People are still reeling from the impact of the recession and businesses are cutting staff, production and corners. It is challenging to factor philanthropy and corporate giving into the equation when resources are limited and times are tough. And yet, there is increasing pressure on businesses to give back and participate in their communities in meaningful ways. As customer loyalties wane and people become increasingly leery of ‘big business’, now seems to be the time to develop a corporate social responsibility platform that is strategic and broad based. So, as a business executive, how do you reconcile these two opposing forces; how can you help your company to ‘do good’ on the cheap?
There are a lot of things that companies can do to give back to their communities that do not require an allocation of significant resources or funds. In fact, businesses can adopt corporate social responsibility initiatives that run the gamut – ranging from employee engagement programs to cause alignment campaigns. Below are some easy programs that any company can initiate very easily, and at little cost. In fact, if done properly and with a bit more planning and sophistication, these programs might actually result in increased revenues!
- Partner with a charity to match interested employees to volunteering opportunities. Employer supported volunteer programs can increase retention of top performers and even improve job performance.
- Develop a point of sale campaign or a customer fundraising drive with proceeds directed to a high profile cause. Leverage the charity’s media contacts to your best advantage so that you can reap the ‘halo’ benefit of doing good.
- Define your own internal corporate social responsibility standards and post them publicly on your website. Consider things like environmental practices, ethical standards and donations policies, and share your high standards with all of your stakeholder groups.