The ‘C’ in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has long stood for corporate. Importantly, it also stands for community.
As part of your CSR strategy, one of the key areas you can empower employees, inspire clients, and enhance your profile is by undertaking projects that benefit the community.
So where should you start? Donating to your local charity or sponsoring an athlete who is embarking on an awareness-raising expedition is one way to demonstrate community spirit.
Another approach is to take our cue from current events; the pandemic has provided a number of opportunities where support is needed. This could be anything from volunteering at the local vaccination centre, providing food for the elderly and disadvantaged, delivering medicines and lateral flow test kits.
A case study
Strategic Solutions, a Bournemouth-based financial advisory firm, has been adopting a community-focused CSR strategy for many years. The firm employs 65 people and gives around £45,000 annually to its local Community Foundation which supports good causes in the area.
These include grants for small grassroots groups in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, including Dorset Deaf Children’s Society, Safewise and Community Angels.
The directors and employees also support the East Dorset Beekeepers Association and make regular donations.
The company organises fund raising bike rides and sponsors the Guinness Book of Records memory record holder David Thomas to teach mind-mapping and memory techniques at local schools.
Employee retention is high, and the firm goes from strength to strength enjoying the fruits of their community work, not the least of which are an excellent reputation and high brand visibility.
Developing CSR initiatives should be an integral part of your firm’s overall strategy. Strategically aware organisations use CSR programs to protect and grow their biggest assets – their employees and their brand.
It’s now an accepted fact that 70% of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when making a decision on where to they want to work.
Community projects also offer excellent opportunities to create positive stories to share with the wider world, which in turn, enhances your reputation, inspires senior staff and board members, employees, shareholders and all stakeholders.
The projects – and your firm – become a force for good. Clients and prospective clients of your firm will also take note and are likely to be inclined to be loyal or convert to you.
A positive reputation ultimately benefits your bottom line. It’s widely accepted today that organisations need to have a relationship with the communities they operate with. This relationship should be based on an organisation’s involvement in contributing to community development and enhancing the public good.
As we prepare for the year ahead, if you haven’t already, think about adding a ‘CSR strategy’ to your 2022 list.