--The tragic events and incompetence of the last eight years of Bush Administration will drive a new direction--
"A major course correction will prevail under the new leadership of Barack Obama with sustainable development providing the foundation for hope, change and opportunity for our future generations,” according to Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics.

The reckless financial deregulation and fragmentation of our economic infrastructure has undermined Americans’ confidence and trust which has impacted ‘business as usual,’ role and sense of community - as we once knew it.

  • A major part of the US recovery will be driven via a nationwide social, business and community rebuilding mobilization. Sustainable development and social responsibility will provide the basis for infrastructure redevelopment upon which to reinvigorate economic development and confidence.
  • The financial crisis and resultant impact on reputation and business performance, is forcing companies to further embrace sustainable program development and integration throughout their organizations.
  • While addressing climate change and environmental issues remain a priority, companies and individuals need to mitigate some fundamental global social and humanitarian issues – poverty, hunger and disease – in conjunction with Obama’s plans to retool the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and unemployed.
  • Continue to redefine the case and impact for sustainable development among key stakeholders, ensuring the proper alignment and positioning of the value proposition in a fragmented economic environment.
  • Enhance and leverage the increasingly more popular Web 2.0 tools and social networking platforms to enhance people connections, accountability and transparency.

Philanthropic Giving: It’s No Longer about Just Giving a Check

According to a recent LBG Research Institute survey, corporations’ anticipate no change or, in fact, an increase in charitable giving for 2009. Although 42% of corporations and 37% of corporate foundations surveyed say their charitable giving budgets will decrease in 2009, the Institute predicts that the overall decrease will be far less than the 12.1% drop in 2001 reported by Giving USA 2002.

In fact, 80 percent of corporations report that their giving will be more strategic next year, directed at causes in need, with greater impact and efficiency at work.


Environmental -- 24%
Basic Needs (food, clothing, shelter) -- 23%
Education/literacy -- 16%
Health -- 14%
Social Services -- 12%
Arts and Culture -- 4%

Conclusions for 2009:

  • Step up to the New Rules of Reputation Management: Social innovation, sustainable development, trust and transparency are the new currency for tomorrow’s companies doing business.
  • Evaluate and Measure Program Impact: Continue to assess current initiatives, stakeholder relationships and impact in the community. Use this platform to design and implement sustainable programs aligned with business objectives, as well as determine benchmarks for results measurement.
  • Philanthropy is an Integral Part of Doing Business: CEOs and their companies need to continue to invest strongly in their communities, responding to the growing expectations of employees, customers and other stakeholders.
  • Unleash the Power of NGOs for Greater Good: Align more aggressively with non-profit social actors – NGOs, (UN Agencies, development agencies). Companies have a timely opportunity to collaborate with some competent NGOs who are already in the trenches addressing key causes such as poverty, food and shelter.
  • Stakeholder Mobilization and Impact: Continue to harness the power of key stakeholders and their opinions, embrace them in community mobilization, growing influence and power of social networking platforms.

To be sure, our economy and ongoing disturbing worldwide events are unnerving, but finding solutions to these problems will entail greater support, creative innovation, and collaboration from businesses, government, NGOs/non-profits, community and academia.

Under our new administration, never will our current generation be more challenged and yet can prevail in the face of adversity and respective individual contribution(s) to ensure the course direction that the Obama administration so urgently represents.

By Sam Taylor. Source: LBG Research Institute


Despite the economic turmoil, invigorating the global economy by advancing sustainable business practices was top of the agenda at last month’s Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Conference.

The conference convened representatives from NGOs, academia, government and global leaders from corporations such as GE Capital, IKEA and Levi Strauss & Co, among others.

In fact, a "BSR/Cone 2008 Corporate Responsibility in a New World Survey" of 424 conference participants uncovered that more than two-thirds of the business leaders say that more responsible business practices could have lessened, or even prevented, the current economic downturn.

In parallel, the historic presidential election comes at a time of change, hope and opportunity for America which can be further embraced via sustainability opportunities.

This, in turn, will cause significant change in the business and policy environment requiring enhanced leadership from government, legislators, consumers and businesses. President-elect Obama recently announced intensifying his work on a stimulus plan that would dole out roughly a half trillion dollars to include ‘green’ projects, from home weatherization to renewable energy.

Water conservation, human rights, access to affordable healthcare, climate change and environmental issues continue to dominate top global concerns. Cause alignment and philanthropy are increasingly being linked to value in the sustainability evolution.

We cannot afford to delay or ignore pressing world issues…

The United Nations estimates that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will face periodic and often severe water shortages.

In the midst of jolting world events, continued cost-cutting and job losses, corporations are taking a renewed approach to sustainability and embracing the opportunities as they consider it the right thing to do.

In particular, they are reaffirming their commitment by ensuring proper integration of their programs and alignment throughout their business and operations, including:

  • Supply chain
  • Transparancy and accountability
  • Community – global to local
  • Public policy/advocacy
  • Employee performance

Back to the People’

Meanwhile, a cultural paradigm shift is also taking place. Companies and the ‘public at large’ are seeking deeper and more meaningful connections, embracing community spirit and giving as a way to demonstrate concern and individual action.

In a low trust environment, driving sustainability and its success is routed in its people, connections and regaining their confidence.

Sustainability is advancing to another level by which to engage deeper connections with key stakeholders and address social problems they most care about - particularly human rights and social justice issues.

Opportunities for America’s Volunteer Sector

In conjunction with this paradigm shift, the role and need for volunteers in America is at an all time high and poised for future growth.

According to the Volunteering in America report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, nearly 61 million Americans volunteered in their communities in 2007 giving 8.1 billion hours of service worth more than $158 billion to America’s communities.

Community service has never been stronger, as businesses are forced to commit to their sustainability programs, colleges adopt service-learning, and our new political leaders embrace citizen service.

Establishing volunteering programs and opportunities is a powerful way to empower and motivate employees/consumers.

GE Capital: CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, reiterated that ‘while responsibility programs need to be strategic and a long term commitment towards being competitive and generating profit, it is critical to run a company with trust, proper compliance, regulation and transparency. In order to achieve this, it is critical to engage people, align with culture and values.’

Some key conclusions:

  • Regain Trust and Confidence: Restore trust in the private sector by a demonstrated commitment to sustainability and help the business community regain the trust of consumers and investors – for the long term
  • Commitment to Causes: Gain consensus on what causes mean the most to key stakeholders and continued focus on addressing key issues such as energy, human rights and disease
  • Embrace Community Spirit: Above and beyond the trend of matching employee’s charitable giving, embrace volunteering to motivate and empower employees
  • Re-evaluate Philanthropic Activities: As the year-end approaches, assess charitable contributions, accountability and impact in the community. Consider causes that can be supported deep in the communities, beyond ‘giving a check’ and aligned with stakeholders

And most importantly……………..

Stay on track

In a spiraling economy, companies and their non-profit/NGO partners need stay on the sustainability track, advance responsible business and social practices to protect and make our world a better place.

By Samantha Taylor.

-The BSR/Cone survey fact sheet can be located at

-The Volunteering in America report can be located at www.VolunteeringInAmerica.gov


With tumultuous financial markets, a terrifying real estate crisis, and the U.S. Presidential election dominating the news, trust and confidence is now at an all time low – especially among consumers and investors.

While the financial crisis is forcing policy-makers to rethink an overhaul of (and in some cases, return to) market regulation and oversight to benefit the U.S. economy and mitigate risk, businesses are cutting costs and laying people off.

It's rough out there. Peoples’ life savings are evaporating as they watch the very executives who engineered this crisis walk way with Golden Parachutes. Government and Corporate America can no longer ignore the grass roots movement of everyday citizens rejecting the hypocrisies of our existing structure. Ignoring health care, the environment, and education can no longer be accepted.

While we don’t know how long this economic fallout will endure, we can be certain that at the end a new social consciousness will prevail. The public at large is realizing that government and corporations have not been effectively self-policing.

Who Will Watch the Watchers Themselves?

Another key lesson to be learned from the recent failure of several prominent financial institutions is the realization that organizations still fail to embrace the power of practicing corporate responsibility (CR).

The Wall Street crisis is fundamentally changing the way society views sustainability and it is an opportunity for businesses to reshape the sustainability agenda to their advantage.

Meanwhile, social, economic and environmental concerns still rest on the frontlines and are not to be overlooked in the context of new crises that will continue to emerge today and tomorrow. In particular, global climate change remains a permanent threat and Africans’ life spans continue to decline owing largely to AIDS, 60% of whose worldwide victims are African. Not to mention the increasing number of people in the US infected and impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Never has there been a greater ‘Call to Action’ and opportunity for businesses to re-examine their sustainability agendas, maintain a long term focus and continue to realize the benefits amidst the current economic and political changes.

They need to reflect the interests of those who have stakes in their business and realize the consequences of overlooking them. For example:

Investors: Where art thou profit?
Employees: Need to be empowered and motivated
Taxpayers: Who will now foot the bill for the bailouts
Community Power: Build, connect and align with key relationships – globally and locally
Customers: Expect transparency and accountability to support and demonstrate their favorite brands/products responsible business and social practices


  • Businesses must continue to address key sustainability issues like energy, climate change, disease and human rights concerns
  • Boost their voluntary and philanthropic efforts top-to-bottom and with participation from their employees
  • Maintain their reputations and boost trust by key stakeholders – especially consumers and investors
  • Embrace new tools and technologies that can assist businesses to establish connected communities, better focus their philanthropic activities for employee opportunity and motivation
  • As the giving season approaches, gain consensus from stakeholders about causes in need, align cause-related marketing and charitable contributions
  • Collaborate and establish partnerships with fiscally healthy non-profits/NGOs that that have the necessary resources and depth of knowledge to develop community-driven campaigns

CEOs need to stop worrying about the next quarterly report, their own compensation packages and spend more time creating a culture of responsible practices and conduct.

In conclusion, navigating this crisis effectively underscores the importance of building a truly sustainable economy for the long term – that not only requires leadership from government, but from businesses, consumers and ‘society at large.’

More later....

Sam Taylor



Online giving and community building-

Africa – The Force of Change

As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself…Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.’ Nelson Mandela

The energy and enthusiasm about Africa was running high at the first US-Africa Tourism Seminar on 2/27 developed by The Corporate Council on Africa and Africa Travel Association. While Africa has its fair share of political, economic and humanitarian challenges, the continent is poised to be a major travel destination and location for investment and business exploration.

In conjunction with the ‘Greening’ of the travel industry, Experiential Tourism, a growing sector beyond ‘sun-and-sand tourism,’ is expected to grow to 25% of the world’s travel market within six years - $473.6 billion a year.

As Gregg Truman, vice president of marketing for South African Airways pointed out, Africa commands only 2.4% of global travel market share, with only 64 million people taking trips to Africa.

With a new breed of ‘sustainable tourists’ seeking culturally authentic travel experiences that protect the environment and integrity of the destination, VolunTourism and travel philanthropy opportunities are on the rise. Africa is rich for its natural resources, tourism and wildlife, dancing and music – among others.
Opportunities for ‘Doing Good in Africa’:

Corporations and individuals have abundant opportunities to make a difference by addressing causes in need and making a personal connection with African communities. Some suggestions include:

  • Engage in ongoing education for the public about the realities and opportunities
  • Encourage family and stakeholder visits to see communities with causes in need
  • Align with NGO/non-profits to help mitigate extreme poverty, disease, threats to wildlife and tourism, and infant mortality
  • Provide benefits and incentives for local businesses, workforce, products and services
  • Donate funds and/or volunteer in communities

A special thanks to my fellow panelists’ on Experiential Tourism, their engaging presentations and fascinating work. Sean Barlow - Afropop Worldwide, El Hadji Aziz Gueye – Senegal Tourist Office, Lelei LeLaulu - Counterpart International, Dr. Lawrence Martin - Stony Brook University, Sharr Prohaska - New York University, Kevin J. Wright - World Religious Travel Association.

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and Africa Travel Association (ATA) Host First US-Africa Tourism & Sports Seminar in New York

The seminar theme - Making Africa the World’s Next Premiere Travel Destination - will provide more than 200 leaders from the public and private sectors an inside look into the vast array of business exploration and investment opportunities in the travel and tourism industries in Africa.

Africa is poised to increase its world market share in tourism and this seminar will help lay the groundwork placing Africa top-of-mind among American tourists and investors.

Currently sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 1.3% of the world market share in the travel and tourism industry. In 2007, the sector generated close to $90 billion in economic activity and is expected to exceed $185 billion within the next 7 years for the region, demonstrating positive growth and investment opportunities.

Sam Taylor, founder of Reputation Dynamics and Associate Partner of Corporate Donor Travel for Elevate Destinations, will be participating in a workshop and address the growth of Experiential Tourism in the context of alignment with economic, social and environmental responsibility trends. Experiential Tourism, encompassing eco-, nature, heritage, community and adventure tourism, is expected to grow three times faster than the tourism industry as a whole. In fact, beginning in the 1990s, this sector has grown 20-to-34% per year and could grow to 25% of the world’s travel market within six years, taking the value of the sector to $473.6 billion a year.

Event topics include sports and tourism, infrastructure development, marketing Africa, traveler perception, travel industry-related investment opportunities, airline and hotel development, as well as travel trends in Africa.

CCA, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) membership organization of nearly 200 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. The organization is dedicated to bringing together potential business partners and to showcase business opportunities on the continent. For more information on CCA, seminar and agenda visit www.africacncl.org.
The seminar will be held February 27-28, 2008 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, immediately preceding The New York Times Travel Show 2008.
Statistical Reference: World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Reputation Dynamics Joins United Nations Global Compact

Reputation Dynamics today announced that it has signed the United Nations Global Compact, reinforcing the company’s commitment to help companies advance their corporate social responsibility agendas among key stakeholders (employees, customers, board members, investors and suppliers).

Established in 2000, the Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative, brings together nearly 3,700 companies from more than 120 countries to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environmental sustainability and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship and integrate these ten principles in business strategies and operations around the world so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization and sustainable development.

Joining the Global Compact is an extension to Reputation Dynamics corporate responsibility advisory services and current initiatives such as Conscious Commerce - an innovative business model and methodology to help companies properly align and market stakeholder-driven programs - and it’s strategic alliance with Elevate Destinations providing corporations with opportunities to visit destinations where they have business and/or philanthropic interests (http://www.elevatedestinations.com/).

Additionally, Reputation Dynamics engages in education and advocacy by providing perspectives to help companies align ‘Doing Good in Society’ with competitive business edge via this popular blog.

"We are proud to be supporting the organization’s 10 principles and its efforts to advance corporate citizenship and challenge business to take a responsible leadership position," said Samantha Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics. “This is well-aligned with our core values and corporate vision."

More information about the Compact can be found at

Fast-Tracking Kenya’s Recovery….

It seems just like yesterday when my mother and I were driving to our home outside of Nairobi barely making the curfew deadline. Our heads were slightly ducked behind the car windscreen as my mother revved the accelerator past the security checkpoint.

In 1982, my family witnessed the devastating effects to a country and its people of a Kenyan coup d’etat attempt, which failed to overthrow President Daniel arap Moi’s government. On August 1, a group of soldiers from the Kenya Air Force took over the local radio station and announced they had overthrown the government. Sending Nairobi into utter chaos, about 145 people were killed and losses from widespread looting and destruction of property amounted to $111 million. My family was forced to hide out at home ‘on rations.’

Some parallels can be made between the ‘Hours of Chaos’ in 1982 and recent events surrounding President Mwai Kibaki’s disputed re-election, violence and deaths.

Of note, the poorest living in the slums of Nairobi and in rural areas, had all too little to lose in the violence and life for Kenyans once again more difficult.

The Kenya Presidential Elections of December 2007, are potentially the most damaging episode to national unity since the assassination of Tom Mboya in July 1969.

While there is celebration among select supporters for President Kibaki, the fear gripping the country is almost unprecedented in its 44 years of independence - as the Government and ODM continue to differ over the way forward for a peaceful settlement to the political crisis.

And, this is such bad timing for Kenya…..

Considered one of the most beautiful and more prosperous regions of Africa, Kenya has an estimated GDP growth of 6.7 percent and its unique landscapes, natural world and wildlife attractions brings in $900 million in tourism a year.

Kenya’s economy has been devastated by the violence and its reputation as a stable haven tarnished in a matter of weeks. As of 1/7, the economy was reported to have lost approximately $1 billion as a result of the post-election violence.

Some Perspective…

Kenya’s transition from dictatorship to democracy continues to be a tumultuous journey owing to its deeply rooted history in the political economies of colonialism, neocolonialism and neoliberalism. The country is further tainted by ongoing corruption and scandals under the rule of former dictators’ such as President Daniel arap Moi.

The first Kibaki government was elected in 2002 on a strong anti-corruption platform at a time when the country wanted a transparent government, justice brought to former corrupt officials and focus on economic development. While new corruption scandals occurred, the Kibaki administration delivered on the economy – jumping from 0.6% in 2002 to 6.1% in 2006. Despite its economy, Kenya still has some serious social issues and extreme poverty.

In 2006, the government unveiled Kenya Vision 2030, a development blueprint to turn Kenya into a newly industrialized ‘middle income country providing high quality of life for all its citizens by the year 2030.’

Kenya needs fast-track solutions to restore social harmony and aid recovery:

  • Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga enter negotiations to find quick resolution to end violence and restore peace to its people
  • More British and international intervention to help a humanitarian crisis
  • Contending parties agree to a binding independent and monitored investigation of the election results
  • Establish stronger anti-corruption platforms, transparent and accountable legal/government systems
  • A new parliament should be called into session with the new post of Prime Minister directly answerable to Parliament
  • Restore tourism and confidence
  • Corporations and NGOs/non-profits should align social, economic and environmental responsibility programs with causes in need

The country’s economy will continue to lose hard-won ground if the political situation is not resolved quickly.


The Tide Has Turned: 2008 Conscious Commerce Predictions by Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics

Social Purpose Alignment is a Strategic Imperative for Making a Profit

In 2007, the business case for corporate responsibility (CR) was accepted in the business community,” according to Sam Taylor.

Key Corporate Responsibility Milestones in 2007:

  • Companies ‘License to Operate’ obligations were forced to change due to world events, regulatory issues, compliance and environmental concerns
  • Companies acknowledge that initiatives will have a major impact on business strategies over the next few years
  • Growth of more evidenced-based research tracking the value and impact from multiple functions including brand, stakeholder relations, customer behaviors and reputation
  • Increasing number of newly created executive positions
  • Growth of dedicated resources and services including sustainability development firms, environmental, news services, academics and influencers’
  • A plethora of social entrepreneurs, for and not-for-profit/NGO companies have provided concrete evidence that while striving to make a profit, they can make a difference
  • Growth of multiple investment vehicles such as alternative energy mutual funds
  • Philanthropic contributions polled among 136 large corporations by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy’s ‘Giving in Numbers’ research found that the median dollar value of contributions increased from $29.5 million in 2005 to $32.6 million in 2006
  • Cause-related marketing is a $1.44 billion business

Predictions for 2008:

Step up to the New Rules of Reputation Management: Social innovation, sustainable development, trust and transparency are the new currency for tomorrow’s companies doing business.

Evaluate and Measure Program Impact: Assess current initiatives, stakeholder relationships and impact in the community. Use this platform to design and implement sustainable programs aligned with business objectives, as well as determine benchmarks for results measurement.

Employee and Customers Want Businesses to Invest in Communities they Touch: While health, safety, price and quality are top-of-mind for conscious consumers, they want companies to meet their personal goals and positively impact society.

Philanthropy is an Integral Part of Doing Business: CEOs and their companies need to continue to invest strongly in their communities, responding to the growing expectations of employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Move the Needle on Social Issues: There are plenty of causes out there that need support both at home and in emerging markets. Some critical causes in need include HIV/Aids, TB and malaria, poverty, infant mortality, wildlife preservation and protecting indigenous peoples.

Unleash the Power of NGOs for Greater Good: Align more aggressively with non-profit social actors – NGOs, (UN Agencies, development agencies). Companies have a timely opportunity to collaborate with some competent NGOs who are already in the trenches addressing key causes.

Stakeholder Liaisons: Harness the power of key stakeholders and communicate with them regularly on and offline. Solicit the knowledge and opinions of customers and employees. It is a powerful tool to track and influence patterns of behavior, and, don’t forget tomorrow’s leaders – the younger generation and their social networking habits.

Give the Future of Green this Holiday Season: Your Investments

As we ponder 2008 resolutions under the shade of our volatile US economy, it might be prudent to consider alternative energy investments as part of re-balancing our portfolios. While the topic of ‘green’ continues to dominate the headlines, it is a good time to put ‘your money where the green is.’

According to a United Nations report in 2006 investors poured in $71 billion into companies in various fields of renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies. Experts predict that it will rise to $85 billion this year.

While there was a rush to alternative energy investments during the oil crisis in the 1970s and tech bubble in the 1990s, the current sentiment is that these are here to stay – owing to the rising demand for power, concerns about oil resources, and climate change. Renewable sources today only produce only 2% of the world’s energy, but account for 18% of world investment in power generation. The rising popularity of alternative energy technologies and capacity will attract venture capital funding, legislative incentives and business support. Developments of note:

  • The European Union is mandating that 20% of energy use comes from solar, wind and other renewable sources by 2020
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed an energy bill mandating that 15% of electricity from private utilities be generated from renewables by the same time
  • Governments are providing subsidies, incentives and tax breaks to speed up the development of alternative energy technologies
  • General Motors announced that 50% of its vehicles will use alternatives to gasoline within the next five years

You know that when Wall Street rises to the occasion, it is to be taken seriously. Several new exchanged traded funds have been launched to invest in alternative energy companies, as well as a new crop of mutual funds. These include a combination of ‘pure plays’ and ‘market leaders.’

Since the start of the year, this small but growing pool of funds have posted solid returns, and in many cases outperforming the S&P 500. Of note:

  • New Alternatives Fund (NALFX)
  • Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund (GAAEX)

Some resources for homework and due diligence - www.energytechstocks.com - www.altenergystocks.com - www.greenchipstocks.com.

There’s still time for a green shopping spree………………….

Sustainable Business Growing in Importance and so is the Link to Reputation – Do You Know Yours?

The 'Call to Action' messages and marketplace research continues to echo in the growing corporate responsibility community – corporate – academia – non-profit - NGOs……..

At a Social Enterprise Conference at Columbia Business School last Friday, a headline message presented at a keynote address by Patrick Cescau - President Group Chief Executive of Unilever - following a special tribute to Anita Roddick of The Body Shop:

“Corporations of the future will not survive unless they adopt and support social innovation and sustainable development objectives”

An advocate of ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’ and Recipient of the 2007 Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics, Unilever has demonstrated commitment to its social and environmental sustainability initiatives via its alliances with The Rain Forest Alliance and World Food Programme – http://www.unilever.com/.

That same week, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) announced the results of a survey in conjunction with their annual conference in San Francisco where more than 330 participants were polled out of 1350 leaders from 50 countries in attendance - www.bsr.org/conference. Key highlights included:

  • 82 percent – private sector executives, NGOs and policymakers around the world say they will make corporate social responsibility a core business strategy in the next five years
  • 47 percent said a core reason for focusing on sustainable business is consumer behavior and concerns about reputation
  • 31 percent said energy efficiency and renewable energy are at the heart of their corporate climate change effort
  • 69 percent said China is the country that will most influence the evolution of corporate responsibility in the next five years

Corporate responsibility is climbing higher and higher on the business and public agenda…..

So, what is the fundamental next step to properly create the CR road map?

We, at Reputation Dynamics, suggest a brand reputation analysis and stakeholder evaluation to provide the strategic foundation for the development of a sustainable, long-term program.

Unleashing the Power of NGOs for Greater Good

As companies continue to respond to the power of private citizens and their quest to improve society, they are also being forced to re-evaluate their partnerships and accountability of their contributions to the community.

Never has there been a greater time to align more aggressively with non-profit social actors – NGOs (UN Agencies, development agencies and civil society organizations).

The business focus of NGOs includes critical initiatives such as healthcare, disease, energy efficiency, agriculture, environmental quality protection, children’s’ poverty, civil rights and so on. However, some NGOs are considered to be disorganized, bureaucratic and have fragmented communications.

It’s not all about philanthropy...............

Collaborating and aligning with these businesses’ are important avenues for giving, can both benefit and mobilize the public at large in advancing good causes.

Companies have a timely opportunity to review and collaborate with some competent NGOs thanks to The United Nations Global Compact, Dalberg Global Development Advisors and the Financial Times.

The companies aligned to identify and analyze a group of non-profit social actors who have proven competence in partnering with companies. Dalberg received 865 valid partnership ratings from 445 companies in response to a survey distributed to more than 20,000 companies worldwide about their partnership experiences - rated on adaptability, execution, and communication. Key highlights of the findings:

  • 73% concluded that corporate partnerships would be important for their own company over the next 3 years
  • The majority cited successful implementation of effective and relevant CSR programs as the main reason for partnering with NGOs
  • Core business and advocacy partnerships are perceived to have higher impact than those focused on philanthropy

The three most pursued areas of partnership were in Education, Environmental Protection and Communications, while Microfinance received high interest.

Lions Club International, Environmental Defense, WRI and TechnoServe ranked among the top 34 global organizations listed. Additionally, 53 local/regional NGOs emerged as leaders.

Proper collaboration and alignment with the NGO community as a key component of a company's responsibility initiatives, represents considerable advantages and benefits for both parties. These include increasing the profits of their businesses and donor acquisition, and for NGOs to take advantage of corporate resources, expand these markets, make contributors' money go further and.......enable greater community impact.

For more information about this study – www.dalberg.com
‘Business guide to partnering with NGOs and the United Nations’

Please Sir, Can I have Some More?

The fact of the matter is that there are still more than two million New York City residents across the five boroughs at risk of hunger. Despite the city’s emergency food programs (EFP’s) – approximately 900 soup kitchens and food pantries in New York - providing food to half of them, there is still a dire food shortage.

A couple of other statistics:
  • Approximately 500,000 city residents are eligible but not receiving food stamps, many of whom may be turning to EFPs instead. Less than one-half (46 percent) of all EFP participant households are enrolled in the federal Food Stamp Program.
  • Of all EFP participant households, about one-third (34 percent) choose between food and housing, about one-third (34 percent) choose between food and utilities, and more than one-fifth (22 percent) choose between food and medical care.

I bring you attention to The Food Bank’s NYC upcoming hunger awareness Go Orange campaign taking place on October 15-19. The campaign is calling upon all New Yorkers’ to do what they can do to help raise funds for the holiday season and the goal is to raise one million meals.

This year, city landmarks, media partners, corporations, musicians, restaurants, supermarkets, retail stores and more are Going Orange throughout the city to help raise these funds and awareness for hunger relief. New York’s skyline will also Go Orange including its most famous landmarks and towers such as The Empire State Building.

For further information about how to participate and take action: http://www.foodbanknyc.org/

A little Orange anyone?

Source: Hunger Safety Net 2004, Hunger in America

How ‘Doing Good in Society’ Increases Competitive Business Edge - Audio Presentation

Companies ‘license to operate’ obligations have changed dramatically due to world events and the globalization of our economy.

The headlines are dominated with news about everyone trying to be green, product quality and safety, corporate reputations and performance. With recent books such as ‘Giving’ by Bill Clinton, and ‘The Triple Bottom Line', co-authored by Andrew Savitz and Karl Weber corporations key stakeholders’ are more educated than ever about the contributions and impact of corporations on society, economy and the environment.

Companies are now expected to be good corporate citizens not only by their shareholders and government regulators, but by their customers.

However, doubt still lingers in the business and financial community about justifying ‘Doing Good in Society’ and the point of sustainability. The fundamental challenge for them is whether it distracts from core business focus areas, provides long term growth and returns to investors.

The tide is turning for the naysayers.........

A recent national survey conducted by Grant Thornton among 500 business executives uncovered that 77 percent said they expected corporate responsibility initiatives to have a major impact on their business strategies over the next several years. Furthermore, the three greatest benefits of enacting CSR are: improves public opinion and customer relations, as well as attracts/retains talent. For survey results, go to www.grantthornton.com - Corporate responsibility becoming integral to business strategy.

We invite you to listen to our audio presentation that provides a perspective on how and why corporate social responsibility (CSR), is becoming an increasingly critical component of reputation management and competitive business edge.


The CRO Conference Addressing 'Operationalization' of Sustainability on September 12

The CRO has a stellar line up of speakers and timely topics at a one-day fall conference to be held at the Union League Club in Chicago tomorrow.

Topics will cover stakeholder engagement, supply chain, and alignment of CSR with the bottom line. Also, they will address two major trends facing corporate social responsibility officers, in the growing $32 billion CR industry; the expansion from merely defense in the face of regulatory challenges to offensive functions, or making sustainability efforts operational.

Featuring keynote speaker Murray Martin, CEO of Pitney Bowes, the conference will also include a special multi-level company session with a board member, marketing communications expert and manufacturing executive from a global corporation discussing their global sustainability efforts—from board room to execution.

A panel featuring Susan Graff, Principal of ERS along with the CEOs of Baxter Healthcare and Interface Group will share learning’s about setting and surpassing sustainable practice benchmarks.

The CRO is a membership media platform for corporate practitioners, professional service providers and non-profit influencers' in corporate responsibility. Example members include IBM, Avon, Starbucks, Intel, Pepsi, and Harvard.

For more information - http://www.thecro.com/conferences.


World military expenditure in 2005 increased to $1,001 billion and the US is responsible for 80 percent of that increase. While America is first in nuclear defense capabilities and expenditures among industrialized countries to the tune of $30 billion annually, it is shocking that America’s kids are so woefully neglected.
The stark realities…..

Top Left: Government Pie Chart (Office of Management and Budget)

  • 18 percent of all children (ages 0-17) live in poverty
  • 9.3 million children are without health insurance
  • A child dies before his or her first birthday every 19 minutes
  • A child or teen is killed by gunfire every 3 hours

For more than 10 years, lawmakers mainly focused on sweeping welfare changes passed in 1996 that imposed time limits and strict work requirements on welfare recipients. This did not bode well for our poor children, despite President Bush’s proposal to continue childcare support at $4.8 billion per year, as part of his Welfare Reform.

In addition to the humanitarian aspects, there is also an economic case for reducing childhood poverty and it's impact on the US economy.

Children who grow up poor in the United States cost the economy $500 billion a year because they are less productive, earn less money, commit more crimes and have more health-related expenses.

Yet, according to experts, as much as $13 billion could be cut from U.S. nuclear spending without compromising our national security and strong position.

Can we please give our children a bigger slice of the American Federal budget pie?

There are several initiatives that need further funding and support to benefit our future generations. To name a few:

  • Child care assistance to low-income families
  • Health insurance
  • Community and housing mobilization
  • Expand the earned income tax credit and child tax credit
  • Higher minimum wages
  • Pre-kindergarten programs, elementary and secondary reforms

Let’s do right for America’s kids and society at large.

Stats Source: Children’s Defense Fund. ChildStats.gov. Washington Post Graphic.


A recent Ad Age article (Blame CMO Turnover on Metrics Mania) states that CMOs are facing ‘Death by Data’ due an extreme focus on metrics getting in the way of creativity and innovation which is required to maintain competitive edge.

The headlines continue to be dominated with news, ad nauseum, about abrupt CMO departures, shortening tenures, turnovers galore and now re-defining the CMO role altogether.

A study conducted by the CMO Council, confirms a perception versus reality gap exists between the expectations that CEOs have of CMOs and actual performance.

While the good news is that CEOs still consider marketing to be a critical part of corporate strategy, two-thirds of CEOs say their top marketers don’t provide enough evidence about true performance and ROI.

Hmmm…did the CMO ever receive clarity about ‘true performance’ goals and ROI?

Today’s CMOs have a lot on their plate in our low trust environment.

Aside from presenting the numbers, they may be handling questionable ethics and business operations, brand reputation, keeping up with ‘Word-of-Mouth’ marketing and social networking, online commerce, maintaining a competitive edge, producing the next product and so on - all under the direction of a CEO who might be expecting too much and would rather keep the door closed.

Perhaps it is time for the CEO and the board to re-define their views and expectations of the CMO - fix the CMOs bruised Achilles heel.

With the Apple’s of this world leading the path of innovation, isn’t their enough to focus on and stay ahead?

After all, isn’t the CMO fundamental objective to market and sell more products/services? A few suggestions to help our CEOs and CMOs:

Functional Organization: Boards should stop creating CMO positions for the wrong reasons such as having them fix a fledging marketing organization or be a scapegoat for the reputation impaired. A Chief Ethics/Compliance Officer could be appropriate for fixing these issues and a good bridge for the CEO and CMO.

Open the Corner Office Door: Establish a better and regular dialogue between the CEO and CMO about marketing objectives, performance expectations and ROI tracking.
Focus: The customer is still king. As President and Founder of The CMO Club, Pete Krainik, recently commented, 'overcome the fact that in most companies the marketing group is not close enough to the product/service, nor close enough to the customer.' Know the product well, poll and take customer opinions seriously.
Social Responsibility: More than two-thirds of Americans say they consider a company’s business practices when deciding what to buy, according to a 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Study, and want their employers to support a social cause. Embrace the firm’s social and environmental purpose activities and integrate them holistically with business and marketing practices - top to bottom.
Stakeholder Liaisons: With customers and employees keeping track of their favorite companies and products, be sure to consistently communicate and demonstrate the value proposition.

CMOs live long and prosper.


We have all witnessed the buzz of media and celebrity-driven attention about the African continent in the context of lost hope, opportunity and social responsibility voyages. Vanity Fair’s July issue on Africa includes a plethora of celebrity cover photos (21) and profile interviews such as Brad Pitt with Desmond Tutu. Movies like The Last King of Scotland, Tsotsi and Hotel Rwanda demonstrate the harsh realities of African politics and suffering.

However, not enough is being done to address the issues facing Africans.

Some celebrity efforts are to be commended such as Oprah Winfrey opening a girl’s school in South Africa, and Madonna’s non-profit Raising Malawi.

While it is all well and good that celebrities have done a good job calling attention to Africa and creating individual social responsibility models, corporations should do the same.

I spent an impressionable childhood in Kenya. Aside from the beauty, people and wildlife, I witnessed the slums, poverty and under-nourished infants. Africa wasn’t on the map when I came to America 18 years ago. Top line Kenyan issues include a corrupt government and the demand for ivory diminishing what was once a healthy elephant population. Mr. Wainaina’s individual tale – ‘Generation Kenya’ http://www.vanityfair.com/ - illustrates Kenya’s rocky road.

Americans’ are increasingly traveling to Africa on safari, have life changing experiences and are in awe of it's beauty.

Today, many corporations are eyeing the continents resources - or - already have business interests – including operations, customers and employees. We need to better educate the public about the realities and opportunities of Africa. Also, enlist help to mitigate the extreme poverty, disease, threats to wildlife and tourism, and infant mortality.

Corporations, aside from donating funds, have the resources, on-site support, products and services to support programs on a fundamental level. These include providing shelter and care to orphans, saving newborn lives, education, drinking water, medical supplies, job creation and transportation.

It is timely for corporations to add Africa to the CSR agenda, engage stakeholders, and align with their cause-related marketing programs. Following are some top line realities about these issues and suggested organizations to support:

HIV/Aids, TB and Malaria: There are 25.8 million HIV/Aids sufferers in Africa and 8,000 people die every day - http://www.businessfightsaids.org/

Poverty: More than 70 percent of the continent’s poor people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for food and livelihood. In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 218 million people live in extreme poverty -http://www.irr.org/

Education: Ten African countries report adult literacy rates of less than 30%. In America, the adult literacy rate is 99% - http://www.oprahsangelnetwork.org/

Infant Mortality: Twenty-two African countries have infant mortality rates higher than 100 per 1,000 live births - http://www.savethechildren.org/

Wildlife: In 2006, as a result of poaching and mass slaughter in the 1980s, there are only 30,000 elephants in Kenya, down from 70,000 in the 60s - http://www.savetheelephants.com/

Corporations need to realize the longer term benefits helping combat a continent in suffering, supporting timely causes in countries where they operate, as well as ultimately protecting their business interests.


I'm preparing for my yearly pilgrimage to help out with BTP’s musical theatre arts education program in Florida on July 8. This year, more than 200 talented students from 28 states, as well as Canada, England and American Samoa will be attending an intensive curriculum to properly prepare them for a professional career in the performing arts. Special guests and workshops this year include:

"Moving Story" - by Christopher D’Amboise. A contemporary method of theatrical storytelling combining music, song, text and dance. Apprentices will work to develop a section from a new musical and perform an informal presentation.

"Alice"- by Frank Wildhorn. Frank has created a new show inspired by the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland. Apprentices will work with Mr. Wildhorn and BTP founder Debra McWaters, on creating the main characters in innovative and modern ways. Brandi Burkhardt will play the title role in the workshop. Pieces created from the workshop will be presented in the final BTP performance at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on July 28.

Founded in 1991, Broadway Theatre Project is the world’s most prestigious musical theatre arts education program for high school and college students. Under the artistic direction of Debra McWaters, students attend an intensive three-week training program focused on the key disciplines of musical theatre arts including acting, dancing, and singing, as well as the critical life skills necessary to work in the professional world of entertainment. For more information – http://www.broadwaytheatreproject.com/.


Most tourists visiting Southern Poland frequently seek out the remnants of Jewish life at the former camps of Plaszow and Auschwitz. However, one of Krakow's best kept secrets is the Galicia Jewish Museum, founded by British photojournalist Chris Schwarz in 2004. Housed in an old furniture factory, the Museum celebrates the renaissance of Jewish culture in Galicia.

The Museum’s arrival is in step with Poland’s rapid ascent as a prime target of foreign investment in Europe. With a highly educated workforce, the nation’s business capacities have developed at a sure and steady pace since it was accepted into the EEC. Poland is the largest of the new EU member states, with important labor resources, significant scientific and industrial potential, and a 38-million consumer market. According to one recent study, the country will become the manufacturing hub of Eastern Europe in the next decade and is set to join the Euro in 2008.

This economic blossoming is providing impetus to numerous cultural endeavors in many Polish cities. Krakow is no exception and has an important commercial history sustained by eminent groups of Jewish entrepreneurs, bankers, industrialists, and merchants since the 12th century.

Their legacy is evident in the Galicia Jewish Museum whose mission is to commemorate Polish Jewry from a completely new perspective, other than the Holocaust. The Museum also provides a forum for multi-cultural dialogue and for the dissemination of exhibitions and publications to audiences, both Jewish and non-Jewish, around the world.
The Galicia Jewish Museum’s address is: 18, Dajwor Street, Krakow 31-052, POLAND.
Link: www.galiciajewishmuseum.org

Posted by Anna Ray-Jones, VP, Donley Communications Corp. Anna is also a published author and writes frequently on arts and culture.

Conservancy Spotlight - Brooklyn Bridge Transformation

Visitors’ and jaded Manhattan residents are flocking to Brooklyn, drawn by the variety of neighborhoods, up-market stores, utilitarian streetscapes, renovated factories and buildings. Often considered the step child to Manhattan, Brooklyn is one of New York’s newer destination spots.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park area is about to undergo one of the most significant developments since Prospect Park was built 135 years ago, due to the Empire State Development Corporation's unanimous approval of the Park's General Project Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, paving the way for construction this year.

The 85-acre park, stretching 1.3 miles along the East River from north of the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue, will be transformed into a public space including lawns, recreation, beaches, coves, restored habitats, playgrounds and landscaped areas.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy annual benefit is on Thursday, June 7 - Sunset Splash. Information and tickets - http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/.