Corporate Social Responsibility – what it really means

A few weeks ago we spoke about the fact that there are more opportunities than ever for businesses to find their…

perfect match when it comes to their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partners, getting the chance to work with charities and voluntary organisations which play such a vital role within our local communities and gaining so many additional benefits themselves in the process.  This week we thought it might be interesting to look at the area of CSR from a charity’s perspective hearing exactly what it means to them and just how essential it is in allowing their work to continue.

Emma Hallam of Leicestershire-based Alex’s Wish has been a regular visitor to us here at RDZ PR and both we and our sister company, The Awards People, have been working with the charity for a number of years.  She has been a guest on ‘The Sofa of Success’ and at ‘The Badass Bistro’ in the past too and in her video blogs have given us some very interesting insights into what CSR looks like in practice and how charities are able to raise their profile amongst the local business community and beyond (you can see the latest of these at https://www.theawardspeople.co.uk/emma-hallam-from-alexs-wish-joins-rach-in-the-badass-bistro/)

We asked Emma about her thoughts on CSR and why it’s genuinely now so much more than just a box ticking exercise for businesses.  She told us, “These days’ consumers have so much choice and showing them that your business gives back to your local community is an effective way to build brand relations.  CSR really can set your business apart from the competition, evolving from being a luxury to a priority across all sizes of business.  A key driver of CSR is engaging your employees through charitable activities – it helps with staff motivation and is a great team builder.   As a charity Founder myself I’ve witnessed this many times and seen what positive impact it can have on everyone involved; so much so that companies tend to want to carry on with their efforts and do even more than they initially thought possible!

“It’s important to note, however, that CSR is not always about having big plans or that it’s just for the big corporate companies.  It’s open and available to everyone, including one-man bands and small-medium sized businesses – and you can start small, especially in the beginning.   We love working with all sizes of businesses and know that each can truly gain real value back.

“CSR is a great brand booster.  It helps drive client and employee engagement, helps with staff motivation – it’s a win, win for the business and the charity and above all else, it can be a lot of fun and bring an element of pride and satisfaction to the workplace.”

In terms of just how important a part CSR plays in the future of charities like Alex’s Wish Emma added, “We have been fortunate to have received so much support from local businesses.  The majority of our funds raised come via these relationships, either through businesses choosing to sponsor our events to help us cover our costs, taking part in the events, donating their time, organising their own events or joining our growing business club.  Our Board of Trustees are also local business owners, so this is another great way to get involved.

“We rely heavily of the local business community to help drive our mission forward to conquer Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy for all.   Our charity certainly wouldn’t be what it is to date without this support, and we are eternally grateful.

“We always take the time to really understand why businesses want to do CSR and work within their objectives, ensuring they too achieve what they need.”

 

Let’s not shy away from the fact that RDZ are a PR agency and our job – on behalf of our clients – is to raise profile.  There are few better ways to connect with your audience than to show them that business as usual for you is about much more than the pounds and pence on the bottom line.  Engagement is, in our experience, massively enhanced by sharing stories of how your business is helping to make a difference outside of your immediate commercial world.

Regardless of whether your particular focus is on people, the environment, or indeed on our four-legged friends the fact that you are taking the time to help causes which affect so many people or animal’s lives never goes entirely unnoticed.

Undertaking your CSR seriously will make your business richer in many ways from reaching out to new connections to significantly increasing employee satisfaction, but of the greatest value of all is realising the actual difference your contribution makes to the projects you are funding and to those who benefit directly from your involvement.

If you would like to find out more about Alex’s Wish then you can visit their website at https://alexswish.co.uk/.  If you are looking for ideas on how your business can start their own CSR journey then get in touch with us here at RDZ PR and we can set you off in the right direction.