Steps to Effective Corporate Social Responsibility
January 9, 2013 by Akira Hirai
Define your messaging. Don’t strike blindly at different goals, such as preserving rainforests one quarter and then investing in a community project the next. Come up with causes that resonate with your business culture, research the kind of support they need, then pick one and stick with it. One is enough for a small business – and don’t feel pressured to donate more funding or assistance than you can afford.
Involve your customers. If you haven’t picked a cause yet, come up with a list of alternatives and ask your web site visitors and Facebook fans to vote on which one they would like to see you support. Or actively seek their assistance, such as bringing old but usable technology into your store so that you can donate them to students in underfunded schools. Make sure you offer a potential reward, such as holding a raffle for all participants.
Create a scorecard. Make sure it features achievable and measureable goals and keep it visible on your site, tracking your progress. Be honest about any setbacks – you want the tone to be authentic, not promotional.
Use social media. Don’t just tell your customers what you’re doing; solicit their ideas, experiences and concerns to get them invested in your projects. Make sure you use multiple digital platforms – such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and a YouTube channel – to reach people with different media preferences.
Partner with a third party. Forming an alliance with a non-profit will not only lend credibility to your efforts, but let you benefit from the non-profit’s greater experience in fundraising and philanthropy. The alliance will also offer an opportunity to blend customers and networks.
Seek publicity. If you’ve never sought media coverage for your business before, this might be the time to start. Send out a press release about any contests, events or fundraising drives – and reach out to media outlets that present on green topics as they’ll be apt to give you positive coverage
Repurpose your CSR reports. Using charts, stories, and photos in your annual reports and newsletters will appeal to stakeholders and shareholders alike.