The most charitable time of year coincides with the holiday season. We give change to carolers, donate to coat drives, and even spend our spare time raising money for local charities. Despite all this, a recent study shows individual charitable monetary giving has dropped around 11% since the early 2000’s. Some experts believe that a large part of this dip is due to the Great Recession, which resulted in the populace being more careful with their money. Fortunately, companies have been contributing more in both employee volunteering and monetary donations. In 2016, corporate giving made up 5% of all donations and these companies are supporting causes such as education, human services, and health services. The idea that businesses should be involved in the betterment of their communities, environment, and society as a whole is called corporate social responsibility or CSR.
Why Participate in Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporations and small business that participate in CSR can make a real difference in their local communities. Companies that invest monetary and non-monetary giving to their communities have a positive reputation. According to Better Business Journey, 88 percent of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society. CSR can also result in better employer-employee relationships and recruitment efforts. Job-hunters, especially Millennials, want to work for a company they can support and will support them.
How to Make a Difference
Now that you understand the concept and benefits of corporate social responsibility, how do you go about starting a program at your company? It can be as simple or as complex as you like, but here are a few starter tips:
- Think Local: When starting out, it might be a good idea to start small and locally. Reach out to local organizations and ask them how your company can help. Good places to start are food pantries, Veterans’ organizations, and homeless shelters.
- Make it Accessible: If you are putting together a volunteering opportunity, consider making this part of the paid work day. Employees are more willing to volunteer their time if they know they will still be getting paid for this time away from their normal work.
- Send a Clear Message: Use this opportunity to send a clear message both internally and out into the community that your company cares. Send it out on all social media networks and even include it in your newsletter if appropriate.
- Keep it Going: A CSR project cannot be a one-time thing. It needs to become an integral part of your company’s culture. Build relationships with your chosen charitable organizations and tell them to contact you with any needs.
You may be surprised at how well your new program catches on. You may find that you have more volunteers than opportunities. That is a wonderful problem to have, so continue to look for more opportunities. If all goes well, you may find it beneficial to adjust your company’s mission statement or policies to reflect the spirit of charity your company has recently adopted.
If your company is looking for benefit education, financial literacy, or help navigating ACA regulations, call a benefits consultant today.