Global Citizenship

Why Not Develop Your Own Little Give?



Originally posted on

If you ask people at Edelman Toronto what they love about working here, chances are that they’ll mention The Little Give. And for good reason – it’s an incredible program, and we’re extremely proud of it.

As you may know from our previous blog posts on the subject, The Little Give is Edelman Canada’s annual corporate social responsibility initiative that dedicates a little bit of seed money, 48 hours of time and a whole lot of energy and goodwill to worthy non-profit organizations with a focus on children and youth, hunger and poverty.

Patti Schom-Moffatt, co-General Manager of our Vancouver office, launched the idea there in 2008, and three years ago we decided to make it our national CSR program.  We couldn’t have made a better decision.  In fact, I’m so passionate about this model that I have no hesitation in encouraging other offices in the Edelman network, our clients – virtually any company looking for an exceptional CSR program – to take this idea and run with it.

As I mentioned in my blog post last year that recapped my experience at ORENDA’s In Good Company CSR conference, there are a number common themes among successful CSR programs.  Here’s how The Little Give touches each one:

Focused:   Like many companies, Edelman receives hundreds of requests for donations each year.  Yet as I’ve said before, random cheque writing does not create social impact – or measurable results.  With The Little Give, we have a focused period of time during which we give money, time, and most importantly, tools and resources to create a lasting impact for our non-profit partners.

Relevant:  The Little Give program matches Edelman’s global mandate to support charities that focus on hunger and poverty.  And while we contribute our core PR, digital and design skills to the challenges that are presented to us, we also relish the opportunity try new things too, like build playgrounds or cultivate a garden.  In the end, the impact we make truly resonates on so many levels for both our employees and our non-profit partners.

Authentic: The Little Give isn’t a passing fad or about the cause du jour – it’s truly part of our culture here at Edelman, and we talk about it all year long – in our presentations,  with our clients, and even through our goodpurpose™ IP.    We’re 100 per cent committed to The Little Give; it’s an important part of our identity.

Measurable – Just as we deliver measurable results for our clients, The Little Give delivers measurable results for ourselves and for our non-profit partners, too.  We measure how many hours we spend on our tasks, how many employees participated, how much we donated, and the overall business impact. But it’s also important for us to see how The Little Give helps our non-profit partners solve key challenges, such as how to raise awareness and funds for their cause, meet with key stakeholders, upgrade a space, or give underprivileged kids their first bikes!  In coming posts to, you’ll get first-hand accounts from some of our partners on how we moved the needle for their organizations.

Engaging – Our staff tell us repeatedly that The Little Give is one of the things that they love most about working for Edelman.  When we interview candidates and we tell them about the initiative, their eyes light up. When we tell our clients about it, they tell us Edelman is the kind of firm with which they want to work.  After all, engaged employees and inspiring workplaces make good business sense.  And our employees are engaged from start to finish with The Little Give – from selecting the charity partners to running the entire event throughout the 48 hours.  Remember:  employees are powerful brand advocates – if you engage and delight them, they’ll engage and delight others, too.   Check out some of the tweets from our employees during this year’s Little Give:

In fact, we’re even engaging employees from other offices.  This year, we’ve had the opportunity to host Tais Niero Pinheiro from Edelman Significa in Brazil as an Edelman Global Fellow. Tais is a consultancy and management supervisor specializing in CSR/Sustainability (Social and Environmental Brand Attitude), and she was so impressed with The Little Give that she wants to take it back to her office as a souvenir.

That idea thrills me.  In fact, we’d love to have one of our clients, or any company that’s trying to figure out their CSR strategy, do the same.  We’ve already done the legwork – and would love to share our plans, templates, and learnings with others.

So here’s the offer: contact me and we can chat about how you can take this entirely scalable idea and adapt it to your company and your culture.

Check out The Little Give 2012 Video Highlights!

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