Written by Suzi Scher
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 101
- How do Corporations incorporate their philanthropy into their everyday businesses?
- Corporate Giving Strategies
- The Benefits of Engaging in CSR
- About Supur
- About the Author
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 101
CSR programs are inherently a type of philanthropy and marketing strategy that connects business and community, providing win-win scenarios for both the nonprofits and the business entity. Companies have a desire to "give back" and strive to be good neighbors and corporate citizens. Many modern consumers prefer to buy from companies that are making a positive difference in the world—and those numbers are only growing. Given a choice between purchasing dog food from a company that supports your local humane society and seems to genuinely care about dogs and one that doesn't, the choice is easy. Research even suggests that most people would pay more for the same product to ensure they're buying from a socially responsible company.
In 2021, with growing concerns over local, national, and international issues, more organizations have launched initiatives focused on giving back to support the needs of their local communities and represent their employee base.
In addition, businesses have understood and realized that even small contributions of funding, time, labor, opportunities, goods, and services can have a substantial impact. Employees are attracted to companies that engage in these ethical practices, and companies find that they can also improve employee morale, boost community quality of life, and inspire new advocates for a generous company.
Today CSR can (and does) encompass everything from the environment and global climate change to initiatives for seniors, kids, the arts, animal welfare, and hunger. CSR also serves as brand activism, which often leads to important conversations about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the incorporation of ethical supply chains.
How do Corporations incorporate their philanthropy into their everyday businesses?
Historically, CSR was an artful dance of nonprofit organizations submitting their fundraising letters, making their cases and the important "ask" of specified dollar amounts to help fulfill their missions.
At the heart of a good CSR program is social consciousness around interactions with other groups, businesses, and individuals in your area, especially how your organization affects, supports, and gives back to the community.
Corporations would weed through their many requests, adopted the feeling that this was a "nice" thing to do, and they recognized and chose a handful of requests to fund. CSR used to be (and still is, in some instances) a "see and be seen" club. For example, if you were a bank, and all of the local banks were sponsoring a specific event or organization, they didn't want to be the one left out. They didn't want to be the "one" that didn't show up. So, while there was some peer pressure involved, the company also confirmed that this must be a good investment of our funds. It is was also viewed as completely operational and "optional." So, in tough times, when layoffs happen, employees who ran these operations have often been let go.
Fortunately, years later, we find more developed, mature, and impactful CSR programs. These programs also have many names and are also known as Corporate Citizenship or Community Relations, Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG), and philanthropy. They have become much more strategic in their approach. CSR programs are more embedded in the fabric of the organization.
Corporate Giving Strategies
- Corporate SponsorshipsCorporations donate funds towards the cost of a specific activity or event in exchange for publicity of some sort (ex: Golf Tournament)
- Matching Gifts - A company matches (or doubles or triples) the amount that their employees contribute to an organization.
- Employee grant stipends - Employers give their employees a granted amount of money (ex: $100) to donate to an organization of their choice.
- Community grants Organizations apply to corporations for a direct donation
- Volunteer grants Employees contribute a certain number of hours to an organization, and their employer gives a corresponding monetary donation (ex: $35 per hour spent volunteering)
- Volunteer support initiativesCorporate employees donate time and specialized support to nonprofits (ex: joining a Board of Directors or providing support project management support)
The Benefits of Engaging in CSR
CSR Programs today are more embedded in the fabric of the organization.
Businesses, both large and small, recognize that they can enact positive change. It is a rapidly growing practice of aligning social good programs with corporate goals and strategies. Everyone these days seems to want to give back, but giving strategically and impactfully is not easy.
The benefits can be large and small.
Other than giving the much-needed dollars to nonprofits to organizations, Corporations have the opportunity to:
- Improve Employee Engagement, Retention and Morale
- Boosting their Brand
- Builds Trust and Strengthens their Relationships with Clients and Customers
- Enhances strong partnerships with the community
Today's modern consumers are savvier than ever. They want to do business with companies that are socially conscious and socially active. Not only that, they have the tools to find and engage with companies that are making CSR a priority and which businesses are taking it seriously, from supply chain sourcing to internal pay equity standards.
Supur is a social impact consultancy focused on helping startups and small businesses do good in ways that benefit the bottom line. We develop authentic CSR programs to help future-proof your brand and business. Learn more about our social impact services or contact us for a free consultation!
About the Author
Suzi Scher is a career-minded, thought leader who has spent her career, both in Corporate America, as well as, a variety of Non-Profit organizations. She is a skilled project manager and change management leader. She loves to help organizations increase efficiencies and get on the cutting edge of technology.
In addition, Suzi’s passion is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
She has broad and diverse experience as a civic-minded and CSR professional spanning more than 2 decades. Suzi is skilled at aligning corporate objectives with philanthropic initiatives. She expands CSR & ESG programs to strengthen company branding and increase employee retention. She is a natural leader in Corporate Social Responsibility, has worked in the field throughout her career and seen the industry evolve.
Suzi is a Colorado native. She loves her family and friends, the mile high city, the mountains and travel around the world, meeting all kinds of people, and enjoying different cultures.
Find her on LinkedIn!