Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulated and funded company enterprise to be more ethically accountable in business practice while boosting relationships with both local and global communities.
CSR programmes also help strengthen bonds between your organisation and employees by helping your workforce satisfy their altruistic desire to give something back.
Although CSR is a broad concept, the underlying idea is to run a short or long-term social impact project in an ethically, economically, and environmentally sustainable manner best suited to your business.
This post outlines three steps to follow if you’re considering how to approach an effective corporate social responsibility programme that’s both sustainable and strategic
The first step to implementing an effective corporate social responsibility programme is understanding your business and selecting a programme to match your products or services.
You don't have to copy what other companies in a similar position are doing. Looking to solve problems in your local community is always a great start before thinking about grandiose global projects.
For example, you may realise a digital skills gap in society and wish to minimise it through digital inclusion programmes such as training on how to use cloud services, coding, internet safety, e-invoicing, and more.
Additionally, think about the goals you wish to accomplish with your corporate social responsibility strategies. The process involves engaging stakeholders, reviewing strategic plans and evaluating data from across and beyond the CSR department to ensure you start from solid research.
Select employees from different departments but avoid too many since it may slow down the decision process. The UN 17 sustainable goals can be a good starting point for your group to choose a project relevant to your business.
Finally, create a draft and present it to the rest of the organisation, customers, or relevant stakeholders for feedback. This process helps you craft a better plan and make more stakeholders aware and supportive of your work.
CSR requires both manpower and budget. In terms of manpower, you need to consider the special skills your company can offer others cannot. You must also know the costs involved and the amount your company can afford to spend on the project both short and long-term.
The current financial structure of your company largely determines the amount you will allocate to the CSprogrammeme. If you overlook the budget you may end up shutting down the project before any outcomes are realized. This can tarnish the reputation of your company in the eyes of both the local community and potential prospects.
To avoid this, create a budget for CSR initiatives and estimate the costs of different ideas. Consider whether the project will require long-term maintenance costs or steep upfront setup costs. This informs you in advance whether the resources you have are adequate to initiate and run a CSR programme to ensure you don't become unstuck before you’ve even started.
Evaluation is crucial in CSR strategy since it helps establish efficiency and ROI. As your CSR project moves forward, have a picture of what success looks like since it affects your company reputation from the inside out.
Like any foundational project management approach, always look for areas to tweak the strategy or tactics as you encounter new problems.
You need to analyse metrics continuously. Measurement helps determine where you lie on the social versus financial performance curve and ensures your project is a success.
An impactful CSR programme can help you boost ties with local communities, attract high-quality employees, win more new customers, and retain old ones while helping the world become a better place.
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