Is corporate social responsibility (CSR) an occasional standalone activity for your company? A sidebar on your website? A permanent line item on the corporate bucket list?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’re missing an opportunity to attract new talent and win customers. How effective is CSR for driving growth? A recent PwC Global CEO survey shows that 64 percent of CEOs now consider CSR as core to their business strategy. Especially for the millennials in your workplace, purpose is as important as a paycheck. An active CSR program not only makes your workplace more attractive to this group but overall improves employee morale, loyalty, and productivity.
A strong CSR strategy also positions your organization as an admired and trusted brand in a marketplace which puts a high value on companies that actively support social causes. Clearly, helping to make the world a better place has compelling business benefits. So, how do you take CSR to the next level and use it to grow your bottom line?
How to integrate purpose into business strategy
Here are five tips to help your CSR program deliver maximum business value.
1) Get buy-in across the organization
Getting CSR on the strategy table and making it part of your business model has its challenges. Because of the inevitable budget impact, you have a much better chance at buy-in when you articulately demonstrate value in business terms that align with the objectives of all departments.
Will it deepen relationships with clients who also support your cause? Will it make your brand more trustworthy to customers? Can it foster cross-functional teamwork? Get input from all stakeholders before creating your CSR business plan.
2) Partner with a nonprofit
Like many other socially responsible companies, you may find that partnering with a nonprofit is the most practical way to leverage limited resources while still benefiting stakeholders, employees and the cause. Managing that relationship will take time, so minimize future problems by developing a nonprofit vetting process upfront.
While alignment on purpose is the priority, other criteria matter as well: Will the nonprofit respect your time and resource limitations? Are you comfortable with their approach? Are timetables agreeable? Develop a questionnaire with input from stakeholders, and make sure your process is consistent for every nonprofit you screen.
3) Build purpose into your brand
Consumers gravitate to businesses that are authentic about their social responsibility. You need to go beyond empty brand promises and splashy websites, and use social media as a platform to communicate real life stories about a cause that people respond to emotionally.