Why CSR Is Not Just for Corporations
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the commitment by businesses to behave ethically and take responsibility for their effects on environmental and social well-being. While larger businesses (aka corporations) have seemingly endless resources at their disposal, do not let the name fool you – every business, whether big or small, should have a CSR strategy.
Beyond the obvious “doing good is good for business,” here are four reasons small businesses should invest in CSR:
Your customers and employees care – a Lot. According to a 2016 Employee Engagement Survey from Cone Communications, 51% of employees won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong social and environmental commitments. Additionally, a 2017 CSR Studyalso from Cone Communications found that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about. And while the majority of the US population cares, Millennials as a generation care even more. A study from Deloitte found 70% of Millennials say a company’s commitment to CSR would influence their decision to work there.
- You have skills and resources that are valuable to nonprofits. Most nonprofits rely heavily on grants and cash donations to fund their programs and operations. Nonprofits are also realizing tremendous value by tapping into the non-monetary resources of their corporate partners. Whether you excel at marketing, HR, IT, finance, or have a technical skill such as plumbing, space design or language translation services, small businesses offer a wealth of resources that can help reduce a nonprofit’s operation costs.
- You can become a true leader in your community. Most large corporations support multiple nonprofits at both the local and national, and even sometimes international level as they have to cover their entire business footprint. They help set the tone and lead by example, however small businesses are uniquely positioned to rise up as authentic community leaders by committing to give locally and inspiring other small businesses to do the same. Small business owners can leverage their local Chamber of Commerce’s Community Engagement Committee or the local affiliate of the Hands On Network as a platform to amplify their message.
- Collective Impact – the whole is great than the sum of its parts. When individuals or small groups work together to address social issues, they create bigger impact than if they worked alone. Whether you contribute to a local collective impact initiative, such as Companies for Causes or Strive Partnership, or get involved in a larger movement like Pledge 1% or 1% for the Planet, you can magnify your impact on the issues you care most about when you pool your resources together.
The bottom line is that your business doesn’t have to contribute a great sum of money or organize a large number of volunteers or donate the most innovative technology to drive change and impact. Small businesses that make a commitment to helping their communities, whether big or small, will realize meaningful returns on their social responsibility investments.