The Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility

adult-business-close-up-433495We’ve heard it on all the blogs – having a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is incredibly important.

Today’s consumers prioritize transparency and social responsibility when making purchasing decisions. They want to know that the company they are supporting takes a stand on the same issues that mean the most to them. In fact, according to a 2017 Cone Communications study on CSR, 63 percent of Americans want businesses to take the lead in driving social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation. Additionally, the study found that 78 percent of those surveyed want companies to address important social justice issues, and 87 percent will purchase a product strictly because a company advocates for an issue that they care about. On the flip-side, 76 percent of those surveyed will refuse to purchase a product or service from a company if they learn that the company supports an issue that contradicts with their beliefs.

The cause you choose is up to you, and we all know that it’s impossible to please everyone. However, the 2017 study discovered that social justice and environmental issues are among the most pertinent issues according to today’s consumers. Nonprofits, you understand the importance of a commitment to philanthropy. You live and breathe philanthropy. You dream about philanthropy. However, for all of you working in the for-profit sector reading this blog, it’s vital that you have your sights set on a CSR strategy and, not only that, but that you’re involving your employees in this strategy.

Incorporating a strong CSR program is important in today’s companies’ efforts to employ and retain Millennial workers. Why the focus on the Millennial worker? Because, soon, Millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce. As a for-profit company, you have the ability to make a huge impact in your local community or, think big with us, the world.

How can you get started?

  • Partner with an organization that shares your values and that will resonate with your employees. Maybe your corporate office is located in a low-income neighborhood. You may want to focus your philanthropic efforts on the less fortunate by volunteering at a food bank regularly or holding fundraisers for development projects.
  • Get your employees involved. Start a committee, engage in peer-to-peer fundraising or offer your employees paid time off specifically for them to volunteer their time.
  • Let your community know what you’re doing by putting out a press release or email blast. Not only will it make you look great, but it will also draw attention to the organization(s) that you are supporting and encourage community members, customers and partners to contribute to the cause. Spread some love!

The big takeaways from this: it’s important to take a stance. As an organization, you have a responsibility to use your power for good. Does your company have a CSR strategy? If you’re a nonprofit, do you work with any for-profit organizations that team up with you as part of their CSR strategy? We want to hear about it!