Home | 3 Tips in 3 Minutes: Innovative Global CSR Strategies

3 Tips in 3 Minutes: Innovative Global CSR Strategies


I’m Brian Kurth from Revere Skills-based Volunteering Software. Welcome to 3 Tips in 3 Minutes for CSR professionals. With me here today is the phenomenal Ingrid Embree, the Managing Director of GlobalGiving in the U.S. Welcome, Ingrid.

Thanks so much, Brian. We’re huge fans of Revere—you’ve built an amazing product.

Thank you! We’re big fans of GlobalGiving. Can you tell our audience a little about what you do? 

GlobalGiving makes it possible for you, as an individual or as a company, to give to more than 170 vetted nonprofits around the world. Our mission is to get more funds to community-led organizations worldwide.

I love it. Alright, Ingrid. What are your 3 Tips for CSR leaders?

Since I’m from GlobalGiving, where we work with hundreds of companies investing in communities worldwide, I decided to make my three tips specific to working globally.

First, listen to your employees.

This will help avoid making plans that don’t fit local conditions. We’ve all heard stories about the CEO saying that she wants the same college scholarship program in all markets, which confuses staff in places where the government provides higher education. Or how about the marketing exec who wants to do a global back-to-school effort in September? He doesn’t realize that not all hemispheres run on the same school calendar.

Working with nonprofits all over the world also brings up legal compliance issues. That means you’ll want to vet the organizations you are working with. You can involve your employees in that process. They can help their favorite nonprofits through the vetting process—and count that assistance as volunteering hours. This is a great type of capacity building because then those organizations can be ready to receive grants from other funders.

Second, listen to your community partners.

This tip applies to everyone, including those in the U.S. Don’t try to force your specific program on the community you are beginning to serve. We had one company where the engineers wanted to promote STEM education to all nonprofits they work with. But immediate health hazards precluded even basic education in the newest community they were entering. They needed to help the community improve its health before they could talk about STEM.

As my colleague in London, Zdravka, points out, the dynamic should be reciprocal for skills volunteering to work. It is a skills exchange, meaning both sides get something in return. It shouldn’t be one-sided top-down. Your employees are learning essential insights from the community partners.

Absolutely. I have to shout yes to that one. It’s music to my ears.

Finally, thank your employees and community partners for their valuable time. 

Empower employees to give grants to community partners where they volunteer, whether small grants or charitable gift card redemptions. Shameless plug for GlobalGiving gift cards!

Why is giving cash, not stuff, important? Because it stimulates the local economy. Those community organizations use local labor and local supplies to do their work. Give them the leeway to make or use products appropriate for their market.

Of course, there’s much more to say, but I’m out of my three minutes. Hopefully, these three lessons will help establish an effective framework for your work. People should feel free to reach out with any questions.

And where should people contact you?

My email is Ingrid@globalgiving.org or partnerships@globalgiving.org, or connect with me on LinkedIn. 

Ingrid, it’s always great to see you; thank you so much for your 3 Tips in 3 Minutes. 

Ingrid Embree, Managing Director at GlobalGiving

Ingrid says she has the best job in the world, at the intersection of corporate strategy, digital technology, and doing good all over the world.

At GlobalGiving, she helps companies and other organizations invest in their communities, engage their employees, and leverage their brands. Ingrid’s superpower (and great joy) is amplifying people’s good qualities.

Ingrid is the child of refugee immigrants from Latvia, and has special empathy for people seeking to build a better life in challenging circumstances.

Connect with Ingrid on LinkedIn.