Build CSR Programs Around Your Company’s Superpower

The secret to modern CSR is leaning into what your company does best—its unique superpower. This superpower isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the essence of your company’s identity, the core strength that sets you apart from the competition and drives your success.

Ideally, your company superpower sits at the heart of your CSR strategy. It should guide you as you choose cause areas, structure programs, and build your overarching CSR strategy. By recognizing and aligning CSR efforts with your company’s inherent strengths, you can craft authentic programs that  resonate with stakeholders and community members.

Form an internal think tank

If you need help zeroing in on your superpower, assemble a diverse team of key stakeholders—from leadership and existing CSR program managers to employees across departments—to collectively identify what truly sets your organization apart. Think about what separates you from your competitors or other companies in your sector. 

Your superpower can be a distinctive capability, characteristic, or approach. It’s that unique element or combination of factors that enables your organization to deliver exceptional value in ways others cannot. Pinpointing your superpower gives you important guardrails for your CSR work, and it’s also useful for the business more generally—creating a stronger point-of-view for sales and recruitment teams. 

For instance, Twilio’s superpower is communication and connection. Its philanthropic arm,, leverages this superpower by supporting nonprofit organizations and amplifying their efforts to drive change. Whether it’s facilitating access to crucial services via text, broadcasting educational content, or sending out emergency alerts, Twilio’s expertise in communication technologies empowers organizations of all kinds to achieve greater impact.

Align CSR programs with your superpower

After pinpointing your organization’s superpower, the next step is to make sure your CSR efforts all align with this overarching theme. The cause areas you focus on and the solutions you build or support should have a clear connection to your superpower.

Consider Lyft, a company whose superpower is unmistakably access to transportation. At its core, Lyft excels in moving people from point A to point B, a simple yet powerful function that drives all their CSR initiatives. With a tagline of “Transportation is a path to new beginnings,” Lyft masterfully aligns its CSR efforts with its mission, leveraging its transportation network to address broader societal issues. A lack of transportation can prevent people from, say, voting, getting to job interviews, or even eating more healthily

For example, in Seattle, Lyft partnered with Mary’s Place, an organization dedicated to preventing child homelessness. While the issues contributing to homelessness are multifaceted—ranging from the lack of affordable housing to inadequate access to childcare—Lyft honed in on the critical barrier of transportation. Available beds for families often go unused due to lack of transportation; Lyft saw this need and mobilized its superpower in a targeted, impactful way by providing free rides to shelters. Instead of venturing outside their expertise to build housing, Lyft focused on eliminating transportation barriers.

Review your existing CSR initiatives to determine how well they ladder up to your identified superpower. If a program doesn’t connect to your superpower, you don’t necessarily need to scrap it. Instead, explore opportunities to tweak, transform, or realign these initiatives in ways that harness your core strengths.

Let employees lead the way

Your company’s superpower can also stem from your employee’s expertise. Their professional roles might give them unique skills or perspectives to offer. And their personal experiences can add invaluable insight. The more you involve employees in the brainstorming and program development phases, the stronger your program will be. is one organization that does employee-led CSR exceptionally well. Not only do employees have the opportunity to donate 1% of their on-the-clock hours to volunteer work, they can also make use of Google’s $10,000 per employee Dollars for Doers program. Or, employees can participate in a fellowship program, which allows them to donate their time to a cause close to their hearts for six months.

As Jen Carter, global head of technology and volunteering at, recalls, Googlers have been extremely passionate about giving back to their communities. Letting them match their personal superpowers to their volunteering and giving projects has led to some incredible outcomes. 

Jen Carter, global head of technology and volunteering at

“We had a Googler who faced homelessness who then was able to work on a project that made it easier for others to access affordable housing,” said Carter. “And an out, trans Googler who had struggled with suicidality as a youth and also just happened to be a natural language processing expert, who then was able to help the Trevor Project, which helps LGBTQ youth in crisis, use AI to determine suicide risk level.”

Skills-based volunteering is extremely effective because it engages employees in what interests them most. Employees want to volunteer; it’s just a matter of finding the right care-abouts to get them involved.

Modern CSR programs require modern solutions

Once you have your programs and superpower aligned, you need the right CSR software to sustain your momentum. This will help you build CSR programs that are impactful, sustainable, and capable of tackling today’s biggest challenges. 

This is where Submittable comes into play. Designed with the modern CSR team in mind, Submittable offers a platform that simplifies the management of CSR programs. Our CSR software makes it easy for CSR managers to build a case for and implement programs that resonate deeply with their company’s superpower.

Hsing Tseng

Hsing is a content marketer and ex-journalist who writes about tech, DEI, and remote work. Beyond the screen, she enjoys building custom mechanical keyboards and playing with her dog. You can find more of her work at