Giving back to the community is extremely important for businesses today. Investopedia says regarding social impact, “It is not enough for a company to sell products (or services) consumers want at prices they are willing to pay – companies are now expected to demonstrate that they care about more than just profits.” The way that your company can do this, is by creating a CSR plan.
CSR, corporate social responsibility, is when a business assesses its impact on society and how its actions can help improve it for the better. In fact, there are countless studies of businesses improving because of their plan to create a social impact. Customers are more loyal, employees are more devoted, and the brand name can reach further distances when a company decides to give.
Here at ANS we believe that giving back to our local community should be high priority. We have found that there are three best practices for creating a CSR Plan. Outlined below, you will find these three plans, as well as the positives and negatives for choosing each of them.
1. Choose an organization that matches your mission and support them by donating.
This may seem super simple, but the truth is, it is. The only tricky part about this CSR option is deciding which organization is the best to support. Take a look at your company and evaluate if there is anything that may be negatively affecting society. Whichever organization you choose to support should help compensate this negative effect. For example: At ANS we strongly encourage companies to market to their customers through direct mail. Although there are many positives about using direct mail for marketing, it does require companies to use a lot of paper. ANS addresses this by supporting recycling through a local community partnership.
- Takes less of your time
- Could be less expensive than other CSR plans
- The organization you support is already recognized
- Builds connections with that organization and its partners
- If given a considerable amount of money, then you’ll qualify for a Tax Deduction
- Not much brand recognition as a donor
- No hands-on involvement within the community
- Little to no involvement of employees
- Harder to receive publicity for community to know of your good deeds
2. Give free product, services, or mentorship
Although not as simple as donating, you can capitalize on what you do best. This CSR plan constitutes giving a free product, service or mentorship to a group that needs it most. Again, the tricky part is picking the right cause to give to. For example: Campbell’s Soup created a special can of soup that provides a day’s worth of nutrients. They feed thousands of hungry mouths by giving their product. Tom’s Shoes gives a pair of shoes to someone in need, after every purchase.
Here at ANS, we do not have a tangible product that we can give, so we offer our services and mentorship to the local community. In the last year we have provided free social media marketing for three local start-ups. We have also provided mentorship to two of the local universities, Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University. President of ANS, Jill Williams, mentors a group of 15 female MBA students once a week at UVU. ANS also provides internships in marketing, accounting, public relations, data analysis and sales to students who attend both universities.
- Could be the most cost effective, depending on time/cost of employee involvement
- Involves the strengths of employees and can improve company culture
- Publicity potential
- Builds portfolio
- Not a lot of brand recognition, dependent on the group/cause you choose to support
- Takes time of employees away from regular jobs
- Publicity potential is not ensured
- Smaller possibility of tax-exemption
3. Create your own CSR campaign or event that speaks to you!
This is known to be one of the more complicated CSR plans to choose from, but it’s also known to be extremely beneficial for any company. The most important part of this plan is choosing a social cause you support. The social cause should be something that can help create some kind of movement to bettering society.
One of the most successful CSR campaigns is by Dove. It first started as a social campaign that has now evolved to be its most influential marketing strategy. They began a movement of defining “real beauty” and it has helped thousands of women across the nation with self-confidence. Not only has it helped Dove gain social awareness, but it has also given them a very strong brand recognition, an increase in employee satisfaction, and extremely loyal customers. You can imagine that this would also convert to an immense increase in sales.
- Community involvement increases
- Creates strong brand recognition and loyalty
- Higher employee morale and employee involvement
- Improved connections
- Can become a leading factor in increased sales
- Very time and resource consuming
- Takes time of current employees, or increases need to hire employees specifically for the campaign
Every business should show their involvement with giving to society by creating and executing a CSR plan. Its benefits are endless, but you can also count on an improvement of your overall joy at work. Knowing that your company has more purpose than just sales, but to improving others’ lives gives emotion to us all.
Want help marketing your CSR campaign through social media? View our social media packages, here.