Work is busy, and deadlines are always looming. As the person responsible for your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts (likely not the only hat you wear), the team is looking to you for great ideas to help ensure your brand is giving back to the communities on which it depends. You care deeply about the community impact of your company, but how can you help it evolve in a way that makes sense and gets noticed?
Corporate Social Responsibility (or CSR) has been around a while now. Though each company interprets their responsibilities differently, CSR is a way of describing how companies measure and control their impact on society. It closely resembles the concepts of sustainable development and the “triple bottom line”, evaluating business performance with the three P’s (Profit, People, and Planet) which is the integration of economic, social, and environmental contributions.
Strandberg Consulting reveals there’s been a shift in CSR approaches over the past five years from ad hoc, incremental and transactional approaches, to strategic, social purpose-driven and transformational models. CSR is undergoing a transition from “nice to do” drivers to “essential for business success” motivations. In fact, several companies don’t even use CSR terminology and see it as an out-dated and irrelevant term. So how can you help your company connect and contribute to the world in a unique way that satisfies everyone on your team?
For companies looking to evolve their relationships with their community partners, here are the 5 Key Considerations for enhancing your company’s CSR image:
1. “Why are we doing this?”
CSR can be beneficial to a company by improving its brand image. When customers or clients see your company’s social responsibility in action, they tend to respond positively. Another benefit is higher sustained employee morale.
So your task is two-fold: to make the employees happy and engaged, and to strengthen the company’s brand. Seems like an easy task, but how do you pick from all the options available to do that?
2. “What kind of impact do we want to have?”
Asking yourself this simple question can really help narrow down your CSR options.
Businesses should avoid participating in charitable efforts that are not related to their core business focus or that violate the company’s ethical standards in any way. Instead of blindly sending money to a completely unrelated organization, find a nonprofit that your company believes in or a project in your community.
But finding the right fit can also require input from your key stakeholders.
3. “What would the team want?”
A 2018 survey from Randstad found that 77% of Canadians only want to work for an organization with a strong CSR program. So having a CSR mandate is important, but so is engaging your employees to help them feel like they have a voice.
Send out a survey or have a big team meeting where CSR is the only item on the agenda. This will give you a chance to learn more about your team and their personal goals and interests. You’ll probably find that many on the team want to support local. With just a bit of connection, the team should be able to narrow down the options considerably.
4. Think about timing.
If you’re considering sustainable activities that aren’t legally required yet, don’t wait. By adopting socially responsible norms early on, you set the bar for your industry and refine your process.
Otherwise, it’s never too soon to start seeing what works for your company. You don’t have to look too far to find great tactics for meeting your CSR mandate which will be able to accommodate your timing needs in addition to offering a wide variety of solutions.
5. Plan to celebrate, plan to report.
It’s important to be vocal. Let your consumers know what you are doing to be socially conscious. Jen Boynton, CEO of B Targeted Marketing Co. says consumers deserve to share in the good feelings associated with doing the right thing, and many surveys have found that consumers are inclined to purchase a sustainable product over a conventional alternative. Announcing these benefits is a win-win from both a commercial and sustainability perspective.
Equally as important is celebrating with your team. Acknowledge the good work done by your company and your team and discuss what worked and what didn’t. Taking time to celebrate will give you even more opportunities for learning how to tailor your CSR strategy moving forward.
In the new age of CSR it can be hard to decide which tactics will fit your company best. At GiveShop we have a wide range of flexible options that resonate with most employees and consumers. To help your company connect and contribute to the world in a unique way that satisfies everyone, discuss opportunities with a GiveShop Rep today.
GiveShop (www.giveshop.ca) is an online marketplace where individuals, community groups and businesses can come together to donate and buy merchandise with proceeds supporting important charitable causes from coast to coast. GiveShop’s mission is to create more opportunities for charitable giving in our communities by giving new life to end of line merchandise, product samples, product returns and gently used goods.