Society has put increasing pressure on corporations to be socially conscious, with 55% of consumers willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the integration of socially beneficial programs and practices into a corporation’s business model and culture. CSR has been found to benefit an organisations brand loyalty and brand image. A CSR strategy should re-evaluate how a company thinks about its impact, engaging stakeholders, improving the impact of a business on society and seizing business opportunities. CSR policies need to be considered as core and inseparable components of an overall service or product offering.
The Impact Suite has outlined five key benefits an organisation can gain from CSR.
Companies who demonstrate their commitment to various causes are perceived as more philanthropic and by publicising their efforts, companies increase their chances of becoming favourable in the eyes of consumers. In other words, consumers feel good shopping at institutions that help the community.
Corporations can improve their public image by supporting not-for-profits through monetary donations, volunteerism, in-kind donations of products and services and strong partnerships. A CSR initiative should be relevant, directly aligning with an organisations mission and vision. For example, a coffee retailer could work with organisations to improve Fair Trade and a fast food chain could focus on environmental pollution initiatives. However, if a petroleum corporation were to promote environmental initiatives, it may appear as ‘greenwashing’. It is important to make sure you’re forming relationships with local media outlets, so they’ll be more likely to cover the philanthropic stories you offer them.
Keeping social responsibility front of mind encourages businesses to act ethically and to consider the social and environmental impacts of their business. In doing so, organisations can mitigate detrimental impacts of their business and deliver benefits for the community. This might happen indirectly, where an organisation’s service enables others to contribute to the community, or directly through the organisation’s own activities, such as volunteerism and philanthropy. By supporting CSR the organisation is also providing customers with a new criteria to base their purchasing decisions on.
Studies have shown that a robust CSR framework can help a company become more attractive to potential employees who are looking for workplaces with socially responsible practices, community mindedness and sound ethics. When companies show that they are dedicated to improving their communities through corporate giving programs, they are more likely to attract and retain valuable, hardworking and engaged employees and volunteers. Instilling a strong culture of CSR within every employee will help create a positive and productive work environment where employees can thrive.
A strong CSR framework is essential to building and maintaining trust between a company and their clients. CSR strengthens ties, builds alliances and fosters strong working relationships with both new and existing clients, enabling deeper engagement with stakeholders.
Another positive impact that CSR has on not-for-profit organisations is the possibility of corporate partnerships, which bring additional awareness to a charities cause. These partnerships are vital to the work a corporation can do in the local community and important to a not-for-profit that may not have the resources for major marketing campaigns. A strong CSR initiative can be achieved by offering pro-bono or similar services where a company can partner with a not-for-profit organisation to support their public value outcomes.
The Impact Suite
The Impact Suite is an online platform which allows donors to measure and compare charities, using a Lotus Rating. The Impact Suite can assist your organisation to appear more transparent and accountable, highlighting your CSR frameworks. Visit www.theimpactsuite.com.au and get your charity's Lotus Rating today!