7 Things You Can Do Today to Increase CSR Engagement
So, you want to increase CSR engagement, participation, and collaboration for social good within your company?
First, remember that this is a process and not a race. Your organization may have a program 20 years in the making with fantastic employee engagement; or, you might be just starting a program and are in the early planning stages for its creation. Here’s the great news: everyone can improve!
1 – Engage Yourself
It starts with you. Be a voice for good in your office, your business unit, your lunch group, the elevator, wherever you are. It only takes one person to start a conversation about social good — share a story about a volunteer event you attended, or mention an upcoming charity fundraiser. And by the way, are you volunteering and engaging in your local community?
2 – Assign Value
We all need motivation in order to change or improve our habits. And social impact is a habit. Consider how you can reward employees for participating in philanthropy. Maybe it’s as simple as a printed certificate from the Corporate Social Responsibility team, signed by the CEO; or, maybe it’s a Cause Card (see how Dexcom used CauseCard), which the employee can redeem to their preferred charity. Not all strategies work for all companies, but consider what type of value your employees would benefit from, and find small ways to celebrate their efforts.
3 – Collaborate
Some of the best results come about through partnerships (e.g. peanut butter & jelly, bacon & eggs, chips & salsa…and apparently I’m writing on an empty stomach). Who do you know at a local charity? Who should you get to know? Does someone on your CSR team have an established relationship with an NPO? Organize a small luncheon or a coffee hour so that your team and a local charity can meet, greet, and brainstorm a partnership opportunity (read about one client’s experience here).
4 – Start at the Top
Remember that your employees, whether veterans or new arrivals to your company, are choosing each day to be a part of your organization. They care about how their company leadership is portraying themselves and the vision for the future. Work with your CEO and management teams to develop a strategy for promoting CSR from the top down. Can these executives participate in a few events throughout the year to show their support and promote the programs?
5 – Experiment
It’s common knowledge that people can become stuck in their ways; so don’t be afraid to add something new to your philanthropy program! It’s easy to make a small culture adjustment without compromising the budget or program goals. Network with other colleagues working in CSR to brainstorm new ideas or even ask about their wins. Not only will this increase interest in the program, but you may also be starting a trend that others want to follow.
6 – Share Your Passion
One of the best ways to get people excited about their impact is to promote your own cause, and how you contribute. If you have a passion for animal rescue organizations — find times to (naturally) bring it up with your coworkers. These conversations may spark someone’s engagement in social impact efforts; or, maybe it starts turning the wheels in their mind to consider, “what is my cause?” At YourCause, we’ve challenged our employees to write a blog post about the cause that most resonates with them, and inter-company empathy has increased because of this. Remember, it’s important to not just ask others to participate, but lead by example.
7 – Make It Fun!
No one wants to get on board if the cruise ship isn’t playing music! Now, I’m not suggesting playing silly games, like Charity Musical Chairs, with your coworkers (or maybe I am!), but employees are more inclined to engage if the efforts are naturally interactive. Consider how you can bring energy and fun into the lives of current volunteers and donors, so that others are eager to join the effort. You know your people and company culture best, so you have the clearest pulse on what collaborative efforts may work or not work. And, as a friendly reminder, read #5 again!
And most of all, remember the main goal in all of this: to bring more good into the world. If you take action now to implement a few of these CSR engagement strategies, you’ll find success in the workplace and, in turn, more impact in the world.