Although most businesses are concerned with making a profit to fuel growth and innovation, the days are gone when that should be the only driver behind an organization’s decisions. Today the public, governmental authorities, stockholders and employees themselves expect an organization to take into account how their actions impact the community that supports them commercially. In many ways, this recognition of social impact has become a business driver itself.
In June 2013, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced the creation of the Social Stock Exchange: a vehicle for investing in companies based primarily on their social impact in addition to their financial forecasts. This is a great example of a trend in modern society where more emphasis than ever before is placed on the legacy an organization leaves behind and the reputation it creates while going about the business of business.
How do you balance social responsibility with profitability? It can be a tricky endeavor, but in order to achieve success in both areas, you need a strategy for corporate responsibility that is as complete as a strategy would be for any other area of business.
One part of your strategy should focus on creative giving, and while you can select any one of the following ideas, it is always best to implement two or more strategies that complement each other. Creative giving options include:
Consider The Environment – Make an effort and commitment to becoming a sustainable, eco-friendly business. This means using sustainable materials, creating a recycling plan, improving energy efficiency and limiting the amount of pollution produced at your place of business.
Donate To The Cause -Corporate donations can include monetary contributions as well as the donations of products and services. You can set up a corporate foundation for this purpose.
Workplace Volunteering – Offering pre-approved volunteer opportunities to employees, including offering paid time off for volunteer activities on company time.
Employee Donations – Making it easy for employees to donate financially to various causes, either on a one-time basis, or on an ongoing basis via automatic payroll deductions.
Match Employee Gifts – When the company matches the monetary donations from employees, even to a set amount, this doubles the impact and inspires employees to give.
If it makes no business sense or runs contrary with a company’s established culture and goals, a CSR program will not be sustainable, and the social impact of the program will be less than optimum. To ensure that the program will thrive, set up the CSR program strategically in line with company business goals and the dominant business culture.
You need to have a balanced and well-planned approach to a strategic charitable giving program, so ask yourself these types of questions:
Is this CSR program financially feasible for our company?
Will we have enough of an impact to justify the effort and investment?
How can we effectively mine business benefits out of charitable efforts? (Do not be ashamed to use your CSR program as a source of positive media, talent recruitment or savvy accounting.)
Is the company set up to support this charity fully?
Is the culture of charity or philanthropy already in existence at the company or does this need to be improved?
Are the top-level managers visibly supporting these efforts?
Of course, even if each of these questions garners a positive result, you need to ensure that your CSR plan is run efficiently. The proper management of finances and employees is a huge priority. Every department of your business needs to be run efficiently and monitored and reviewed to ensure maximum growth. This is certainly true with corporate giving programs, and this process can be made far easier by enlisting the services of a partner company that specializes in the management of corporate social responsibility programs. As the manager of your company’s CSR program, using a partner organization allows you to spend more time encouraging managers and employees to participate and also gives you some extra time for your own personal participation in charitable giving.
Sebastian Troup enjoys writing about philanthropic solutions for businesses and non profit organizations. For additional information about the importance of business philanthropy, or to find some corporate giving programs, please go to the Truist website today.