LBG Associates

Why You Need to Benchmark Your Corporate Citizenship Program

When you’re caught up in the day to day running of your citizenship program, there’s very little time to catch your breath, step back, and think about the big picture. When you do get the time to strategize, it’s important to look inside and outside the organization when evaluating your strategy.

Looking inside is the relatively easy part. You can talk to management and employees about what is important to them. Looking outside is more difficult, but a very important part of assessing your citizenship strategy.

Benchmarking your citizenship program against your peers and best practices is part of staying competitive in your industry. You’re competing for customers, clients, talent, investors and the best reputation. You want to make sure your citizenship program is just as good as or better than your peers.

General benchmarking data are publicly available and that is indeed helpful. Gathering data on your specific peer group, though, gives you a better window into how your program compares to your peers. Some data you can collect easily from the company’s CSR report, but others are not usually publicly reported.

What Should the Benchmarking Study Cover?

What data should you be collecting? Benchmarking studies can be designed narrowly, to gather a few critical data points, or very wide-ranging. Most commonly, benchmarking studies focus on:

  • Strategy
  • Budget
  • Structure
  • Giving
  • Employee Engagement

How detailed the study is depends on what you most want to know. Since everyone is so busy these days, you have to be thoughtful about how many questions you include in your survey and limit the number of open-ended questions. Believe it or not, benchmarking surveys used to include 50 or more questions! Now, we recommend no more than 25 well-thought-out primarily close-ended questions.

Finally, to get the best response, you need to give your peers a reason to participate. First, assure them that their individual responses will remain confidential. But offer a copy of the survey results with all company-identifying information removed. This is a valuable incentive for other companies to participate—everyone loves free benchmarking information!

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