A bank’s giving program can benefit from technology

As financial institutions create programs to pursue social and community goals, they need the ability to measure a program’s impact.

Over the past year and a half, businesses and consumers alike have doubled down on their efforts to give back, whether it be through addressing the root causes of social unrest, supporting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, or focusing more on the needs of under-resourced communities.

The pandemic has brought even more attention to some of these challenges, and the business sector continues to work toward solutions. But without technology to support giving ecosystems and corporate social responsibility (CSR), it would be difficult to track and measure the effectiveness of these corporate programs.

This is especially true for the banking sector. In addition to CSR, financial institutions need to serve local communities through the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which encourages banks to meet the credit needs of the communities in which they do business. However, without a proper CSR solution in place, it can be difficult to find and measure successes for these efforts.

Sign up for the free BAI Banking Strategies newsletter and get industry insights delivered to your inbox.

By clicking the Subscribe button, you acknowledge that you have read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and agree to be bound by them.

CSR is a relatively prominent subject, but the technology that works behind the scenes to support CSR is less well-known. This technology allows organizations to streamline their initiatives in giving back by making the act of giving more efficient and, more importantly, providing the ability to analyze the impact of that giving. It allows companies to laser-focus on their philanthropic efforts by driving funds and resources toward causes that most closely resonate with the organization and their employees in a tailored and scalable way.

This applies to almost any industry that engages in CSR, but when also taking CRA into account, banks may be better positioned to be helped by this technology.

Putting a program in place to accomplish CRA goals isn’t challenging, but banks also need to be able to measure the impact of those efforts and develop accurate data to share with regulators. An agile software platform can help track and report their CSR initiatives in the areas of grantmaking, employee giving and employee volunteering. Think of it as a built-in mechanism for local banks to capture CRA service credits that might otherwise have been overlooked.

Taking the positive change driven by individual CRA programs, in conjunction with CSR being driven by corporate and employee giving, can be helpful to a bank from a reporting perspective, and it can also act as a positive form of brand recognition. Many consumers are more inclined to engage with companies with robust CSR programs, and these organizations are even more positively recognized when the programs align with what customers care about.

As with their employees, banks should listen to their customers and support causes important to them. Increasing brand loyalty is one benefit, but bringing in people outside the organization that share the same mission to do good things in the world is even more valuable.

Regardless of the causes to which an organization contributes funds, it’s more important than ever to have solutions in place to ensure funds are being distributed correctly and in a manner that is measurable. Robust data from CSR programs can educate leadership on how to continue finding success in their giving initiatives, providing the agility to make decisions to maximize impact.

And as more businesses look to refine their giving programs by integrating CSR solutions, we’ll see positive change take place on an even larger scale.

Mark Layden is CEO at CyberGrants.