CSR Is More Than Philanthropy

social responsibility

For many people, when they think about Corporate Social Responsibility, they imagine cutting cheques to charities and volunteering time for various causes in the community. These are certainly two important and impactful aspects of CSR, but for many companies their Corporate Social Responsibility programs take on a much broader scope. 

At Porpoise we think of CSR as a company’s responsibility not only to communities and the environment, but to their employees as well. Companies have a responsibility to put policies and processes in place that put purpose into action, and foster environments that are conducive to positive change. 

Although CSR programs may share similarities between each company, they are still unique to the company that runs them. They become a reflection of the culture and values of said company. For example, some of our clients believe in the importance of employee health and wellness as a pillar of their CSR initiatives. These companies run exciting fitness challenges that result in a healthier, happier workforce. 

Here are few of the many activities that can be encompassed under the umbrella of CSR:

  • Volunteerism
  • Corporate granting
  • Employee donations
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Sustainability initiatives
  • Human Rights
  • Health and Wellness
  • Customer Care
  • Supply Chain Management

Within these categories, there are a number of different levers companies can pull to create change. Some companies choose to focus primarily on some of the above areas more than others. This is natural and makes sense because some businesses inherently touch on certain areas significantly more than they do others. There are several policies and procedures companies can adopt to ensure they are playing their part in doing well by doing good. Additionally, there are more often than not ways for companies to engage employees in these initiatives as well. 

Regardless of the CSR initiatives that your organization chooses to focus on, there are a few important characteristics that the best CSR programs should hold. 

First, it’s important that they be goal based. Having a goal associated with your programs is important for understanding where you’re headed. Measure against these goals will help you remain aware of where you stand in relation to where you’d like to be. 

It’s also essential that your social impact programs are a reflection of what matters to your company and employees. If your programs are built around focus areas and causes that are important to your employees, it is more likely that they will resonate with them, which inherently increase participation, and ultimately impact. 

Finally, be sure to share the existence of these programs, and celebrate the impact that they produce both internally and externally. There are a number of people who are looking for responsible companies and examples of how they are doing good. Employees want to be proud of their workplace, investors are looking for brands with a social mission, and customers (and prospective customers) want to support responsible brands. To ensure your impact is distributed properly, share it in the form of stories.

For your programs to be engaging and impactful, they need to be fresh. Think outside of the box. It can become a defining aspect of your brand, your culture, and ultimately your success. Today’s strongest companies; the Patagonia’s and Salesforce.com’s of the world, are creating magnetic workplace cultures that are driven by purpose and action.

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