Seeing as we are among friends, I’m hoping we can speak freely.
Some businesses see their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as just a bit of fluffy marketing – something that has to be done because other people do it and it looks good. Actually, it is something more than that and it is something that can provide serious benefits to both the business and the communities in which it operates.
The classic way of dealing with CSR is to make a charity donation and, for added visual impact, sponsor something to ensure that the company logo is emblazoned on a charity or social enterprise event. Box ticked – job done!
However, done properly, CSR can help a business understand more about its values, its staff and its place in the community. In complete contrast to the box ticking way of approaching CSR, there are some incredible examples of businesses who have done things such as taking the time to understand what their staff do in their local communities and support them in their endeavours to using existing ongoing corporate services and outreach to the benefit of charities through to practical examples, such as engaging in reuse programs which provide social benefit organisations with IT kit that is no longer useful to the business.
When looking at CSR, businesses should consider:
the needs of the local community – making it relevant, not just box ticking
staff training – how CSR can enrich and engage staff, making work a happier and more engaged experience
cost – be realistic about what can be achieved but see it within a wider context rather than just a marketing function
impact – can you create a lasting legacy within the business and the community?