Matthew Barnes, partner at ASG Advisors, is a social entrepreneur who spends his time helping other entrepreneurs and business leaders add purpose to their profits. ASG Advisors is a consulting firm that helps companies implement effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
We’ll be talking to Matthew live so you can learn much more, but in advance of our live interview he provided four themes that guide his work and that will be the subject of our discussion.
Theme 1: Intentionality – corporate community engagement efforts have moved away from the passive, transactional nature of the past to a fuller engagement with community actors to partner on things that can have a real impact. Deeper thought and research inform this approach.
Theme 2: Ownership – this theme is related to the the first. It used to be the case that corporate foundations responded either favorably or disfavorably. They had minimal stake or “ownership” of any outcomes from the work. Nowadays, more and more corporations are working hand-in-hand with NGOs and other partners to develop solutions that are informed by research and best practice. In this way, both have a stake in the outcome.
Theme 3: Accountability. Again, this is an extension of the previous themes. More and more corporate actors are holding themselves to account by designing programs that intentionally seek certain outcomes and measuring whether in fact they’ve achieved it or not and, just as importantly, what they learned from the process. CSR departments are dedicating budget to impact assessments, and are looking beyond mere “outputs” (e.g. number of participants) to outcomes (changes in peoples circumstance, station).
Theme 4: Recruitment & Retention. CSR is increasingly a recruitment and retention consideration for companies. Recruits are determined to work for companies that have a social mission in addition to or as part of their enterprise goals. In fact, there is research showing that recent colleague or grad school graduates would take a smaller salary than they would otherwise if it was with a socially responsible company. A related trend is the quality of people and the sophistication of CSR/philanthropic operations has dramatically increased. We work with some truly gifted professionals in our work.
On Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Matthew will join me for a live discussion about how firms can implement effective CSR programs. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about ASG Advisors:
ASG serves as management consultants to the social sector, providing deep dive strategic planning, program design, impact evaluation and communications support to companies and NGOs.
Matthew Barnes is a co-founder and partner at ASG Advisors, a strategic philanthropy and CSR boutique. Matthew leads strategic planning and oversees impact assessments for ASG client engagements. Well-versed in best practices around philanthropy and executive positioning, and a proven dot-connecter, Matthew’s counsel is holistic and highly attuned to client needs. He has lead engagements for Fortune 500 companies and international NGOs. His comments and analysis on strategic philanthropy and executive positioning have appeared in the New York Times, Forbes, Campaign & Elections, Philanthropie Aktuel (Switzerland) and Radar. Matthew studied African-American Studies and Politics at Purdue University, and earned his masters in sustainable development at the University of Cambridge (UK), where his dissertation focused on the role of the extractive industry in driving social development in conflict contexts.