Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is something that you hear a lot about and know is important but maybe have been putting on the back burner. You can only run in the same 5k for cancer so many times before it starts to lose meaning for your employees. But CSR doesn’t have to be so cut and paste.
With today’s globally connected world, it’s easier and more important than ever to give back. Sometimes all it takes is a change of mindset to see the opportunities you have to give back as a business owner. It’s easy to see CSR as a cost rather than the true investment that it really is, but you don’t have to be a big organization like Coca-Cola to make a difference.
We are proud to do a little non-traditional CSR by telecommuting and hiring stay-at-home mothers from all over the nation. “The more companies that adapt to the woman’s paradigm of trying to do it all, the more we’ll see success coming out of the woodwork.” By taking advantage of this previously unavailable workforce, we not only have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people, but it helps sustain families and give back to the community.
One of our mantras is, First, do good. Then talk about it — in that order. Your motivation for CSR should be doing good, not publicity or “getting credit”. It’s easy to tell when a company’s heart is not in their CSR efforts and while it does still give help or aid to those causes or people, it will not give the company the results they are looking for. In fact, it could give the opposite result.
Small businesses may think that CSR doesn’t apply to them because they are so small, but that’s a mistake. CSR should be utilized by businesses of all types, sizes and fields. CSR can be a great way to foster and maintain customer and employee loyalty—everyone likes to feel like they are giving back in their own small way. Some other ways that your business might benefit from participating in CSR are improving your community, nation, world, etc (always good for business) and improved/better networking and connections.
You can make CSR easier and more effective for your business by including everyone. Instead of signing everyone up to run in that 5k (again), ask your employees and investors what they would like to do or focus on. Not only will this give you more options to choose from, it will make the rest of your organization feel included in giving back as well as feeling like they are an important part of your organization.
If you are still having trouble coming up with the perfect CSR plan for your business, here are a few questions you can use to come up with a good solution:
- Think about your customers: What types of causes and organizations are they involved in? What could you do to make their carbon footprint less after they leave your store or use your product?
- What causes and organizations go along with your business goals and values?
- What can your business do to reduce its own carbon footprint?
- What are you passionate about? We bet there’s a cause that goes along with that or a way you can give back. Get creative!
CSR is an important aspect of business. It’s something that we’ve been passionate about for years, and we’re thrilled that it’s becoming an issue that can no longer be ignored. If you need help coming up with the best CSR fit for your company, we’d love to help you find it.
Read John’s other great articles on Entrepreneur here