Many businesses in today’s economic environment are focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a way to align with changing consumer preferences. Some businesses, like big manufacturers, focus on environmental sustainability since it impacts how they operate, and the effects they have on the outside environment. Others focus on supporting local nonprofits, students, schools, etc. or they practice internal CSR like recycling or using environmentally friendly products.
CSR is like art, it can be interpreted and implemented in a variety of ways and is completely different to each person looking at it. CSR strategies vary greatly between different types of companies. Here are some of our top tips that will help you be successful with your CSR strategy, no matter what it looks like.
Be Effective When Giving Back
As a business, small or large, it’s important to practice social responsibility on an ongoing basis. It is not enough to make a one-time donation or to volunteer for one day only. You need to be committed to a cause that you can support for a long period of time, which is why it is highly important to choose a cause or nonprofit that aligns with the company’s brand and overall mission. You should also ensure that the cause or nonprofit is something your employees are happy to support. Tim McClimon, the President of the American Express Foundation and Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility at the American Express Company predicted that in 2017, “the more engaged [employees] are in the company’s mission and values, the better off the company and the communities where they live and work.” Employees can become true advocates for the brands they represent when they know they are having positive impacts on their community and the world.
Get Positive Media Coverage of Your CSR Activities
Having a CSR strategy is a great way to get positive media coverage of your business. When a company shows continuous support of nonprofits or causes that align with their brand and company values, media is enticed to pick up the story since it shows ongoing examples of being socially responsible, not just one-time occurrences. The media coverage should not be self-serving in a way that focuses solely on what your company has done, unless of course you’ve made internal changes that positively affect the community and environment around you. Instead, the media coverage should focus on the partnership you have with the cause or nonprofit and the impact your business has had through the relationship. For example, one of our clients has received coverage of the ongoing partnership they have with the nonprofit they’ve supported for over four years. It’s an organization that aligns with the core values they have that focus on education, a desire to improve, and having each other’s back.
The company has donated to the nonprofit each year since the start of the partnership, helping the organization build two schools in foreign countries (and sending a group of employees to participate in the build) and supporting a U.S. high school service program for underserved students.
Nowadays, consumers and media are interested in seeing businesses doing more than simply raking in money. They want to see that you, your company, your employees, and your partners are part of a bigger effort to give back to underserved causes. It gives your company a leg up to the competition, helps motivate employees and shows that the company is passionate about doing more good rather than focusing solely on success and profits.
How does your business practice corporate social responsibility? Let us know in the comments below.