The other side of giving

We’ve touched upon the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the past but this week we wanted to share with you some first-hand accounts we heard recently whilst meeting with long-time client Emma Hallam from the charity Alex’s Wish (www.alexswish.co.uk).

Emma came along to do a vlog interview for our sister company, The Awards People, on the subject of growing through awards success.  We chatted about how winning awards often leads to an increased interest being shown by both peers and potential supporters and how this, in turn, generally resulted in new enquiries being made from businesses into the charity.  This reminded us of similar conversations we’ve had with RDZ clients who have benefitted greatly from charitable support and other CSR activities, who have found themselves coming together with other like-minded businesses who share their ethos and enthusiasm for community support, fund-raising and team building.

Emma told us how a number of Alex’s Wish supporters had also reported business gains which they could directly attribute to their connection with the charity.  The three main areas which she heard mentioned most often were:

  1. Networking opportunities at charity events themselves

Balls, business clubs, sponsored events, sports activities – all well-attended events with large numbers of individuals and businesses striving towards a common goal, and, in the meantime, socialising happily with those in the room (or field, or golf course…) who share their desire to make a genuine difference.

 

  1. Connections and contacts encouraged by the charity

Even in cases where two companies do not meet directly at events, there are still opportunities for connections to be made.  Emma and her colleagues are always identifying synergies between supporters and putting them in contact with one another.  Of course, the initial conversations are made so much easier by both parties having a shared interest in the charity’s success.

 

  1. Use of the charity logo on literature, emails etc. facilitating conversations

There are many factors in the decision-making process when it comes to an individual or organisation choosing who they do business with.  Whilst personal taste may vary greatly, few would see charitable exploits as a negative and, therefore, supporters generally advertise their allegiance with pride.  Often a conversation starter, the appearance of the charity logo on emails and letters is a wonderful way to state what is important to the business as a whole and the employees who work there.

 

Now, all three of the above opportunities still require a significant degree of relationship-building to continue; there is seldom such a thing as a ‘done deal’ simply through commonality or referral.  What the association with the charity has done for the supporters in the case of Alex’s Wish was to put them in a good place to have meaningful conversations with the kind of people and organisations with whom they wanted to connect.  As most businesses, including ourselves, will recognise, genuine introductions of this nature are rare and, as a result, are valuable.  We can all spend vast amounts of time and resource raising profile and showing our target audience that our culture is one concerned with more than simply boosting profits.  Association with a reputable, admired charity is undoubtedly one of the very best (and perhaps even one of the least expensive) ways to illustrate that this is indeed the case.

The phrase ‘win, win situation’ may be a cliché but at RDZ PR we believe that it accurately describes most activities within the realms of CSR.  To put it more delicately, receiving – in the case of CSR – is a welcome by-product of giving!