I once heard Sir Bob Geldof telling a conference that “you can’t do it all, but you can do your best’, and it inspired me to create my own corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy for my business.
There’s never enough time or money to do everything you want to do, but you should not use that as an excuse for not doing anything at all. If money is tight, businesses can donate their time and core services to their chosen charities.
Your expertise might lie in accounting, baking or magic tricks – it doesn’t matter. Someone somewhere will appreciate your skills and this will be the most effective contribution you can make.
We adopted Friends for Leisure as our corporate charity in 2008, it’s a voluntary organisation in Cheshire that helps children and young people with disabilities, and they do great work. We provide them with all of their outsourced IT solutions, as well as organising regular fundraising initiatives.
It’s not only your services that will benefit your charity. Inevitably, corporate sponsorship of non-profit organisations raises PR opportunities and the profile of the charity rises (as well as that of your business).
Although I identified the cause I wanted my business to support, there would be no way I could pursue anything without my team’s support. By getting ‘buy-in’ from my staff I not only ensured that we could achieve a meaningful charity programme, but also that we created greater team spirit and camaraderie within the business.
Most charity events have PR value for business that are involved with them and many find that their clients/customers love to get involved too. Choose events that not only benefit the cause, but also your clients/customers, staff and other people to whom you wish to connect.
Motivating staff can be difficult at the best of times, but those who get involved with giving will also be more willing to give more to their day job and you’ll find that they buy into the ethos and culture of the business.
Blog supplied by Gary David Smith, co-founder of Prism Total IT Solutions, provider of Cloud and managed IT services to UK SMEs (and the Friends For Leisure charity).
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) may sound like a concept that is out of reach for many start-ups, but with the right know-how and focus, building responsibility and sustainability into your business from the beginning will help your small business go beyond mere compliance with ethical standards and laws to creating additional value for your business, employees, community and the environment. But where do you start?
You want to care for the environment and support your local community, and corporate social responsibility is a great way to do this – and yes, even businesses that only have a couple of staff can donate their time and efforts – but do not overstretch your resources.
Consider putting guidelines in place to ensure any voluntary or community work you and your team partake in will not have a negative effect on your business. This will provide focus and a streamlined approach to future initiatives, also giving you a proactive stance to potential opportunities.
Speaking to your staff and understanding what motivates them will help you to support them as they engage with the CSR approach of the business. This communication can stretch well beyond the immediate network of people in your small business, however, as you can also involve clients and suppliers to understand what they are doing in terms of CSR, share ideas and even partner with them in CSR initiatives.
Commitment to the community and specific charities or causes can build long-lasting relationships that reap rewards in the future. These will also build greater meaning for your business’ future CSR engagements.
Your small business may still be a start-up, but it got where it is for a reason. Use the resources and skills at your disposal (equipment, space, expertise, etc) but, once again, make sure you do not overstretch yourself.
A simple way to uphold the meaning of corporate social responsibility is by making sure that your business commits to an ethical supply chain, which includes the use of local suppliers and buying fairtrade products where possible.
There is nothing wrong with showing people that your business is doing some good for the local community. Let people know about the causes you champion and be proud of the good your business is doing.
Corporate social responsibility can easily run out of steam if you do not maintain records of CSR activity. Monitoring progress will also give you the chance to identify where changes or opportunities are possible.
Blog provided by EDP, which “provides businesses with consultancy services to help them create a sustainable workforce”.