6 steps for getting CSR right

4. Inspire

Motivate your customers to do more by showing the impact their combined actions can have on a community. Use your website, social media, videos, blogs and, if relevant, in-store messaging to share the story. Invite customers to volunteer side by side with your staff. 

People care more about people than businesses so be sure to share the message of the impact your project had on local people in the community. If the message comes across as a PR exercise then your customers will switch off immediately.

5. Find your fit

Make sure the projects and causes you back are ones which resonate most with your staff and customers. Youll likely have a great local presence with strong ties to the community, so look close to home to find inspiration. You could raise awareness and help identify a good fit by inviting customers to vote for the project they would like to see supported the most, either online or in store.

6. Promote and celebrate

Be open with your successes and failures to encourage other companies to follow your lead. Collate hard business metrics like increased customer loyalty, sentiment and spend.

A simple way of doing this could be to use coupons, with customers who have a link or have supported a particular community project receiving a coupon to redeem in store. Staff feedback should be easy to measure alongside the impact on productivity and reduced sick leave. Dont be afraid to publish these figures. Your customers appreciate that you are a business and there needs to be a return. 

Through being more transparent about your activities, collaborating with staff and customers and sharing authentic, tangible outcomes, you can make CSR a real differentiator for your business and a reason for staff to be proud of where they work. 

But clearly, achieving a return on investment should not be the only reason a business chooses to become more environmentally and socially responsible. In a world of scarce resources, doing the right thing by the planet and future generations is not just business sense it’s common sense. 

Nick Davies is the founder of Neighbourly.

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