March 25, 2019 Last updated March 19th, 2019 153 Reads share

A Business’ Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility: 5 Tips

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It’s likely that your business has already gotten involved in corporate social responsibility or is working on the way to balance your interests with your values. Far more than a popular buzzword or a means of attracting younger customers, corporate social responsibility can propel a business from relative obscurity into a position of prominence within a community.

To create a culture of corporate social responsibility for your business, you’ll require the input and involvement of your leadership, employees, and clients or customers. Today, we’ll take a look at the ways your business can boost your corporate social responsibility, showing you how to:

  1. Get your employees involved in a fundraiser for a charitable cause.
  2. Encourage your employees to participate in matching gift opportunities.
  3. Be open about the causes and organizations your business supports.
  4. Learn about the causes that matter to your employees and customers.
  5. Invite your employees and customers to participate in charitable initiatives.

One of the best ways in which your business can demonstrate its commitment to a good cause is to partner with a charitable organization and get your company and employees involved in a fundraiser supporting that organization.

 

1. Get your employees involved in a fundraiser for a charitable cause.

Getting involved with a charitable cause or organization is a wonderful way to use your business’s resources to help make your community and world become a better place. Charitable involvement can also benefit your business by boosting employee morale and attracting customers who appreciate this demonstration of your business’s values.

One great place to start your corporate social responsibility initiative is with your team of employees. You can do this by partnering with a local or national nonprofit and getting involved in a fundraiser for that organization. Provide your employees with the opportunity to participate so that they can contribute to the organization’s mission.

Looking for an easy first-time fundraising project for your business to do? Consider a shoe drive fundraiser, a favorite among a wide range of organizations because it is easy to carry out and doesn’t require participants to give money. Instead, they donate pairs of new and gently worn shoes that they no longer want! When you’re ready to get started, the process works like this:

Step 1: Get your business set up for a shoe drive fundraiser. The facilitator sends you the necessary paperwork so that you can get started setting up your shoe drive fundraiser. They’ll also make sure that you receive your check in return for the pairs of shoes you collect.

Step 2: Encourage your employees to participate. Experienced facilitators of this unique fundraising idea, like Funds2Orgs, often help businesses set up shoe drive fundraisers for employee participation. Some facilitators even provide a fundraising coach, who can help you develop strategies to motivate participants and raise more in donations for the organization you’re supporting!

Step 3: Receive a check to donate to your chosen organization! At the end of your shoe drive fundraiser, your facilitator will pick up the shoes you’ve collected and issued you a check in return for the number of pairs your employees gave. The more shoes you collect, the larger the donation your business will be able to give to the organization with whom you’ve partnered.

A shoe drive fundraiser is a fun and easy way to motivate your employees to work together in support of a good cause and demonstrate your business’s values. You don’t have to limit your business’s support to the charitable cause or the causes you select for your fundraiser, however. If your company offers a matching gift program, encourage your employees to use it to increase their gifts to the nonprofits of their choice.

 

2. Encourage your employees to participate in matching gift opportunities.

If your business offers a matching gift program that helps employees double or otherwise increase eligible gifts to charitable causes, you’ve already made a big step toward corporate social responsibility. However, matching gift programs can only benefit charitable causes if your employees use the programs. Encourage your employees to take advantage of any matching gift opportunities they may have available to them.

Matching gifts provide your employees with the opportunity to strengthen their involvement with their favorite charitable causes by increasing their contributions significantly. Sadly, however, matching gift programs are often forgotten and underutilized. If your business offers such a program, ensure that your employees:

  • Know about the program. Most employees will need to be reminded more than one time during the beginning of their tenure at your business that a matching gift program is available to them.
  • Know what gifts qualify. If your business excludes certain organizations or types of organizations from its matching gift program, ensure that your employees know this before they make their donations.
  • Understand the parameters for their gift. Most matching gift programs have minimum and maximum match amounts, and some define the type of employee (part-time, full-time, or both) eligible to have their gift matched. Employees should know where they can review your business’s matching gift program policies before they contribute to a charity.

Corporate matching gift programs present an excellent opportunity for businesses not only to give back to their communities and broader regions but also to support employees in their dedication to various charitable causes. If you know that some of your employees are actively involved with a particular nonprofit, you may even want to consider sponsorship opportunities to demonstrate your support.

Your employees aren’t the only people who will value your business’s involvement in charitable causes. When you share causes and missions with your customers, you can earn their lasting support by making them feel like they matter by openly expressing your support for the causes they care about most.

 

3. Be open about the causes and organizations your business supports.

If you’re worried that your expressed support for specific charitable causes will turn away customers, you shouldn’t be! When your business commits to corporate social responsibility by making its values known, you’ll gain the loyalty of new and returning customers who share those values. When it comes to the causes your business supports and the beliefs you espouse, your customers will appreciate you putting this information out into the open.

How can you make sure that your customers are aware of the causes your business is choosing to support or otherwise get involved in within your community? One great place to start is your website. It is an easily accessible and public location onto which you can incorporate your business’s causes, mission, and the names of any organizations you’re currently supporting.

If your website hasn’t been updated in a while and could use a makeover, ensure that your business’s causes, mission, and values are featured prominently in your redesign. Looking for guidance as you create a site that focuses on your business’s corporate social responsibility initiatives? Morweb’s list of the best nonprofit websites can show you how the types of organization you’re supporting express their missions to visitors themselves.

When your business is open in your support for specific charitable causes, whether you express that support on your website, in your locations, or your interactions with your customers and employees, you’re sure to find supporters who share your beliefs and value your activism. Depending upon the causes you support and the nature of your business, you may even be able to connect your corporate social responsibility initiative to the product or service you provide.

Openness about your causes not only attracts customers and employees who share your mission but also demonstrates accountability and transparency, essential factors in motivating millennials and other young people to support your business. Ready to expand your corporate social responsibility initiative? Look toward the causes that your employees and customers are already invested.

 

4. Learn about the causes that matter to your employees and customers.

If your business wants to practice corporate social responsibility but hasn’t yet committed yourself to a cause, good starting places are those causes that your employees and customers support. You can take their suggestions for organizations to help as well as ideas for ways to support them. Caring about your employees’ and customers’ favorite causes and organizations demonstrates your commitment not only to those causes but also to the people who help ensure your business’s future success.

One good example of a way in which your business can address your employees’ and customers’ preferences and support a good cause at the same time is by choosing a family-friendly organization to help.

This idea is an excellent choice if you know that your employees have children or if the product or service you provide is targeted to families. You can even look for fundraising ideas for kids to get families involved in your community outreach efforts.

Whether or not the family-friendly approach is the right one for your business, you should consider your employees’ and customers’ concerns, needs, and values to choose a cause that will resonate with them. While based on your current supporters’ preferences, this approach can serve as a form of empathy marketing that attracts new customers drawn to your business’s values.

Whatever causes your business chooses to support, don’t forget to build a community by inviting your employees and customers to participate in your selected charitable initiatives with you.

 

5. Invite your employees and customers to participate in charitable initiatives.

To provide genuine support to the charitable causes and organizations that matter most to you, depending on the ideas of your employees and customers. Their participation is essential to your success, so ensure that you invite them to take part in your charitable initiatives.

While it’s likely that your business will donate to a chosen charitable organization as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, be careful about asking your current supporters for money online. Neither your employees nor your customers want to feel that you’re asking too much of them.

In order to avoid this issue, your business has several options. A fundraiser that encourages participation without monetary donations, such as a shoe drive fundraiser, is one of the easiest solutions. Alternatively, you may be able to partner with the organization you’re supporting and give customers the opportunity to add small charitable contributions to the purchases they’re already making.

Looking for additional opportunities to encourage giving without asking your employees and customers to spend more of their own money? Consider:

  • Providing matching gift opportunities for employees.
  • Alerting employees, customers, and your website’s visitors to volunteer opportunities.
  • Encouraging employees and customers to share the donation page of an organization you support with their friends and followers on social media.

Once your chosen corporate social responsibility initiative is in place, you’ll need to market it effectively to encourage participation among your supporters and spread the word about the great causes you’ve chosen to help. The more they participate, the more significant the positive impact you’ll be able to have on the causes that matter to you.

Corporate social responsibility initiatives can benefit charitable causes and organizations enormously if everyone involved in your business is on board with your effort. Engage your employees and customers to get involved in the causes you all care about most.

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Wayne Elsey

Wayne Elsey

Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises (EE) and a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, which is a social enterprise that helps schools, churches, nonprofits, individuals and other organizations raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations.

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