Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Delta's Force of Global Good

It's easy to be jaded when it comes to CSR. Even after writing a lengthy report on the topic, I found myself poking holes and remaining dismissive about the latest in corporate benevolence.

But I want to give a nod to Delta's new philanthropic efforts, in part because my buddy helped develop the program, and in part because it's a well-thought out program that's getting a very positive response.

So Delta does a good turn and expects me to roll over, look the other way at their emissions and pat them on the back for trying to balance the account with some do-good publicity. Generally, I am not so easily had, but when I talked to Ms. Premkumar and read her diary entries, I realized change can occur from within, one person and one program at a time. So I commend people like her and Ms. Pressley-Brown.

I applaud Delta for raising close to half a million dollars for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through corporate contributions and the sale of "pink" products on flights. I salute them for offering customers who buy a ticket through the chance to donate $5.50 for domestic roundtrip flights and $11 for international roundtrip flights to the Conservation Fund to plant trees throughout the U.S. and abroad. And I respect their efforts to raise consciousness about that old horse of the environmental movement, recycling, by collecting more than 83 tons of materials in just four months since last June.
Key to any successful corporate philanthropic program is that it is integrated throughout the company and that it ties into its business mission and model. Mostly importantly, it must have multiple touchpoints in which company stakeholders can easily and effectively participate. The impact of a well-executed corporate philanthropy program on key stakeholders is significant and can have multiple market-related benefits. Congrats to Delta and my former colleagues for their excellent work.

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