Guest Post: Three Key Factors for a Compelling CSR Program

Guest February 25, 2016 Employee Engagement

We’re happy to once again be able to share the insights of our friends at UniversalGiving. See what Caitlin O’Brien has to say that about how to propel your CSR program to success.

If 2015 was a big year for Corporate Social Responsibility, the forecast for 2016 predicts even more growth. The public is now more attentive to the issue of corporate transparency and responsibility. Consumers are calling for more ethical supply chain practices and sustainability initiatives. It’s not only a matter of where people prefer to spend their money, but also a matter of where people prefer to earn their money. In the workplace, Millennials report they prefer working for employers who prioritize social impact.

What makes for a compelling CSR program differs greatly from company to company, but the most impactful programs often share three key features. Accounting for these factors can foster a more comprehensive and effective CSR strategy:

1. Define What Defines You

A CSR program should be adopted as a part of a comprehensive corporate identity. Re-visit the history of your organization and consider which principles have guided corporate culture over time. Apply a CSR strategy by pursuing initiatives which reinforce these themes and values. Whether through volunteer partnerships, philanthropic undertakings, or charitable contributions, align with causes that reflect your corporate culture. Finally, engage with internal and external stakeholders to communicate the significance of these initiatives and how they enhance your corporate identity.

2. Employee Engagement

Maintain open communications with employees about ongoing CSR efforts. Seek feedback about which causes are most compelling to employees and suggestions for future philanthropic and volunteer initiatives. Likewise, fostering an ongoing dialogue about corporate social investments encourages a sense of shared purpose throughout an organization and can improve employee workplace satisfaction.

3. Build Bridges

Fundamentally, Corporate Social Responsibility is about being a responsible community member. CSR programs can positively impact the strength of internal corporate community, but efforts should also target opportunities to improve greater external communities—locally and globally. While local organizations are often the first to come to mind for community partnerships, it’s important not to overlook other places where you can make an impact. Adopt this perspective and you may find that you can do the most good through donating your product or service to organizations or communities which might be half a world away. For the most impact, commit to building sustained partnerships with select organizations and establish an active relationship with the communities you strongly support.

Ultimately, a comprehensive CSR framework should be seen as an opportunity to develop a more dynamic corporate identity reflecting corporate values, which can have a lasting impact on public corporate reputation, employee well-being and workplace culture all while supporting community development.

We’ve enjoyed being able to share ideas and practices with UniversalGiving this month. Make sure to read our past content collaboration posts and to visit their website and blog for more. Thank you to Caitlin O’Brien, Filip Silic, and the entire UniversalGiving and Philanthropost teams!