It’s no secret that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is important. As the saying goes, “doing good is good for business.”
According to a study by Cone Communications, 63% of consumers look to companies to take the lead on social and environmental change. In fact, it found that 76% of consumers would decline to do business with a company if it held views that conflicted with their beliefs.
Having a strong CSR strategy provides your business with a competitive sales advantage and can also strengthen your company’s ability to attract and retain great employees. In fact, 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company. However, cost is often among the biggest roadblocks that businesses face in executing an effective CSR strategy.
The good news is that, while your business might not have the capacity to achieve Certified B Corp status, you can still implement awesome and impactful CSR practices without breaking the bank.
Here are six easy ways to do it.
1. Hyper-target Your Efforts
It’s great to have many causes that you want to support. But if you’ve got a modest budget for CSR and you want to make the biggest impact, then hyper-target your efforts. Focus intently on one cause and put all your available effort and resources behind it. While every cent helps, a whole dollar has a greater impact on one charity than ten cents does on ten causes.
2. Create a Volunteer Program
A great CSR initiative doesn’t have to simply take the form of dollars donated. If your business doesn’t have a ton of expendable cash flow, there are other ways to make a difference. Consider creating a volunteer program at your company where employees are encouraged to donate a preset number of work hours every quarter to volunteering. You can either pick a cause or charity to support as a company and allow people to volunteer, or open it up to the causes that matter most to your team. Either way, this allows your business to make a difference with a donation of time (and a few hours’ worth of salary) rather than a donation of cash.
3. Donate a Percentage of Your Profits
If you can free up some cash to donate, consider committing a percentage of your profits to charity. This can even be tied to a particular product or service. Tying sales to a charitable donation also encourages consumers to get behind your brand and feel good about spending their money with you. Whether it’s a tenth of a percent or 10%, this approach benefits both the cause and your business.
4. Adopting Green Practices
It’s easy to immediately think of non-profit organizations (NPOs) or charities when you’re thinking of CSR, but it doesn’t stop there. Your business could also adopt a CSR policy pertaining to environmental awareness and action. This is something that can be actioned within your own office – and it’s scalable as well. Whether it’s something small, like swapping out your current light bulbs for energy-efficient ones or going as paperless as possible, or something big like renovating your entire office to be eco-friendly or banning plastic bottles and providing your staff with reusable ones, there are tons of ways for your business to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its CSR strategy.
5. Make Small Loans to Those in Need
The digital age has brought with it a ton of new and innovative opportunities for CSR. One great example is Kiva. This online platform allows your company to make business loans to entrepreneurs in developing nations. So, rather than simply donating money to an organization, you can give directly to – and support – an entrepreneur with a dream. In doing so, you’re helping people create an opportunity for themselves and their communities. And with a repayment rate of nearly 97%, you can take that donation and reinvest it repeatedly.
6. Match Employee Donations
You can encourage your team to get involved in CSR by developing a policy of matching employee donations. Whether it’s donating to a fundraiser they’re hosting themselves or matching dollars that they donate to a cause of their choice, this is a great way to support your employees in their desire to make a difference and involve your own company in CSR by extension.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to CSR, but luckily, there doesn’t need to be. With so many options available, CSR can truly be scalable. So, even if you don’t have a big budget to work with, your company can still practice social responsibility. And in doing so, it might just benefit your bottom line.