Wondering how small businesses can kickstart their CSR initiatives?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) isn't a new idea. It is a notion of a contract between a corporation and a society where the corporation aims to use a small percentage of its profit for society's growth and benefit. The idea of CSR formed half a century ago at large corporations but gained popularity in the past two decades among small businesses. Before we understand how small businesses can kickstart their CSR initiatives, let us see why CSR is important.
Through corporate social responsibility, businesses try to improve local communities, the economy, and the environment as a whole. CSR activities also help businesses showcase themselves as an ethical and humble corporate entity. The CSR posts companies publish on social media aid in building their brand image. This, in turn, helps them attract new customers, motivated employees, and supportive stakeholders.
Companies who understand the social responsibilities of their action implement these plans keeping in mind the effect it will have on people around them, their profits, and their goals. Below are 4 types of social responsibility initiatives companies can work on for the betterment of the world:
Environmental initiatives: The main focus of this CSR is the environment. Today, businesses have a huge carbon footprint irrespective of size. If a company takes the social responsibility initiative of reducing its carbon footprint, it will make a big impact on the environment we live in and improve healthcare.
Philanthropy: As part of CSR, businesses can donate money, products, or services to social causes and nonprofits. With their vast resources, organizations can support various charities and community programs and make a big difference.
Ethical business practices: CSR includes implementing policies such as equal opportunities for all, complying with fair trade practices, and curbing policies that might lead to discrimination among employees.
Economic initiatives: Through these activities, companies make an economic impact on local communities and promote growth and harmony. For example, - using products procured from local vendors for their business helps boost the income of the members of a community.
Today, over 90% of businesses are SMEs. These small businesses find CSR difficult as they aren't sure how to impact large, global initiatives. They don't realize that any small change they bring through their social responsibility activities will have a huge impact on society as a whole.
Below are the 4 ways on how small businesses can kickstart their CSR initiatives:
Collaborate on the source
Small businesses can involve employees while choosing charity or community projects. This will allow employees to choose social responsibility activities of their interest, which will increase engagement. Instead of choosing large-scale projects, companies should look for small initiatives that they can fulfil without much difficulty. This includes in-house fundraising, bake sales, or community volunteering that can positively impact employee morale.
Check if there is a link between your business's speciality and the products and services you provide. Example: A shoe retailer can donate shoes to weaker sections within their communities.
Communicate with employees
It is important to tell employees about the impact of CSR contributions. Generally, all employees commit to workplace volunteering, but, eventually, only half of them turn up. For good results, prepare statistical reports that show how many employees volunteered and for how many hours.
Tell employees about the long-term impact their social responsibility actions can have on the neighbourhood. For example, money raised from a charity event will pay for children's food.
Build a team
CSR is an opportunity for employees to meet and collaborate with people from different verticals. This promotes unity among employees as they work for a common goal. Not only that, CSR acts as one of the best ways to nurture relationships with clients and local businesses.
The various social responsibility activities of the company help strengthen relationships with existing clients and promote collaboration for future partnerships.
Enhance the recruitment style
Today, highly vocal and empathetic millennials prefer companies that offer exciting work towards community upliftment and social responsibility. Businesses need to be socially aware to attract such talent.
Businesses should encourage employees to volunteer and give paid time off to those who go above and beyond for charity work. Through the company's social media handle, post articles, images, and videos of employees participating in various events. This will promote your business as ethical and modest and attract and retain employees who believe in your mission.
Whether it's a small industry or a large one, all of them play a significant role in shaping the future of our society. How small businesses can kickstart their CSR initiatives is a vital question. Through the points shared above, small businesses can change the way they do business and even the way our society functions. If these businesses go to the next level for their social responsibility activities, they will greatly impact the country's socio-economic dimensions. The onus of making this society better shouldn't lie with the government alone.
Through the collaboration of various business organizations, government branches, and NGOs, we can make our neighbourhood a better place for future generations.