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Peer insights are crucial for ESG, social impact, and sustainability leaders looking to improve their performance and stay ahead of the curve across industries. These leaders can engage with peer communities for valuable insights and knowledge-sharing opportunities to help make better-informed decisions, develop new skills, and keep up with industry trends.

We delve into why peer insights are essential for ESG and CSR leaders and provide tips on how you can sell a membership for peer communities to your executives.

Why peer insights matter for ESG and CSR leaders

As an ESG and CSR leader at a billion-dollar company, it is easy to become isolated from the day-to-day operations of your organization. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, it is essential to stay connected with all levels of your company and your peers to gain insights into ongoing challenges, emerging trends, and best practices to manage corporate giving and sustainability initiatives.

Peer communities offer a unique platform for ESG, social impact, and sustainability leaders to engage with other professionals, share experiences and best practices, and collaborate on solutions to common challenges such as incorporating ESG into financial reporting, measuring social impact, choosing the right software for your program, and more.

Here are some ways peer insights can help you in your career:

  1. Access to industry knowledge: Peer communities provide you with access to industry knowledge that can help you stay informed about emerging trends like scaling your community programs, aligning your philanthropy and volunteerism programs, and preparing for the SEC’s new climate change disclosure rules. This knowledge can help leaders make better-informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.
  2. Networking opportunities: Build and maintain relationships with peers in your field. These relationships can provide opportunities for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and career development.
  3. Learning and development: Gain access to learning and development opportunities that can help you develop new skills and improve your performance. These opportunities can include leadership discussions, benchmarking strategies, real-time support for critical business decisions, and more.
  4. Problem solving: Peer communities provide a forum for ESG, social impact, and sustainability leaders to collaborate on solutions to crises and common challenges. Gain critical information from your peers to gain new perspectives and insights into your organization’s ESG and corporate philanthropy efforts.
  5. Support and encouragement: Gain a supportive environment where you can share experiences, seek advice, and receive encouragement from your peers. This support can be invaluable for ESG and CSR leaders facing difficult decisions or navigating complex situations.

Selling a membership for peer communities to executives

While peer communities offer a number of benefits for senior leaders, selling a membership to these communities to executives can be challenging. has managed over 1,000 memberships from billion-dollar companies, and many initially expressed how there was no budget for a membership.

Here are some tips on selling a peer community membership to your executives:

  1. Identify key benefits: It’s essential to highlight the key benefits that you will gain, like access to industry knowledge, benchmarking, networking opportunities, learning and development, problem-solving, and support for your strategies.
  2. Emphasize ROI: Executives are often focused on the bottom line. It’s essential to emphasize the ROI you can expect. This might include increased productivity, improved decision-making, enhanced competitiveness, searchable databases, leadership discussions led by expert advisors, and more.
  3. Share success stories: Executives are often more convinced by evidence than by theory. It’s important to share success stories from other senior ESG and CSR leaders who have benefited from similar memberships. These stories can help executives see the potential value of the investment.
  4. Highlight the competitive advantage: Executives are often focused on maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Emphasize how membership can help you stay ahead of the competition. This might include access to new strategies, technologies, insights into emerging trends, and collaboration with other ESG and corporate social responsibility leaders.

Getting budget approval for membership communities and peer insights

We’ve helped hundreds of ESG and CSR leaders get budget approval for membership communities. Here are some of the most common budget sources you can use to gain access to more leadership insights.

  1. Multiple departments split membership: Various teams share membership costs.
  2. Travel, training, and professional development: So much of membership aligns with these existing budgets that members use them to join. 
  3. Existing project or vendor/solution budget: Members use their membership to get vendor feedback, advance existing projects, or benchmark their program.
  4. Discretionary executive funds: An executive participant or sponsor uses their discretionary funds to join.
  5. Senior executive invests in the topic: A compelling case for “investing” in the community’s topic convinces an executive for budget approval.

Peer insights provide ESG and CSR leaders with a range of perspectives that can broaden their understanding of different issues related to environmental, social and corporate governance, social impact, and sustainability. Learning from peers who have already implemented successful strategies can help you identify effective solutions and avoid potential pitfalls.

If you lead ESG and CSR at a large organization, you can apply to the ESG & CSR Board to gain actionable insights and benchmark your strategies with your peers weekly to advance your goals.

Interested in learning more about the ESG & CSR Board

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