Engaging IBMers Passionate About Social Impact – The Story of IBM Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Community


Bettermode's automated reputation system, robust content organization features, and balanced communication capabilities helped us drive engagement with a personalized approach.

Marlee Margolin
CSR Activation Manager, IBM
Marlee Margolin

Story snapshot

An overview of how the IBM team used features such as Spaces, Collections, SSO, and Leaderboard to build a private community.



IBM’s CSR Influencers network was founded in 2020 and is a representation of 43 countries with close to 1800 members.

Community Goals

Bring together the most engaged IBMers interested in social impact, across all of the company’s CSR programs. Empower the community members to discover additional programs for contribution.


Create a purpose-built community space powered by Bettermode to drive personalized communication for different initiatives. Allow IBMers to easily log in to the private community using their existing IBM.org profile.


In under a year from the date of launch, the IBM CSR Influencers community has grown to a community of 1800 members. Improved participation in various social initiatives and collaboration between IBMers based on shared passions.

IBM employees (IBMers) have a rich history of volunteering. The company’s culture of giving continues to attract and inspire employees dedicated to improving the lives of others.

As the company reinvents itself in the era of AI and hybrid cloud, IBM continues to broaden the ways technology is used to drive social impact. IBM empowers both new and long-standing members by offering resources to make a lasting impact on society.

Partial view of the IBM community

The primary goal of IBM’s social impact initiatives is to help the world work better. This is achieved through several programs such as IBM Volunteers, SkillsBuild, P-TECH, and IBM Service Corps.

IBMers play a key role in IBM CSR by utilizing their skills and applying innovation to solve problems in their communities and make an impact on causes they are passionate about.

In 2020, IBM launched the CSR Influencer Network to connect employees passionate about social impact. This online community would serve as a secure space for CSR Influencers to discover new initiatives as well as lead their teammates and colleagues in making a positive impact.

Another key aspect of this initiative is to encourage IBMers interested in joining CSR initiatives via peer-to-peer sponsorship. Check out the following video to get an understanding of the CSR Influencer Network.

Coming to the implementation of various built-in community features and functionalities, given below are the highlights:

  • The community makes use of Bettermode's SSO solution to enable members to log in to the community via their existing profiles on IBM.org.
  • Topics are used to categorize content and structure the community. This helps in encouraging conversation around a particular topic on an ongoing basis.
  • Groups are used to build sub-communities to bring together members based on their skills, interests, and locations for close collaboration as well as personalized communication.
  • The Reputation app is used to score community contributions and motivate community members via a leaderboard system.
  • The automated and built-in Virtual Currency app is used to provide tangible rewards to the members. For example, rewards in the form of donations to a non-profit, IBM merchandise, and blue points (IBM’s internal point system).
  • Various post types enable employees to share their stories, ask questions, provide answers, and discuss.
  • The community team highlights various content, creates posts, and uploads videos to drive communication. This creates a great balance between the community team and the members when it comes to information-sharing.
  • Slack integration is used to keep the community members and internal team updated with important community activities via notifications.

The community also serves as a great place to bring in experts and CSR leaders from various teams to give presentations on different topics and drive engagement.

Check out the following video of Marlee Margolin, CSR Employee Activation Manager at IBM in conversation with Eli Najafi, Enterprise Customer Success Manager at Bettermode, to learn more about the story behind the community.

The community does a great job of encouraging participation, motivating others, and celebrating the success stories of the IBMers.

IBM’s consistent effort to meaningfully connect employees, facilitate learning and collaboration is a model for any organization looking to improve internal employee engagement.


Related stories

Discover how businesses like yours use Bettermode to streamline their customer experience