News & Research Listing
Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is generally a term applied to the initiatives taken by a company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing. Benefits include better brand recognition, positive business reputation, increased sales and customer loyalty, better financial performance and the ability to attract and retain better talent.
Many member companies and affiliates within NAA have tremendous social and charitable presence across the country and beyond. Rather than recreating the wheel, the goal of this page is to share some best practices to help others start their own.
Where do I start?
The best place to start is to find a charity that interests you, is aligned with your company, affiliate or town or just tugs at your heartstrings. People are more motivated to get involved and work for something if they have a personal investment.
- If you want to research charities in your area, try using charitynavigator.org. Here you can see charities by geographical area, by category, by size and by rating. You also want to make sure that the project you are considering is consistent with your organization’s mission, vision, values etc.
- Companies may wish to check with the NAA affiliates in the regions where you have offices/properties, to see if there are already established charitable programs or events. Affiliates may want to talk to other affiliates to get ideas on what their charitable efforts are currently.
- It is always important to receive proper approval as needed from leadership.
- A lot of members and affiliates work with charities that provide housing, focus on health issues or benefit children and schools.
While almost all charities and non-profits deserve support, we strongly recommend a few simple guidelines. Stay away from anything politically affiliated, you do not want to isolate a customer base. Do your research on the organization you choose. Search the charity name and the founder’s name online to make sure there are not any surprises. Try to align yourself with organizations that your owners, investors, team members and residents will be proud to say that are affiliated. Bottom line; ask the question if the organization engages in any activities that might be considered controversial by any of your stakeholders?
Once you have selected a charity, it is always a good idea to check them out on Guidestar.org. This website will allow you to view the IRS Form 990. By analyzing the Form 990, you will have the ability to see the size of the charity. Additionally, you will be able to view the percentage of your donation that is directed towards administrative costs versus the intended recipient.
Project or long-term relationship?
Determine if this is going to be a short-term project or long-term relationship with the charity. If short-term, what are the goals of the project? (Ex. Engaging members or team members; generating positive media coverage; fulfilling your organization’s mission statement; etc.)
Identify a project/team leader for each event. Having a specific cheerleader for every event not only lifts the workload, but also adds new enthusiasm to each project. Ensure this leader knows the scope of their authority including communication, budget and time resources.
Volunteers are the foundation for a successful event, fundraiser or campaign. Moreover, finding the right volunteer can be as easy as asking. People like personal invitations to volunteer; these are much more effective than mass emails (although both have their place). Identify strengths and recruit. Focus on the benefits of volunteering; making a difference, using their talents for good, meeting others, helping others, working for a cause they believe in etc. Provide varying levels of engagement, some volunteers are ready to jump in with both feet while others want minimal involvement. Once you recruit your volunteers, retain them! Make volunteering fun, rewarding and engaging. Something they not only want to come back to, but something they want to bring others to.
Everyone’s time is valuable. Once the volunteers have contributed their time and the event has concluded, it is important to properly thank everyone for their time and recap the event. Let them know how much money was raised, how many hours were donated, how many items were contributed etc. Basically, what was your impact on the charity.
Okay, I have a charity and I have volunteers, now what?
There are so many wonderful ways to volunteer with charities or to raise funds or other donations. We thought this would be a good space to share success stories from members and affiliates to help educate and motivate you!
Sharing Your Efforts
You’ve got your volunteers, you’re at the event and now you want to let people know that you are making a difference in your community. There are a couple of ways to share your experiences with residents and the community at-large. The first, and easiest, is to document your event on social media. Everyone with a phone has a camera, which means you can take candid shots and gather all the volunteers together for a group shot. These photos can be shared through social media channels, and you can even ask the group if they mind you tagging their accounts to broaden your reach. One thing to note is that many organizations, especially those that work with children, may have strict rules about taking pictures. Make sure that you check with the organization you’re working with before you begin taking and sharing pictures. Encourage your volunteers to participate in social media as well.
The second method is to let your local media know. NAA affiliates and member companies around the country have large events that benefit a variety of causes. Inviting the media to come see, or even participate, what your group is doing to better the community is one way to promote the cause you’ve chosen. Again, make sure you coordinate efforts with the organization you’re working with. They may be able to offer a spokesperson or even work with you on a joint press release.
Promoting your work is a great way to connect with your members, residents or employees, especially Millennials who are more engaged with organizations that have a CSR initiative.
If you have a large donation, monetary or in-kind, and your donor wishes to remain anonymous, make sure you respect their wishes. When promoting the donation, you can say that the organization received a generous donation from someone who would like to remain anonymous.
Use #NAAGIVES when sharing your efforts on social media.
Dayton, Ohio, was struck by a tornado outbreak in late May. The National Weather Service confirmed that 13 tornadoes hit the area. It had a devastating effect on the community with 360 homes, apartments and commercial buildings sustaining heavy damage.
NAA donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross to help the community recover from this unprecedented tornado outbreak.
Attendees at NAA’s CampusConnex in February put together 400 kits for Hatching Hope.
Hatching Hope provides relief kits for residents that have been displaced by a fire or other disaster. The effort by NAA G.I.V.E.S., the association’s charitable giving committee, and sponsored by the National Suppliers Council and NextGen, exceeded its goal of assembling 200 pet kits and baby back packs. The effort will continue at Apartmentalize in June.
On January 11, to commemorate National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Phillips Management Group (PMG) employees and residents joined together in a participatory sidewalk art installation called the Red Sand Project to raise awareness about the 40.3 million people trapped in modern-day slavery today.
As part of the Red Sand Project, employees and residents at PMG’s 30 offices and properties will fill sidewalk cracks with red sand as part of a participatory artwork installation. The sand represents people in our communities who have fallen through the cracks and are trapped in modern-day slavery or other forms of exploitation.
The Red Sand Project at 1400 Battleground Ave. had a great turnout with three women from SJL Properties and two guest speakers Sergeant Dale Nix of the Greensboro Police Dept. Family Victim’s Unit and Sonya Desai of the Family Justice Center.
Peabody Properties’ Pleasant Street Apartments was the site of an iPods for Veterans event to support the organization that has given thousands of electronics and gifts to badly injured members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now recovering in military hospitals. Pleasant Street residents have served in various U.S. military conflicts and are formerly homeless veterans or veterans at risk of being homeless. All residents received new Bose headphones, as well as raffle prizes of branches of service hats, new wireless speakers, and earbuds. The Danvers Pop Warner 4th Grade Football Team raised funds to cover the expenses of the headphones.
National moving company, College H.U.N.K.S Hauling Junk, one of the first companies to appear on ABC's “Shark Tank,” and its sister company, Trash Butler Valet Trash Removal, is partnering with Feeding Children Everywhere for an impactful One-For-One Giving Program.
Trash Butler is giving one meal per door in the apartment community’s name that uses Trash Butler services. Trash Butler Co-Founder and President Nick Friedman says about this new partnership, "As a socially conscious, values-based and purpose-driven organization, we were looking for a very noble cause that resonates with our franchise owners, team members, and clients to align with our brand as our official charitable partner. Our company purpose is to Move The World and one of our Core Values is Building Leaders, so this gives us an opportunity to live our purpose by helping end child hunger, and to help fuel tomorrow's leaders today.”
An enthusiastic team of seven volunteers from real estate and property management firm Peabody Properties recently braved freezing temperatures to help construct a two-family South Shore Habitat for Humanity home in Duxbury, Mass.
The Peabody Properties “build team” participating in the Jan. 25 construction day was comprised of all skill levels – from beginners to maintenance professionals, all working side-by-side to work on a structure that will soon be home to two local families. Some swung hammers for the first time, others tended to more complicated tasks, with all taking great pride in their achievement at the end of the long, cold day.
“This was a truly rewarding experience for our team members,” said Melissa Fish-Crane, COO, Peabody Properties. “Challenging, yes, but so very meaningful; the entire Peabody Properties family is proud of their heartfelt efforts – not only for the work they accomplished but also for their genuine desire to help others.”
Over the course of one week, NAA staff donated enough items to fill six laundry baskets full of necessities for local families in need and dropped the items off at Doorways for Women and Families, which is an organization that creates pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault leading to safe, stable and empowered lives.
Behr Paint Company recently donated $100,000 to six Orange County California non-profits. Behr is based in Santa Ana, CA.
- Goodwill Orange County
- The LGBT Center OC
- Morehouse School of Medicine (based in Atlanta, Ga., where The Home Depot—the exclusive retail partner of BEHR Paint—is headquartered)
- Taller San Jose Builders
- The Teen Space
- Working Wardrobes
WRH Realty partnered with Steve Hughes, a disabled veteran, who rode from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida to raise money for veterans with PTSD and Air Force widows. While WRH waited for Hughes to arrive it continued to pay it forward by assembling 20 bicycles for the local Boys and Girls Club. Money raised by Hughes is going to the Travis Mills Foundation, which has a facility in Maine where vets can recuperate at no cost, and an Air Force village that houses retired Air Force widows.