Your corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more than a piece of paper or an annual holiday drive – it’s an extension of your brand. These efforts can range from giving small donations to a charity to implementing environmentally friendly practices organization-wide.
Therefore, what cause you choose to support or work toward will have a direct effect on your brand presence and respectability.
Why is CSR so important?
A solid CSR strategy allows companies to improve their public image, increase their media coverage, boost employee engagement levels and retain and attract key investors. It also enables businesses to attract and retain employees. After all, Millennials are known to care about community involvement efforts and Gen X are the most likely to become involved.
The community benefits, too. Nonprofits can receive increased funding, in-kind donations (equipment, swag, etc.), more volunteers, a strong corporate partnership and varied sources of revenue.
How can your CSR match your brand?
Choosing the right CSR program is crucial for its success. Instead of randomly picking an organization or cause, or many organizations and causes, pick the ones that clearly align with your organization’s goals, vision and future.
One way to ensure that the CSR matches your brand is making sure it has a logical tie to your business operations. For example, a software company may choose to support education, including girls in STEM programs. A legal firm could align with free or low-cost law services provided by nonprofits.
Another way to match your CSR with your brand is to get your employees involved. Hold Q&As and issue company-wide surveys to discover what charities and causes your employees believe are important. This way, you’ll be matching your CSR not only with your brand, but the employees your brand represents.
Matching brands improves giving
With one-off donations and drives, there’s less of a relationship between company and nonprofit. To the nonprofit, employees there are worried about whether its a one-time gift or recurring one. Because they may not be prepared for the gift again the next year, it’s less successful.
Partnerships where brands match (nonprofit and business) mean there’s already more common ground and a higher likelihood that giving will repeat. That repeat donation (time and/or money) creates a bigger impact because the nonprofit is more apt to serve more people with their mission.
Improve your social responsibility
Time magazine called companies that ignore their social responsibility “suicidal.”
You could argue community involvement makes a company more successful through all of the items above — recruiting, retention, PR and visibility, tax deductions, etc. It could lead to even more business; people want to purchase from companies who believe what they believe. This includes the company’s CSR.
And at its core, businesses should give back because it’s the right thing to do.