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Improving wellbeing through shared value

If we change the mindset of corporate philanthropy to one of Creating Shared Value (CSV), and not focus solely on the profit margin, we will ensure benefits for both the For Purpose and the For Profit sectors.

The term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was initially coined in 1953 and is widely perceived as a cost center, rather than a profit center. There is no doubt that it enabled many opportunities for partnerships for mutual benefit.

By way of contrast, Mark Kramer, a leading researcher and consultant on strategies for social impact, states:

“Creating Shared Value (CSV) is about new business opportunities that create new markets, improve profitability and strengthen competitive positioning. CSR is about responsibility;

CSV is about creating value”.

The traditional model of philanthropic giving

This is either a monetary donation or perhaps creating opportunities for staff to participate in volunteer days (sometimes as a ‘tick the box’ gesture so that companies are seen to be contributing to community).

We are now realising that by limiting our involvement we are actually missing out on an important aspect of staff health and wellbeing, which we now know has a direct impact on staff engagement and retention.

When an organisation changes the way it views its relationship with it’s For Purpose partners, and creates opportunities for employees to develop deeper connections and embed ‘shared value’ into their culture and DNA, the bottom lines of both parties thrive.

Companies who choose to tackle a social problem, find a partner whose values fit with the values of that company, and embrace ‘shared value’ by drawing on their creative and innovative strengths, are able to benefit society and the local community in significant ways. The impact however of creating this ‘shared value’ goes even deeper as it begins to permeate the heart and soul of the people within those organisations.

Creating Shared Value

  • Increases our impact in communities

  • Increases morale and engagement within a workforce

  • Improves retention and increases productivity

  • Increases brand awareness and customer loyalty

  • Improves the community in which we live and work

“If we engineer shared experiences, which is a fundamental role of business leaders,

partners and parents, we are likely to build more successful relationships.”

When these experiences contribute to creating a closer bond between an organisation and the For Purpose sector, they also increase the productivity of staff and foster better working relationships.

When staff enjoy shared experiences and feel good about themselves for giving back, their neurochemistry reacts by increasing the ‘feel good’ hormones running through their bodies–literally carrying these benefits into all aspects of their life. Ask anyone who volunteers­, they will tell you they gain so much more than they give!

Simon Sinek, motivational speaker and organisational consultant, talks about one of the characteristics of being human as being the need to feel part of a group. He talks about how shared experiences meet a personal need and relates this to why people and companies are successful.

So what is our challenge?

Our challenge is to create meaningful opportunities for staff and teams to become involved and connect with, and be inspired by, the impact of their For Purpose partners. The benefits to one’s overall health and wellbeing through being actively connected, giving back and being involved in community engagement are well documented.

Turning your organisation’s ‘doing good’ into ‘good for business’

What are the opportunities for 'shared value' in your workplace that arise form the needs of society?

Here's one idea. You might want to join Bicycle for Humanity’s Melbourne to Namibia Challenge if you are looking to:

  • engage your employees

  • begin to create connection to communities locally and abroad

  • change a life through the gift of a bicycle

  • get fit and have fun!


As co-founder and President of Bicycle for Humanity, Melbourne–a 100% volunteer run For Purpose organisation–I am a true believer in the health and wellbeing benefits of volunteers and am passionate about the impact of recycling bicycles from Melbourne to Africa.

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