award benefitted them.

Aurora Organic Dairy’s Corporate Citizenship Report receives high praise

Aurora Organic Dairy publishes a corporate citizenship report every two years. This report outlines the company’s commitment to animals, people and the planet. In 2017, the communications team wanted to avoid a typical textbook approach to reporting. Instead, Aurora Organic Dairy developed the content of its report based on stakeholder feedback, key organizational priorities and stories that revealed both opportunities and challenges.

“While we report on our CSR goals and progress every two years, and update the data on our website annually, this report is a major undertaking for our staff,” says Sonja Tuitele, director of communications at Aurora Organic Dairy. “We track CSR data from our farms, milk plants, milk distribution and crop-growing stages of our business, which takes time and employee resources. To consolidate this data into a report that achieves rigorous GRI reporting criteria, and is compelling to our stakeholder groups, is a communications challenge we happily embrace.”

This effort earned Aurora Organic Dairy an honorable mention in the “Report” category of the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards. The team is already planning for the 2019 report. This win has helped to confirm the parts of the report that were already working, but creating a new version remains an iterative process.

“The level of detail and carefully curated graphics in the report were well received, but at the same time, we have a goal to simplify the information for readability and to appeal to all audiences,” says Tuitele.

This was Aurora Organic Dairy’s second entry into a PR Daily Award program and despite limited resources, the work stood out.

“It evokes a sense of pride among our employees to work for a company that has such high standards, and that is being recognized for its hard work,” says Tuitele. “Additionally, we are a small company relative to others in the competition, and we produce the content for these reports in-house with very few external resources. Receiving recognition give us greater confidence that we are delivering communications that are relevant and meaningful.”

Berkshire Bank’s volunteer program built community inside and outside of the organization

Developing an engaging employee volunteer program is no easy task. After a series of acquisitions, the team at Berkshire Bank was looking for a way to combine cultures and engage employees.

“We had to develop a way to create value that went beyond individual jobs while still connecting to our purpose,” says Gary Levante, senior vice president, corporate responsibility and culture at Berkshire Bank. “Through our employee volunteer program, the XTEAM®, we harness our most important asset, our people, to transform our communities, bond employees and drive value.”

To make this a reality, the team selected employees in different locations who demonstrated leadership skills and a passion for service to lead various group activities. Berkshire Bank employees helped to build outdoor classrooms, revitalize neighborhood blocks, build homes for Habitat for Humanity, plant trees and more. This effort had an immense impact on employee engagement.

The impact of our program is influencing how we think about what it means to be a community bank in the 21st century,” says Levante. “As customer behaviors shift, the rise of technology and as more millennials and Gen Z enter the workforce, we see our XTEAM as a key component to our competitive advantage and a differentiator for recruiting and retaining employees and customer loyalty.”

This was Berkshire Bank’s first and only entry into a PR Daily program, and it won the “Employee Volunteer Program” category in the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.

“While it’s always great to be recognized for a job well done, the pride and sense of accomplishment our employees experience is the real benefit. To earn a national award from a respected organization is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our employees to helping everyone realize life’s exciting moments,” says Levante.

KPMG combatted childhood illiteracy through its flagship citizenship program

“KPMG’s Citizenship efforts are centered on lifelong learning, which is essential to unlocking the potential in people, building economies, and above all, improving lives. Literacy is at the foundation of lifelong learning, and access to books is necessary to build strong reading skills,” says Brandon Hatler, manager, U.S. corporate reputation and digital engagement at KPMG.

KPMG’s Family for Literacy (KFFL) is the firm’s flagship Citizenship program under which its “Read to Succeed” initiative was created. KPMG sponsored large-scale experiential pop-up book fairs around the country. KPMG employees conducted traditional book fairs for local Title 1 schools in their area. These efforts targeted low-income communities where there is a large need for books and a demonstrated literacy gap.

This was a nationwide effort involving more than 100 offices around the United States. KPMG was able to distribute more than 158,00 new books. The scale of each event was the most challenging element for the Citizenship and Corporate Communications teams who worked hand in hand to ensure the initiative was a success.

“Ninety percent of the schools that participate in KPMG’s Family for Literacy program said it has contributed to their students’ improved attitudes toward reading, and more than 70 percent reported increased home reading after the children received new books through this program,” says Hatler. “Read to Succeed had a direct impact on the lives of the children that participated in the local events. We were also able to shine a spotlight on childhood illiteracy through extensive traditional and social media efforts. In fact, due to the success of this initiative, KPMG decided to execute a similar initiative the following year!”

This effort earned KPMG the winning spot in the “CSR Event” category of the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, as well as honorable mentions in the community affairs and cause advocacy campaign categories.

“First and foremost, KPMG conducts these initiatives because we care about our communities and desire to make a difference. In many cases, the new books these children receive are the first books that they have ever owned. The recognition from PR Daily demonstrates that the development and execution of this initiative was special and that makes our team feel proud,” says Hatler.

Has your team created an impressive corporate social responsibility effort? Check out PR Daily’s 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards to learn how you can be in the spotlight like these winners.

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