HR & Management

Corporate social responsibility: Four tips on where to start

5 min read

16 January 2018

The Christmas rush of finalising budgets and planning office parties is firmly out of the way. It’s a time of year when many bosses start putting their corporate social responsibility plans together. But where do you begin?

Corporate social responsibility is important in two ways. Firstly, it can benefit wider social and environmental issues by spreading awareness and raising donations for causes.

Secondly, it can affect your reputation as a business, which is considered just as important as profit margins – especially since a third of consumers admitted to choosing brands based around just that.

But it’s not just companies that have to worry about reputation when it comes to charitable giving. Last year it was reported that the UK dropped out of the ranking for the ten most generous nations worldwide. Through corporate social responsibility initiatives, your business can support charities and the greater good whilst giving reputation a boost.

So, where to start? I’ve outlined four simple ways that organisations can do more for corporate social responsibility in 2018.

Take time out to volunteer locally

Volunteering can say a lot about a company’s sincerity. Take some time out of the office as a team each quarter to volunteer at a local community. It’s a great way to meet new people, encourage team bonding and boost productivity and morale. Sites like Benefacto find local opportunities and build you a bespoke volunteering plan to suit your business needs.

If that seems too tricky, some companies also offer extra annual leave days for employees who want to volunteer for the charity of their choice. Why not consider offering this in your business? It may be easier than trying to block a whole team’s calendar – even if it’s only one day a quarter!

Purchase business goods through fundraising sites

Whether it’s office stationary or gifts for clients, you’ll always need to buy something for your business, so why not donate to charity at the same time? Give as you Live work with over 4,200 retailers, helping to raise money for UK charities. Every time a purchase is made through the website, a percentage of the purchase price is donated to a charity of the company’s choice at no extra cost.

You can set up a company account and get employees to collectively raise money – whether they’re booking company travel, buying pens, or even purchasing snacks from Tesco. Companies using the platform also have access to a dedicated fundraising hub to keep all initiatives in one place – and can set targets too.

Encourage employees to cycle to work

Cycle to work schemes are great for keeping employees fit and healthy, which can improve productivity around the office, while also reducing your company’s environmental impact. But encouraging employees to make those first steps can be difficult. Cyclescheme is a tax-free Cycle to Work provider that lets employees spread the cost of bikes and bike accessories from cycle retailers  via a salary sacrifice deduction scheme.

All companies need to do is sign up to the service, which is free of charge, and promote it to employees.

Offer your services or products for free

Pro bono work is easy to integrate into your corporate social responsibility strategy as it doesn’t require strenuous preparation. Services like GoProBono can connect organisations’ skills to charities or individuals that require them. You can list your organisation for a small annual fee and search for local charities that may need help. If you don’t want to use a service, put the word out on your company social media accounts instead!

These are just a few of the many initiatives out there to grow and support a corporate social responsibility strategy without having to involve big fundraising projects or take a lot of your company’s budget.

With such simple and cost effective options, there’s no excuse not to be doing at least one these. By rolling out simple and straightforward initiatives, you are well on your way to becoming a more ethical, social and environmental-cautious company in 2018.

Greg Hallett is managing director of Everyclick