In honour of us winning a Charity and Community Award this year, we decided to share our top 10 CSR tips for small businesses.
It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but it does take considerable effort.
The results are not only rewarding in terms of the difference you make, but CSR can bring in and retain customers. It can boost staff morale too. Studies have revealed that CSR is responsible for over 40% of a company’s reputation. It certainly cannot be ignored. CSR covers initiatives such as charity relationships, employee welfare, the community and sustainability.
Without further ado, these are our top 10 tips.
Sharing is caring
Each business has resources or capabilities that can support charities and/or communities. Renting office space or donating essential stationery are a few examples. Support doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of physical cash. Think about what skills your company has and see if you can share them. Are you an agency who would like to offer some expertise or maybe some advertising? Or a retail business with access to extra products?
2. Make sure the strategy is mutually beneficial
CSR should always benefit both ‘parties’. Part of your CSR plan could benefit a charity or maybe the planet. Either way, it should be positive for both sides. A charity, for example, could benefit from funds or support. The business will be at an advantage; they can win customers by proving that they are not all about profit. Similarly, the environment wins from a lower carbon footprint.
3. Involve Colleagues
Cake sales, Christmas jumper days, staff parties – the possibilities are endless. CSR is great for the wellbeing of employees. These events are simple to run and don’t have to cut into work hours. Sharing your CSR policy with employees will allow them to feel more involved. One survey identified the importance of CSR for employees. 67% of respondents said they would prefer to work for a socially inclined company.
4. Choose local, and don’t forget small charities need help too!
There are a huge amount of worthwhile causes you could select for your company to support. Local charities don’t always have a huge fundraising platform. Also, your staff (often from the local area) will have a connection to them, encouraging them to naturally feel more supportive. Smaller charities often allow you to make a big difference. With less support behind them, company fundraising and efforts go a huge way. You can see the difference you and your employees make.
5. Spread the Word
Tell people about your work, it is a must. It could raise the profile of a chosen charity. If you have selected a small or local charity, this can be imperative for them. Spreading the word is also a good PR opportunity for your business, demonstrating how you contribute. Making your customers aware of your CSR achievement is valuable for your reputation.
6. Treat CSR as a priority
Not an afterthought! Most businesses see it as high importance to include CSR as part of their business plan, yet it is often a wishy washy section with little detail. Everyone benefits when you put CSR higher up the agenda. Staff enjoy fundraisers and a general feel-good factor, charities benefit from donations and support and the company benefits from demonstrating it put others alongside profits and not below.
7. Don’t be false
Choose a charity you have a real connection with. Maybe you have a family member who has had support from a local hospital, or are animals your thing? You could even ask your staff to vote for the charity they wish to support to keep them involved. Or maybe there is a charity which relates to your business in some way. For example, a coffee shop could choose to support Fairtrade.
8. Don’t forget about sustainability
We’ve spoken a lot about charity support here, but equally as important is our impact on the planet. It is difficult to be carbon neutral, but as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Make changes to your office carbon footprint in stages. Recycling cardboard and paper are simple steps to get you started. It is also worth considering company vehicles and whether you can organize a cycle to work scheme for staff.
9. Think about where your products are sourced from
This depends on what your company buys or sells. For vending, many of the products are straightforward. Tea, for example, will state whether its Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certified. Do you use sustainable wood or paper? Businesses don’t always consider where their products come from but it is a part of the company and therefore should be addressed.
10. You don’t have to make sudden changes
Some people see CSR as a big job, but it can be implemented over time. For example, you want to aim to be a zero-waste company. It takes time, but one month you could sort out plastic, and then aim to reduce paper waste in the office the next. Within a few years, you could reach your goal.
A bit about EdUKaid
This summer, we won a Charity and Community Award for our dedication to and support of EdUKaid. This little charity is based in our offices, they work with some of the most disadvantaged communities in Tanzania. Focusing on education, EdUKaid renovates schools, build pre-primary classes and employ pre-primary teachers. They also sponsor the poorest students through school and college courses. In addition, EdUKaid provides WASH projects for schools, building latrines and creating more hygienic environments. Overall, EdUKaid’s main goal is to improve the educational prospects of children in the Mtwara region of Tanzania.