CSR is an abbreviation for Corporate Social Responsibility. The Wikipedia definition of this term is ‘strategies that encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.’
Many companies adopt CSR polices around the ethical beliefs of the business owner or senior management. A good CSR policy helps get to staff and customers engaged into how they can help and support others and the environment. It can also integrate your business into your local community.
Community spirit is dwindling and businesses, whatever their size, can really make a big difference to a charity or project by getting involved. Your business is part of the community and being an active part of a community is vital for the survival of any business. Through supporting a local charity or project you will understand the needs of the community and be able to find ways to meet them. It’s hard to buy that kind of market research anywhere, but almost impossible for many businesses.
Customers are also more likely to support businesses they feel are engaged and understand the needs of others.
Having a robust CSR policy is one way to ensure that your business thrives in your community and engages.
SUPPORT; HOW MUCH TIME OR MONEY?
You could either give adhoc support to several projects or choose one charity per year and any fundraising or support goes to that charity and then change it annually. The amount of time will depend on how much you have!
THE MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES
Apart from the satisfaction of doing something to support others being involved in a charity or project can provide you with additional marketing opportunities.
- For example, if you take part in an event such as a race, abseil, skydive or organise a quiz, race night or party this will provide you with additional marketing and PR opportunities. Plus, brand awareness of your company.
- Publicity via press releases and also local radio.
- Include your charitable involvement in newsletters, brochures, signs, displays and adverts.
- Mention it on your website, profile the charity and the reason for your support add their logo (you must get permission first) and a link to their website. Ask them to reciprocate.
- Add to your social media sites and use this is a way of spreading the word about the cause.
- Getting involved in high profile causes may attract additional media attention.
- You might want the charity to add your company name to a project you support or sponsor if the donation is significant.
- Ask the charity to add your details in their literature.
- You can make offers to the charity staff and their users if this is applicable with your business.
- Donating a percentage of sales to a charity.
- Create a club of people who support the charity and your business.
- Donating raffle or auction prizes.
- Arrange an annual event promoting your company where all the profits from the event go to a local charity- could be a product or service launch or a company birthday or Christmas event.
- Create special packages at key times of the year (e.g. Christmas and Easter) that either you sell or the charity sell on your behalf with profits all or part donated.
Charities want to grow their support so brainstorm ways with them you can support each other. They expect to give support to businesses in return for their support.
WHAT CAN I DO INSTEAD OF A FINANCIAL DONATION?
Contributions don’t have to be financial. Many charities appreciate the gift of services as well as cash.
- Maybe your company has a service or product which could help a charity – you could donate for free or cost price saving them money.
- Most also have volunteer opportunities available too. Great for staff team building.
- Most also have schemes such as their own lottery; play or place a collecting box in your company or home.
- Some have recycling schemes including Ink recycling, stamps, coins and keys!
- Be more green! Never throw away old computers, cameras, furniture- don’t throw anything away, check first if it can be reused anywhere else.
- Be part of a Board of Trustees
Always remember small things can make a big difference!
HOW TO START MAKING A DIFFERENCE
- When choosing a charity or project to support think about what you care most about and what will fit with your company.
- Contact the fundraising or marketing manager and arrange a meeting to discuss
- Decide on what is realistic for your company to contribute in time and money.
- Stick to what you decide to do.
- Use your website and blog to keep your customers informed of what you are doing
What are we doing at Plain Talking HR?
Over the years the company has immersed itself into the local Bedfordshire and Luton community and worked with several charities and community projects. Plain Talking HR love to sponsor events, initiatives and causes and this has become a way of life.
Working with young people is important to us, as well as supporting people who have been homeless. Bina is on the Luton Sixth Form College Career Ready Local Advisory Board as a Business Advisor. She loves to mentor students and has sponsored internship.
She also gives her time on a regular basis to NOAH, a charity which supports homeless people for their “Return to Work programme”, working with learners on their C.Vs, job interviews as well as sharing tips on employability.
Bina works closely with her Indian community in Luton, with forums such Luton Navaratri Association, Brahmin Association of Luton and the local Hindu Temple and sponsors events, occasions and causes on a regular basis.
Bina has also recently been appointed to a Steering Group for Bedfordshire & Luton Community Foundation (BLCF) for their initiative called EVOLVE for gender equality.
She is also a regular panel member on the Drive-Time programme for BBC 3 Counties radio as a business panel member with Roberto Peroni. She loves the opportunity to help listeners on employment law matters and discuss issues of the day.
Plus, the local business community isn’t left out as we are the bag sponsors for The 3 Counties Expo on 30th April. We enjoy attending this event every year and meeting other local companies.
Finally, our support has extended across the globe as we were one of the sponsors the American cyclocross race held in Pennsylvania for the last few years and will be again in 2019.
We have lots of other plans of projects we are going to be involved with so watch this space!
If you need with your CSR policy do get in touch with us.
Article authored by Bina Briggs, Director at Plain Talking HR and HR & Employment Law Resident Expert at The Outsourcing Way.