Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an incredible asset for any business: It can help attract new talent, boost employee engagement, build a positive brand, and so on. But despite its many advantages, deciding on what causes to support and what initiatives to participate in can be a challenge. Here is a list of tips that can help companies identify a strong CSR path and develop efforts in support of those goals.
What does your industry need?
Many companies choose to help improve some aspect of the industry in which they do business. Microsoft, for example, donates a generous amount of time and human capital to coding camps and advocacy for improved science curricula for schools. Levi’s Jeans works with all parts of its product’s life cycle to ensure sustainability, from helping cotton farmers in India to ensuring that old jeans are disposed of responsibly. Panera Bread has removed all artificial dyes and preservatives from its foods and donates its clean foods to the homeless. If you can pinpoint an area within your industry that could use some work, focus your CSR efforts towards improving it. From improving access to education to improving environmental sustainability, your company can use its CSR to make a difference in your niche.
What does your local community need?
No business exists in a vacuum; rather, businesses inhabit a community along with other large corporations, small businesses, regular citizens, activists, people in need, and all the standard and non-standard elements of a vibrant city or town. Your CSR could focus on what your neighbors and local nonprofits need. From local shelters to education initiatives to active transport, find out what your city needs most and become a part of the effort to make it better. Not only will it improve your company’s visibility, it will make your company’s location a better place to live and work.
What’s important to your consumers?
As has been documented time and time again, young consumers are especially sensitive to the morals and ethics of the brands they choose to buy from. Public perception of a company’s moral stance translates into won or lost sales, so it’s important that your present and prospective buyers feel good about the charity your company has chosen. As much as you’re able, listen to your market and follow their lead.
What are your employees passionate about?
CSR is about way more than oversized checks and photo-ops. CSR also includes donating human capital to a cause or a need so that your employees are engaged and invested in the cause your company has chosen to support. Some places even choose to offer some PTO specifically for time spent volunteering.Take the time to poll your office and learn what the employees hold dear and want to support. That way, you’ll have the office’s buy in to make the project sustainable and successful.