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Why and how to create CSR champions at your organization

March 17, 2021
A group of CSR champions wearing matching blue shirts embrace in a group huddle after volunteering in the community.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has fully established itself as a major priority for leading businesses, and today many leaders feel a growing sense of urgency to give back to society. As CSR has found its place in the corporate world, individuals at every organizational level are realizing that they can play a significant role in making a difference in their communities. 

But what makes a CSR program truly exemplary? They stand out because the entire company is made up of CSR champions.

Why you should build CSR champions 

There are many reasons to build a company of CSR champions beyond just the desire to do good. Have a look:

  • Improved employee engagement. Charitable giving efforts connect employees to their work, creating a more engaged workforce. When you succeed in making and maintaining that connection, that’s truly championship-level CSR. In fact, 88% of corporate leaders believe CSR programs boost employee engagement. These efforts can lend a sense of purpose to people’s jobs, which increases employee engagement.
  • Boosted reputation. CSR efforts can improve your company’s public image. It’s important that companies not only respond to issues their audience cares about but also let the public know that they are taking action on them. Through robust social media and PR campaigns, your company can spread the word and begin seeing results. After all, 82% of consumers prefer to make a purchase from a company that advocates for an issue they care about. 
  • Added customer loyalty. Studies show that 36% of customers will increase their spending with a company whose stances they agree with. If you need to raise prices somewhat to cover your CSR initiatives, customers will understand and still be willing to continue purchasing your products, knowing their spending is going towards a good cause. 

Another bonus that comes from a company of CSR champions is brand differentiation. Companies that invest heavily in CSR stand out from their competitors, which matters to consumers.

Finally, a champion CSR program encourages innovation. When you truly make a commitment to CSR, it forces you to look at your company through a different lens. Inefficient or wasteful practices will come under increased scrutiny as you start looking for ways to improve.

When you begin strategizing to implement a CSR initiative, first look inside your company before reaching out to collaborate with nonprofits. There may be ideas waiting for you right in your own break room: starting a recycling program, switching to biodegradable products, or committing to saving electricity in the office with timed lights are all great places to start.

How to start building CSR champions

CSR programs begin with a vision of how the company can contribute to making our world a better place. When you combine that vision with the strength, expertise, and energy of the company, you will create the foundation of a championship corporate philanthropy program. For new corporations, you can make social responsibility a part of your culture from day one. But for more established organizations, you can still create CSR champions by making your vision of social good part of your company’s identity.

The most effective way to turn all of your employees into CSR champions is to use their specific skills to contribute to worthy causes and support causes that employees care about. Choose a purpose or goal that relates both to their jobs and passions. The best CSR initiatives align the company's purpose and brand identity to produce a program that speaks to employees, executives, and community members. 

To get your employees on board, make time to let them put their plans into action. Let employees out early one afternoon every few months to do volunteer work, or take a whole day to do it as a company!

Once you’ve decided on a purpose and adjusted your culture to reflect it, you still need to get the message out to consumers. To accomplish that, embrace social media. Social media is most effective when employees generate and share content themselves, and as CSR champions, you should encourage them to brag about their efforts.

A final note about CSR champions

CSR champions believe in your corporation’s potential to make a positive impact. Create and empower these dedicated employees by creating plans to help them support the causes they care about and spreading the word to make an even bigger difference. To get started, speak with a Bonterra Corporate Social Responsibility expert to see how our corporate giving platform and strategic expertise can help your company rise to CSR championship status.

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    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporations
  • Corporate social responsibility