Published On: September 2, 2021Categories: Building the Business Case

Author: Carmen Adamson

The first question you may want answers to, is why do companies even have CSR programs? There are several reasons why companies large and small develop socially responsible initiatives. The world is facing unprecedented challenges connected with environmental issues, social justice and economic prosperity. People are paying attention to a company’s support of their employees, their community and their customers. Companies provide that support and respond to the needs of their stakeholders through social responsibility.

Companies do not exist in isolation. Successful and sustainable businesses underpin the world economy and society by providing employment ad creating prosperity. Corporate social responsibility follows the belief that in order to have long-term success companies need to build and maintain successful relationships with a wide range of stakeholders including their partners, consumers, employees, the community they operate in, and their governments. Furthermore, a company’s culture should promote integrity, openness, value, diversity and be responsive to the views of wider stakeholders. “Social responsibility is not limited to just corporations, and a need has arisen for a new term to summarize these types of philanthropic efforts.” Rachel Hutchisson, VP of Global Social Responsibility at Blackbaud said. “– It’s time to shift to Human Social Responsibility (HSR)”.

Getting started with CSR

We get it. Starting a corporate social responsibility program can feel overwhelming. There are probably hundreds of ideas swimming through your head and in a perfect world, or on any other team, you could just start the ideal program format and run with it. But CSR is a little different. 

A successful program requires buy-in from key stakeholders. It requires data analysis, strategy, finding the right partners, and even if all of that gets pulled together, your company’s employee engagement might not reach the levels you expect (or desire) at first. So what is a practitioner new to CSR supposed to do? 

We cannot stress enough the importance of creating a program that aligns with your company’s values. Before even jumping into CSR ideas or strategies, consider the bigger picture. Identifying corporate vision, values, and philosophies pertaining to CSR now will allow you to align policies, strategies, and even your future software solutions later. Start thinking of your company’s position on key tenets of giving. One consideration is whether deducting feeds from an employee’s donation to cover your program’s operating expense is acceptable to your company- and the potential message that can send to your staff, consumers, and the market at large. Last but certainly not least, it’s important to be transparent in your decisions with your employees. Often knowing the why behind what you have decided can eliminate falsities and skepticism about your program’s intentions.

“Regardless of which strategy you choose, the most important part is preparation. Strategies cannot be created overnight. If you think CSR is something you want, the time to start making connections and planning is now.”

The Demand for Social Responsibility is Rising

While not a new concept or strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility programs are on the rise. Over the last couple of years, as natural disasters continued to pick up in intensity and COVID-19 brought rising income and healthcare inequalities to center stage, Companies have been pouring more focus into their own efforts around giving back. 

78%

of people want to work for a company that leads with purpose- *Porter Novelli 2021 Purpose Perception Study

85%

of individual investors are interested in sustainable investing, up 10% from 2017 – *Morgan Stanley

77%

of consumers say they are more willing to purchase from a company with ESG & CSR commitments – *Blackbaud Institute

Are you equipped to grow and evolve your CSR programs as consumers, investors and employees continue to demand more accountability and action from companies?

The following resources are designed to help you get started launching your CSR program, grow your program and spread your message.

Whitepaper

How to Start a CSR Program

CSR Communication Toolkit

Strategies to Plan and Spread your CSR Message

Whitepaper

Combine CSR into Your Recruiting and Corporate Culture

Blog

Benefits of CSR to your Business and 5 tips for Launching a Successful Program

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