Beyond CSR: Acting natural

We’ve all seen companies that try to do the right thing but miss the point a little – Giving for an awareness day will mean nothing if you don’t act on it throughout the year. In this blog, Amy looks at how companies can make genuine change in Kirklees.

CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility, has been a hot topic in recent years as businesses see the benefit in more ethical business practices. For some businesses, this has been an overhaul of supply chains and waste management, while others have simply implemented recycling in the office, or chosen a charity of the year as part of their CSR strategy.

How can companies appear genuine?

I’m afraid that question puts the cart before the horse. If you focus on ‘being genuine’, then any promotion of CSR will look forced and unnatural. It won’t come across as a company that truly cares.

For any CSR you do, ask yourself, “Are we doing this so we can say that we did, or because the company really supports it?” It’s very difficult for a CSR initiative to appear genuine when there isn’t any supporting policy to back it up in the workplace.

CSR as part of company identity

Which values does your company strive for? This goes beyond honesty and integrity. Look at how you run your business. You’ll have a moral & ethical approach to how you work, and certain issues will mean more to your company culture than other.

If your company has an environmental commitment, you might look at funding carbon reduction or conservation projects in your local area for example.

Another company could believe that investing in young people is vital to seeing businesses grow. So, in addition to employing apprentices, they could fund community outreach and skills projects for young people in Kirklees.

There’re too many organisations to choose from!

Once you’ve narrowed down your chosen issue, there’s still a lot of work to do. Many companies either lose time to researching local groups, or simply donate to larger groups which already have funding.

By working with One Community, you can lean on our local expertise and find groups that are often missed by independent donations. We can work with you to set the conditions of a dedicated grant or include your donation as part of a community grant pot.

You’ll be invited to panel discussions to hear applications from a range of charities. Many groups apply for smaller grants, and you might be surprised by how far they can make the funding go.

In the end, CSR funding should be as individual as the company donating. There’s no magic wand, or single approach that’s right for everyone. To get the most out of donating, you have to believe in the cause you’d like to fund just as much as the organisations you’re funding.

Amy Williamson, Marketing Officer, One Community

Amy has over 8 years of experience in B2B and charity marketing. She has worked with a variety of companies in Yorkshire to improve their profile both locally and nationally. This has included organisation, and promotion, of charity events and CSR outreach in the business sector.