If you’re looking to show another side to your company and make an impact worldwide, CSR is an excellent opportunity. Not only will you be making positive contributions by helping those in need, but you’ll also benefit from positive business impressions, increased brand recognition, and a boost in employee participation and morale.
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Have you ever noticed that, as humans, we are naturally compelled to give back? In fact, it seems we are naturally conditioned for this instinct. Each Christmas, it seems we can never resist dropping our change in the Salvation Army’s red kettles. When a stranger says hello on the street and offers a friendly smile, it’s nearly impossible to not return the gesture. These responses come naturally to us and there is often a sense of immense personal fulfillment and comfort that comes from these simple acts.
In many ways, businesses and organizations function similarly. To most, corporations seem faceless; but we often overlook the fact that the core of any corporation is the people who provide products or services that we all use. Our personal instincts to give back translate naturally to our professional lives too. As more people are taking an active role in giving back than ever before, we want to do business with and work for companies who share our values and prioritize community and worldwide engagement.
That’s why the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has increased in popularity in recent years. CSR allows companies to form a vision for accountability, strategically integrating social and environmental concerns with their business operations for the betterment of society.
As more employees and consumers are becoming actively engaged in philanthropy and ethics, organizations have followed their lead by implementing new programs, investing in company culture, and expanding engagement.
Organizations are now finding that giving back and taking an active role both locally and globally is wholly satisfying and also comes with many residual benefits. Although no company is going to solve the world’s problems through CSR, there are countless benefits. Here are a few ways corporate social responsibility can enhance any business:
One of the most obvious advantages of CSR projects is the direct benefit to the community. Whether it is a local community service project or a company outreach to a Third World Country, CSR allows organizations to leave their mark and forge a positive relationship in ways that were typically unreachable in the past.
Organizations that participate in CSR projects are typically perceived as more community-focused and charitable than companies who have not placed an emphasis on social responsibility. A successful CSR project is able to make a profound impact on a corporation’s public image and maintain or restore a corporation’s relationship with consumers. Better Business Journey, a UK small business consortium, says that 88 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.
We spend a significant portion of our lives at our jobs and want to work for a company that shares our ideals and values us as individuals. One of the best ways corporations can foster good employer-employee relationships is through CSR. According to a recent Cone Communications study, over 67 percent of employees choose to volunteer when company-wide service opportunities are offered; and the vast majority of employees say they are proud of their employer when they are engaged in CSR.
Today’s young adults are increasingly favoring familial values over corporate. According to a recent poll from Fortune, millennials are more likely than generation X and baby boomers to say it matters if American businesses give back to society. With over 80 million millennials in the U.S. alone and the largest buying power of any generation, companies are competing earnestly for millennial market share. Millennials also prefer working for companies engaged in the betterment of society. A recent survey from the National Society of High School Scholars found that 64% of millennials would take a pay cut to pursue a career path aligned with their passions.