CSR Strategies for a Sustainable and Impactful Program

This post is part one of a three-part series entitled Workplace Giving… Simplified. Check out the other posts in this series:

Evaluation Tools to Measure your CSR Impact

Activation Tactics to Light the Fire of Giving within your Employees

When you hear the phrase Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), you may think big budgets, large national campaigns, and global days of volunteering. However, CSR doesn’t have to be complicated! You can have just as much of an impact (if not more!) as a small to midsize business or as a large company with a simplified program.

Good Done Great hosted a webinar series designed for companies just starting out on their CSR journey. If you would like to watch this series click here. Read below for a recap of our first webinar in this series hosted by our Managing Director of CSR Strategy, Steve Greenhalgh. 

When you are just beginning your social responsibility program, it’s important to keep in mind the definition of CSR:

Corporate Social Responsibility is a continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.

What’s important to recognize in this definition is the word continuing. CSR is not a one-time event or donation. It is a triple bottom line commitment to people (the workforce, families of the workforce, and the general public), planet, and profits.

Why is CSR important?

1) It’s good for the company.

CSR positions the company as a valued, caring player and builds stakeholder engagement. Furthermore, it enhances employee recruitment and retention by fostering a positive work environment.

2) Employees want it, and there’s research to prove it.

According to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Survey, 58% of employees consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. Furthermore, 55% would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary was less.

3) It’s the right thing to do.

Businesses consist of skilled individuals, and their market-driven approach to delivering products and services provides the ultimate recipe for social responsibility success. Why wouldn’t these entities use their talents and resources for good?

After defining CSR and the research to support CSR programs, Steve went on to explain the differences between large and small companies’ CSR efforts. Although there are differences (smaller budgets and fewer staff), the motivations for the programs are the same.

Let’s compare the components of a CSR program for large companies versus small companies:

Differences between Large and Small CompaniesWhereas payroll contributions and matching gift programs dominate the CSR programs at large companies, volunteer opportunities are the foundation of employee engagement programs at small companies. Steve’s advice is start with volunteerism and once your employees are engaged, the dollars will follow. ‘Thons’ such as walk-a-thons offer the perfect foray into CSR combining volunteerism, fundraising, and health and wellness.

If you are ready to embark on your CSR journey, here are six small ways to get started:

1) Start with the basics.

Volunteerism, walk-a-thons, and simple giving campaigns are the perfect way to test the CSR waters at your company.

2) Develop volunteer opportunities.

Conduct a day of service such as a hands-on Habitat build or environmental cleanup with Keep America Beautiful. This day of service may extend into two or three projects throughout the year.

Offer both company-sponsored volunteer projects, and encourage your employees to join their colleagues in individual volunteer projects. Employees can even suggest volunteer projects that you can approve.

Form community engagement teams which allow your employees to act as volunteer coordinators and increase their engagement with your CSR programs.

3) Invest in the community through financial grants and product donations.

Your employees want to know that their company is equally as committed to social responsibility. Distribute grants to nonprofits in your community and provide in-kind donations. They don’t have to have a high amount – only high impact!

4) Conduct giving programs built around causes or themes.

Cater your giving programs to your workforce. Determine which causes or themes are most important to your employees, and conduct small fundraisers.

5) Start a recycling program and encourage other environmentally friendly initiatives.

An inexpensive way to show that you care is to start a recycling program at your office. Furthermore, encourage your employees to turn off the lights. Post reminders throughout your office.

6) Get leadership involved in the community.

Through nonprofit board participation, the senior members of your team will contribute their knowledge to worthy organizations while boosting your brand and demonstrating to your employees that you care.

More than 90% of global consumers will move to brands associated with a good cause. In order to attract and retain both customers and employees, it is paramount for businesses to have a CSR program.

With these tips in mind, you can easily jumpstart your company to CSR success!

If you want to watch this webinar in its entirety, please click here.