Startups & Social Responsibility

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Startups & Social Responsibility

It’s no longer a question as to whether or not Corporate Social Responsibility is a value add for businesses. The value that stems from practicing responsible business is clear- for employees, the bottom line, investors, consumers, and society.


We’re now starting to see companies investing in social responsibility earlier. It’s much easier to invest in CSR early on in your company’s existence. Being a small company can actually be an advantage when it comes to managing CSR. Participation and engagement often reaches 80% and higher for smaller companies, likely because it is easier to raise awareness internally around these efforts, and smaller companies are more likely to have strong buy-in & values alignment across the organization. 


By instilling an authentic purpose, mission, vision, and CSR goal, you will strengthen the foundation that your company is built on. One of the reasons its advantageous to instill a social purpose early is that it is much easier to scale these programs once they’ve been established, then to put them in place and socialize them down the road.


Here are a few tips for getting started:

There are a handful of third-party memberships and pledges for startups and founders that want to make a public commitment to making giving back a priority, like Bcorp, Pledge 1%, and in Canada, the Upside Foundation. By joining these organizations, you can tap into a network of businesses that are in various industries, at different levels of development in their CSR programs and practices, which can be valuable for collaborating and determining what is right for your company.


It’s common for companies and their founders to be concerned about how they will instill and maintain their social purpose as part of their culture and values as they grow. Being a small, agile company, adopting software for managing how you give back is seamless. Another way to ensure that your program scales is to introduce new hires to the platform as part of the employee on-boarding process. This will immediately introduce them to the fact that giving back and CSR is a core value for your company.


You can start small by organizing company-sponsored volunteering events, or simply encouraging employees to share how they give back on their own time to the causes they believe in. Gradually, you can introduce more robust and policy-based programs that involve volunteer time off, donation matching etc.


Involve employees in the decision-making process. By making your CSR policy a collaborative practice, you’ll be more likely to develop a program that is engaging, and a true reflection of the values of the people within your company.


Challenge other startups and local businesses to get involved. A friendly sense of competition is a great way to maximize impact while making giving fun. Uberflip recently organized an event called Startuppong which challenged local Toronto area startups to a ping pong tournament. This single event raised 60,000 dollars for the SickKids Foundation!


Porpoise is a platform for managing and celebrating how your employees give back. If you’re a growing startup or mid-size company looking to spread a sense of purpose across your company, let’s chat! We can help you develop, implement, and manage a program that is a reflection of your company’s people and values.


Want to learn about a startup that is committed to giving back? Check out Porpoise client Front, who have started a Foundation, joined Pledge 1%, and offer a VTO program. They truly are a startup that is doing well while doing good! Front was recently named to the Forbes next billion dollar startups list, and have been named a Great Place to Work for the second year in a row.


Know of any other high growing startups that give back? Celebrate them in the comments below!

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