The Why and How in Building a Company of CSR Champions
May 19, 2017 - Nita Kirby, Director of Client Solutions
Corporate Social Responsibility is finally settling in and finding its place in the business world. Currently, 64% of CEOs say CSR is core to their business rather than being a stand-alone program. While that number should be 100% it clearly is not as high as it could be, corporations are moving in the right direction. 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.
Why Do It:
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 the Center for Economic Studies, when employees feel they are working towards a good cause, it can increase productivity by up to 30%. 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 recent survey, 52% of consumers said they need to see proof of a company’s CSR initiatives to believe them. However, through social media and PR, it is possible. Once you do, it begins to pay off; 80% of consumers would tell friends and family about a company’s CSR efforts. 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, 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies. 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. It might surprise you, but 74% of respondents in a recent survey said CSR actually helped increase profits at their company.
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. Practices that were probably 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.
WEBINAR: 4 Key Components to a Winning CSR Strategy this 2017May 24th @ 1 pm ET Enroll Now
How To Do It:
Everything begins with a vision and idea of how the company can have a voice in community to make 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 work for purpose-oriented companies are 47% more likely to serve as company advocates.
WEBINAR: 4 Key Components to a Winning CSR Strategy this 2017
May 24th @ 1 pm ET
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. As of 2014, 88% of companies were utilizing social media marketing. If you’re one of the few who still isn’t, you’re going to get left behind. 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.