How to build a CSR strategy for your business


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A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is vital for your business. It’s a great opportunity to show  your customers, employees and stakeholders that you care about tackling social issues. It demonstrates that you’re about more than just your profits. If you’re looking to attract top talent to your team, encourage customer loyalty and take a market lead, a good CSR strategy should be high on your agenda. And, most importantly, it always feels good to give back.

Whether you’re a national company or a local team, a CSR strategy will help your business stand out.

So, why does CSR matter? And just how do you build a CSR strategy that your staff, and your customers, will love you for?

What is CSR, and Why Does it Matter?

According to Business News Daily, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a great way to hold your business socially accountable. There’s no one right cause.  Many businesses choose the environment, education or putting an end to poverty. Each one is as worthy as the other.

Customers are increasingly looking to spend their money with businesses that want to  give back. In a Cone Communications CSR study, nearly 90% of customers said they’re more likely to purchase a product if  a company supports an issue they care about. Your CSR strategy will demonstrate that, as well as  bolster your public image.

A good CSR strategy is also instrumental in recruiting the top talent.   Employees are increasingly wanting to work for companies with a clear social purpose. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, and 76% of them have said they consider a company's social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. They’re looking for more than just a decent pay check.

Your CSR strategy will also boost  the morale of your current employees. Research shows that companies with a good CSR strategy have far lower staff turnover rates. Businesses with strong commitments to social change also see increases in staff productivity. Employee retention is always a key concern, especially as, according to CLC, replacing employees can cost up to 150% of the departing individual's salary. That’s quite a statistic.

How to create a CSR strategy to be proud of

A good CSR strategy should give back to a social cause, build brand awareness and attract customer loyalty. Here are our top three tips for building the best CSR strategy for your business. 

Think about what you’re good at.

When choosing causes to support, focus not only on the issues you care about, but the causes that your business has some knowledge in and connection with. For example, a law firm that acts for their clients in legal matters may support organisations helping asylum seekers. Causes that align with your business’s vision are far more likely to succeed.

What matters to your customers?

Supporting an issue your customers care about will really help your business. . It will also help to retain their loyalty. Ethical consumerism is an ever-expanding market. Customers aren't afraid to use their buying power to express their unhappiness with companies that don't practice CSR. 

A great way to discover  which causes matter most to your customers is to ask them! Do some research about your customer base. Find out what makes them tick. And then tap into it.  A great example of this is Lego’s switch from non-sustainable plastic to sugar cane Lego. A master stroke from a company that’s never fallen behind when it comes to marketing, or a good social cause.  A company that puts their customer's concerns  at its heart will  stand out from competitors.

You have to be authentic.

Your CSR strategy needs to show a real commitment and passion for your chosen social cause.  This commitment needs to come from the top, and filter all the way down.  CSR isn’t just a  tick box. If you treat it as one, your customers will see right through you. Do it right, or don’t bother doing it at all.

Authentic communication of your CSR strategy is also key. Your stakeholders will want to be kept in the loop and understand your plans so they can get fully behind it. Use your company website, press releases and social media channels to communicate your goals and actions so your customers can see your progress and follow your journey.

Remember, there’s no perfect way to build a CSR strategy. The best strategies are unique to the organisation and fit around the needs of both your organisation and the social cause you’re supporting.

Where do I start?

CSR is your chance to show your customers that you care, whilst benefiting your business at the same time.  A good CSR strategy will create greater customer loyalty, attract top talent and increase employee retention. To create your ideal CSR strategy you will need to use your company’s knowledge and skills, be led by your customer’s concerns and be embraced throughout the company, from the top level down.

Is your business based in West Yorkshire? Do you care about supporting the homeless and vulnerable in our community? If that’s a yes, get in touch with us to find out more about becoming a corporate partner and making Simon on the Streets your chosen charity! There’s no time like the present to start your CSR journey!

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