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5 things corporations can do to encourage CSR participation

March 01, 2022
Put together a dedicated task force like this group of volunteers by enouraging CSR participation.

In the past few years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become more and more of a priority for employees and employers alike. Approximately 70% of Americans believe it’s either “somewhat important” or “very important” for corporations to make a positive social impact. 

The sheer number of people who share this sentiment indicates a significant desire to work with companies demonstrating social responsibility and a positive purpose. That’s where CSR comes into play. Ranging from volunteerism to matching gifts, these programs help build a sense of community and engagement for employees.

To make CSR programs effective, however, the entire company has to believe in and adopt the initiative. How do you guarantee the necessary employee participation for a successful CSR program? Use these five tips to encourage your employees to give back and get involved.

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1. Focus on purpose

Employees are most likely to support your philanthropy if they’re invested in the cause. When you introduce new CSR initiatives to your employees, emphasize the larger purpose behind them. Why does your corporation support this specific cause? In what ways does this volunteer opportunity align with your company values? 

To accommodate the wide range of causes your employees care about, consider open giving programs that allow employees to choose which nonprofits they support. 

2. Make CSR participation convenient

Since many corporate giving programs take place during employees’ busy workdays, it’s important to provide as much convenience for them as possible. Find and implement ways to make CSR participation at work easier, such as:

  • Placing a collection jar on every floor. 
  • Designating department managers as the point of contact for CSR programs.
  • Using all-in-one CSR software to take your program online so employees won’t have to leave their desks to participate.

These simple actions can make a difference by encouraging entire teams of employees to start giving. For more ideas, consider asking your employees directly what processes you could simplify to encourage further participation.

3. Support relevant causes

If you don’t already have a specific cause to support in mind, look at recent events in your community to choose the right direction for your corporate giving program. For example, local or national disasters require urgent attention that your employees will want to help provide.

Prepare your internal implementation or management team for these types of short notice giving programs so they can get them off the ground quickly. For example, ask team members to prepare email templates that can be easily tailored or set up a standardized procedure for giving.

The urgency of relevant local concerns inspires participation, but the greatest gift of the program will be knowing that your corporation is playing an active part in helping your community recover and rebuild.

4. Communicate and inspire

Strategically communicating your CSR program to employees should be a priority. To inspire participation and support, clearly tell your team what your program is and exactly how they can participate.

Of course, merely stating details won’t engage all employees in CSR. Use these ideas to strike a chord and excite your team:

  • Tell stories of those who have been helped in the past. Share any thank-you notes your company received from previous projects to show employees the direct impact their CSR participation could make. 
  • Create diverse content across multiple avenues of communication. For example, consider sharing your CSR program in a monthly newsletter and sending a quick email out at lunchtime about donating.

To maximize CSR engagement, tack on creative reminders to internal company channels at the end of the day. Your corporation has a unique approach to internal communication, which means your management team will know what will best resonate with employees within your company.

5. Research and reflect

When your company completes a CSR project, reflect on its success. In our busy world of balancing business with community involvement, it’s easy to create a process and continue to follow it without giving much thought to how it could be improved. 

Implementing a successful CSR program requires input from your employees. Set up ways to solicit feedback, such as:

  • Organizing a round table meeting about what is to come and how past programs have worked.
  • Developing an open-ended employee survey.
  • Scheduling a manager meeting to brainstorm ways to motivate employee participation. 

When employees have a hand in developing your CSR programs, they’ll feel closer to and more engaged with the project.

Show appreciation for your employees and community

When companies create corporate giving programs, executive hearts are in the right place. You want employees to feel valued while helping the community thrive. When your programs succeed, don’t forget to show your appreciation for everyone involved, especially the employees who participate. 

If you want more information on how to employee CSR participation, download our guide, Four Trends Dramatically Reshaping Corporate Philanthropy.

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    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Employee giving
  • Employee volunteering