Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is fast becoming increasingly popular as more organizations look to boost brand credentials by improving how they interact with the world around them.
See how you can start planning a powerful CSR project in 6 easy steps.
While there are many worthy causes your organization can choose to support, your CSR project should be built with your brand in mind. That way it matches your company's vision, mission, values and abilities without causing internal operational or financial friction.
Ask yourself, what skills or contacts do you have that others don’t and/or what responsibilities do you need to address directly as an operator in your sector?
The closer you stay to your core competencies, the more impactful and engaging your CSR project will be for all involved.
Let’s get this one out of the way. While your CSR project is ultimately about having a positive social impact on the world, it also serves you. But that’s OK. Nobody is saying you can’t do some good in the world and take advantage of the returns.
Being seen more favourably in the industry, reducing employee churn by being an attractive sustainable organisation to work for, and attracting socially responsible customers, are all great reasons to launch a CSR project. But they shouldn’t be your driving force.
And this isn't a morality issue (not solely, anyway). But the moment you view a CSR project through the lens of corporate efficiency and profit, not only will you begin to lose sight of the project, but your employees - usually those delivering the results - will often start seeing it as ‘work’ and will be less excited about driving its success.
Engaging your employees in the development and implementation of your CSR strategy from the very beginning is a powerful way to build an inclusive workplace environment by ensuring everybody has a voice.
By creating a culture of inclusion where possible, those on the front lines delivering the CSR project will feel better connected to the project as a whole and be more invested in its success.
Once your CSR project is up and running, don't shy from publicising your efforts.
Not to brag about your efforts, but to allow you to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations to boost the chances of success.
The more people who know about your CSR project, the better your chances of filling missing skills gaps, accessing resources you don’t have or securing extra external funding from relevant awarding bodies.
Once you launch an engaging, impactful CSR project, it's crucial to monitor progress.
Through continuous performance assessment, you'll start to see why, when and how to make crucial changes to ensure short-term stability and long-term success.
But before you even start, like with any effective project management, you first need to identify what success will look like.
Make sure to write down what goals you want to achieve at every stage of the project so you can adapt on the move and avoid pitfalls before they occur.
Done well, your customers, local communities and employees should all be invested stakeholders in your CSR project.
Not only do they deserve to keep abreast of any developments and rewarded with praise, but they’re also your best source of honest feedback before, during and after the project launches.
CSR can significantly affect how stakeholders, customers, and employees view your business.
So choose the correct initiative, create a solid plan, involve the relevant stakeholders, and put all your effort (and love) into it, and you'll get results.
If you need help creating a sustainable CSR plan, speak to our experienced Social Impact team - experts in building, running and measuring CSR projects with impact.