It seems wholly appropriate that I launch this blog on CSR after the week where Electric Ireland launched their “Powering Kindness Week”. Now in its second year, “Powering Kindness Week” is Electric Ireland’s partnership with three Irish charities: Special Olympics Ireland, Breakthrough Cancer Research and Childline ISPCC.
The initiative involves encouraging members of the public to perform a ‘random act of kindness’ for someone. They can then go to one of Electric Ireland’s online platforms, such as their homepage ‘Deed Feed’, log their good deed, and assign it to one of the three charities. Such acts of kindness might merely be making a cup of tea for a neighbour or work colleague, helping an elderly person across the road, or writing a note or email to a friend you might have lost touch with.
Members of the public are not required to make a monetary donation but, at the end of “Powering Kindness Week”, Electric Ireland award €130,000 to the three charities on the basis of which of them has received the most pledges. Electric Ireland has a strong pedigree in the area of CSR and in communicating those CSR activities across social media. Under their previous guise, ESB, they ran the “Tweet ‘Em Home for Christmas” initiative, in which teams of Irish celebrities competed to win money for their respective charities.
The Social Media Strategy of “Powering Kindness”
Electric Ireland have supported their “Powering Kindness” initiative with a major national TV, Radio, Outdoor, Press & PR campaign, but they have seamlessly integrated this above-the-line approach with their social media platforms. You can see how the “Powering Kindness” campaign is fully integrated across twitter (through their #poweringkindness hashtag), the campaign homepage (poweringkindness.ie), their facebook app, instagram and pinterest – something that not every company succeeds in doing with their CSR efforts.
What makes this a particularly effective CSR initiative is that it doesn’t just rely on a top-down corporate approach, but it is mainly based on user-generated content. And, as doers of good deeds could then pass the deeds onto friends, family and other members of their social network, the “Powering Kindness” campaign also has an element of ‘virality’ built into it.
“Powering Kindness” is one of the most slickly executed CSR initiatives I’ve seen from an Irish company. The only possible quibble I’d have with it is that a Powering Kindness Week has, by its very definition, only a limited timeframe. But, given the huge media attention that Electric Ireland has received during the course of the week, I would be confident that we will see “Powering Kindness Week” return again in 2014.