The title of the article next to an illustration of three employees volunteering

4 Easy Ways to Start Embracing CSR at Your Company

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an opportunity for companies to give back to the communities they operate in and boost their reputations at the same time. From creating matching gift programs to improving your company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices, there are several ways to get involved.

Review the following strategies and consider how you can incorporate them into your company’s operations. With the right mindset and intuitive social good software, you can navigate the ever-evolving CSR landscape with ease.

1. Familiarize Yourself With the Benefits of CSR

Before you create a CSR program, familiarize yourself with the rationale behind the movement and everything it can do for your business. First, embrace the fact that businesses are adopting CSR programs because of a clear demand — employees, customers, and shareholders alike want companies to be more socially responsible.

These statistics explain the rise in CSR-related initiatives and the profound impact they can have on your company:

  • 93% of employees believe businesses should lead with purpose. By embracing CSR at your company and letting team members participate, you can show employees that your company is driven by a worthwhile purpose that they enjoy being a part of.
  • 55% of employees say they would take a lower salary to work for a socially responsible company. This means that public, impactful CSR efforts that resonate with employees can improve your company’s employee recruitment, engagement, and retention efforts.
  • 77% of customers want to purchase from socially responsible companies. When you prove to the public that your company is actively engaged in CSR efforts, you can retain more customers and boost sales revenue.

As these trends show, effective CSR programs can help your company improve everything from employee motivation to your business’s reputation. Plus, if you use a CSR platform to track and measure your programs’ results, you’ll be able to easily report on and publicize your company’s impact to access these benefits faster.

If any of your company’s key stakeholders are hesitant to adopt a CSR program due to the necessary investment of time and resources, share these statistics and others like them to demonstrate CSR’s proven value.

2. Reflect on Your Company’s Values

CSR programs are more likely to be successful when they represent a company’s core values and public priorities. Value alignment helps employees feel more motivated to participate in CSR activities and ensures that your company will retain a vested interest in the program long-term.

Take time to revisit your business’s core values and think about ways you could naturally align corporate social responsibility programs with them. For example, if one of your core values is giving back to the community, you should prioritize corporate philanthropy programs and community service opportunities for employees. On the other hand, a sustainable food service company would be more suited to create internal energy conservation initiatives or a program that donates leftover food products to community shelters.

Brainstorm ideas for a variety of programs that would align with your company’s interests, then research other companies in your sector to see what type of CSR programs they have. Choose one idea to explore first, then save the rest of the list for future program development.

3. Start With a Matching Gifts Program

As you evaluate your options for potential CSR programs, consider developing a matching gifts program first. Employee giving programs are especially effective for increasing employee engagement, and matching gifts are the easiest employee giving program for businesses to facilitate.

These programs involve your company financially matching donations that your employees make to eligible nonprofit organizations, often at a 1:1 ratio. This means that if your employee donated $100, your company would donate an additional $100 to the same organization. Matching gift programs allow your company to support a multitude of causes while helping individual employees make more of a difference.

To launch a matching gift program for your company, follow these basic steps:

  1. Set eligibility guidelines for the gifts you’ll match. Determine what types of organizations will be eligible, such as 501(c)(3) nonprofits and educational institutions. Then, set a match ratio, minimum gift amount, and maximum gift amount. For instance, you might match gifts from $20 up to $2,000 at a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Choose a CSR platform. Corporate social responsibility platforms allow you to easily manage matching gift requests and the disbursement of donations. Additionally, they help you track and report on your company’s total philanthropic impact.
  3. Establish a matching gift request process. Choose a deadline for when employees should submit requests, such as within six months of the donation or by the end of the fiscal year. Then determine what information employees must provide about the gift and where they should submit the request, such as via your company portal.
  4. Let employees know about the option. Create official documentation that outlines the matching gift request process and eligibility guidelines for employees, then distribute it to team members when you announce the new program.

To encourage employees to participate in your new matching gift program, emphasize the benefits of matching gifts for both employees and the organizations they support. Focus on how they can make more of an impact on the causes they care about without spending more of their own funds.

4. Offer Incentives for Volunteering

It’s likely that some of your employees already volunteer regularly, while others would appreciate an incentive to do so. By launching a corporate volunteering program, your company can embrace CSR and boost employee job satisfaction.

Consider offering one or more of the following volunteer incentives:

  • Volunteer grants: Similar to matching gifts, a volunteer grant program is employee-driven. Your employees volunteer for a certain number of hours at a nonprofit of their choice and fill out a grant request form. Then, your company donates a set amount (such as $100 per 10 hours) to the same organization.
  • Volunteer Time Off (VTO): In addition to vacation days, some companies offer a few days of VTO so employees can easily fit volunteering into their schedule and get paid for their time.
  • Company-wide volunteer days: Group volunteer outings allow your company to help an organization, engage employees, and foster team-building all at once. Choose a nonprofit to work with, then bring employees out for a fun day of community service.

No matter which programs you choose, a robust CSR platform can help you manage volunteer activities and monitor the impact of both your company and individual employees. With this information, you can recognize employees who volunteered the most and encourage team members to engage with your CSR programs.

As you explore what CSR looks like for your company, take note of any charitable organizations you interact with that seem especially aligned with your values. Cultivate relationships with these nonprofits through corporate volunteering outings and conversations with their staff, and they could become long-term partners you can sponsor in the future. The more you learn about your employees’ charitable interests and organizations that align with your core values, the more easily you’ll be able to develop and maintain impactful CSR programs.