If you don’t already have a CSR strategy, now is the time to get started.
In today’s business climate, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is all around us.
From corporate giants to small business owners, business leaders understand that by aligning their brand with causes and investing in the communities in which we live, work, learn and play, they are making an impact that directly reflects their Company’s values. Now more than ever, assuming comparable quality and price, of course, consumers are likely to switch brands to one connected to a worthy cause.
When it comes to corporate social responsibility, there is no magical one-size-fits-all process.
In my experience, a successful partnership between a business and non-profit organization (NPO) or community partner happens when the Company’s culture and business objectives align with the charity partner’s mission. Whether sponsoring a 5K to benefit a children’s hospital, hosting a recycling drive to support green initiatives, donating scholarships for students who can’t afford post-secondary education, or hosting an awareness and fundraising event to promote neurodiversity, it all qualifies as Corporate Social Responsibility.
After working in the non-profit sector for many years, in 2013, I founded CauseMo Marketing, a boutique communications firm that helps cause consumer movement in key markets and across the country. We influence the consumer through corporate social responsibility programs and campaigns, publicity, social marketing, and experiential events to raise the overall awareness of your brand and grow your Company’s ROI.
My passion and commitment to CSR emerged from a very personal struggle and family crisis centered around my eldest son. He was born with numerous disabilities, and at two years of age, he was given a terminal diagnosis by an orthopedic surgeon. It was at that moment that I transformed into a super advocate and lay-researcher. Today, my son is 22 and thriving after undergoing 44 surgeries, and my passion for community investment launched my business, helping corporations champion their social corporate responsibility efforts.
Nowadays, companies need to step-up their CSR strategy to keep up with their competitors. Accounting for factors, like moral obligation, employee engagement, and reflecting your corporate values, will help your Company foster a more comprehensive and effective corporate social responsibility strategy.
If you don’t already have a CSR strategy, now is the time to get started!
Develop your CSR Program from the inside out.
- To be successful, a CSR program should be embraced by employees and associates at all levels. Your team needs to be motivated to buy into the Program. An effective way to master this process is to identify a diverse group of employees and associates and include them in a brainstorming session with a facilitator. Hiring an experienced consultant to moderate the process, categorize what individuals within your Company are passionate about, conduct market research, and strategically identify community partnership opportunities that align with your Company’s culture and values will help your Company to implement a sustainable program.
Adopt the tactics that work for your Company.
- A vital decision is whether your Company as a whole will solely support pre-selected causes, allow employees to pursue their personal passions, or a mix of both. I’ve found that when companies are strategic in selecting pillars that align with their brand, for example, education, cause, and cure, health and wellness, employment pathways, etc. it sets a guide for employees and assures that both the Company and the employees have a stake in the game.
Establishing Community Partnerships.
- Now it’s time to establish partnerships for the successful implementation of your CSR Program. A recipe for partnership success includes thorough research of the NPO’s background and financial stability. Agencies like GuideStar are always excellent resources when researching community partners. Always make sure to outline expectations with your community partners clearly. Communicate effectively, preferably by establishing a letter of agreement outlining mutual partnership responsibilities.
Decide how you will promote your CSR Program.
- It is as valuable to communicate your efforts internally as it is externally. As a company, it is essential that you identify your communication strategy in alignment with your culture. It is imperative that you assess how best to communicate the Program to your employees; this will ensure fostering employee participation and engagement.
Sustaining your Program.
- Establish milestones for the Program, and always celebrate your efforts and accomplishments while striving to grow your community investment. Measure how your CRS strategy is affecting your Company’s culture and public perception along the way.
Once you’ve launched an active CSR Program, you can take it to the next level by echoing your Program’s core values in your Company’s organizational structure and corporate policies, the most effective way to foster sustainability is by creating a robust social initiative within your Company as a whole. In the end, it’s all about finding the corporate social responsibility plan that works for your Company and your team; executing it and enjoying the rewards!