Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has fully established itself as a major corporate initiative, and today many corporate leaders have realized the growing sense of urgency to give back to society given the imminent threat of issues like social inequality and climate change. As CSR is finally settling in and finding its place in the business world, everyone from the C-Suite on down are realizing that they can play a significant role to address these challenges. Currently, 92% of CEOs agree with the statement that having a strong corporate purpose through values, culture, and behaviors is important - to moral and to the bottom line. But, of all the CSR programs springing up, what makes one truly exemplary? They stand out because the entire company is made up of CSR champions.
The Reason To Build Champions
There are many reasons to build a company of CSR champions beyond just the desire to do good. Have a look:
Charitable engagement efforts connect employees to their work and can achieve a more engaged workforce. When you succeed in making that connection and maintaining it, that’s truly championship-level CSR. In fact, according to a survey by Entrepreneur Magazine, 57% of respondents believed that participation in charitable events made for happier teams. These efforts can lend a fulfilling sense of purpose to people’s’ jobs, which increases employee engagement.
Genuine CSR efforts also improve public image of a company. However, it doesn’t come immediately and it doesn’t come without investment and funding. In a survey by Cone, 78% of respondents want companies to address important social justice issues. It’s important that companies not only respond to these issues but also let the public know that they are taking action on them. Through robust social media and PR, this is possible. Once you do, it begins to pay off; 87% of consumers would purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about. That’s getting your brand out there in a positive way.
Another bonus that comes from a company of CSR champions is brand differentiation. Companies who invest heavily in CSR stand out from their competitors who don’t, which matters to consumers.
In fact, 76% of consumers will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs. If you need to raise prices somewhat to cover your CSR initiatives, customers will understand and still be more than willing to purchase your product.
Finally, a championship CSR program encourages innovation. When you truly make a commitment to CSR, it forces you to look at your company through a different lens. Inefficient practices that might have been second nature come under scrutiny and you start looking for ways to improve.
Tip: When you begin strategizing to implement a CSR initiative, look inside your company before you reach out to collaborate with nonprofits. There may be ideas waiting for you right in your own break room: a recycling program, switching to biodegradable products or committing to buying only organic and sustainable foods are all great places to start.
Corporate Social Responsibility makes both the world and your workplace a better place to be. Unfortunately, that can be difficult to achieve alone. Speak with a CyberGrants expert to see how the combined support of our platform and strategic expertise can help your company rise to CSR championship status.
How To Build Champions:
Everything begins with a vision and idea of how the company can have a voice in making our world a better place to live in. When you combine that vision with the strength, expertise and energy of the company and its employees, that’s the foundation of a championship corporate philanthropy program. It’s easiest for those who are just starting a company—they can make it a part of their processes, culture and hiring from day one. But regardless of the difficulty, your vision must become a part of the company’s core, central identity.
Tip: Ask your employees what causes they care about, and then come up with initiatives to support them. Most importantly—make the time to actually do it. Let employees out early one afternoon every few months to do volunteer work, or take a whole day to do it as a company!
The most effective way to turn all of your employees into CSR champions is to use their specific skills to contribute to worthy causes. Choose a mission or goal that relates to their jobs and the company’s industry or product. The best CSR initiatives align company mission and brand identity to produce a program that speaks to the employees, the executives and the community. It pays off in the end: employees who are fulfilled are much more likely to serve as ambassadors for the company, while employees who are unfulfilled end up detracting from the company. In fact, 82% of unfulfilled employees are actively undermining your company and your brand.
Once you’ve decided on a mission and adjusted culture to reflect it, you still need to get the message out to consumers. To accomplish that, we have one piece of advice: embrace social media. Social media is most effective when employees generate and share content themselves, and as CSR champions, you should encourage them to brag about their efforts.