Running a business with a strong social conscious takes more than making a couple of donations. Of course, the money helps the cause, but a socially conscious business can do so much more. This article shares how companies can be socially responsible.
What is social responsibility? When it comes to a socially conscious business, it means you are making decisions and acting in the best interest of society. This encompasses environmental, human rights, philanthropic, and economic responsibilities.
Social responsibility in business has many benefits. As we discussed in another article in this series, some of the main ones include:
- Increased Customer Support
- Improved Employee Engagement
- Tax Breaks
- Attracts Investment
- Greater Community Involvement
Plus, there’s the obvious advantage of the positive feelings you’ll get from corporate social responsibility. Knowing you’re making a difference and doing the right thing is its own reward.
This article will discuss in detail several strategies to help create a socially conscious business, including:
- Choose a social mission
- Make sure your mission complements your brand
- Hire someone to focus on social initiatives
- Establish measurable goals
- Share your program with the public
- Collaborate with like-minded organizations
Choose a Social Mission
Connecting your efforts with a cause you care about is the best way to motivate corporate social responsibility (CSR). The global pandemic affecting so many may shape your thinking about where to focus your attention. There is a definite need. At the same time, though, develop a mission that will appeal to you in the long term.
To be effective, your mission should:
- Be authentic
- Minimize harm
- Focus locally
- Promote passion
To get your employees on board, you can also solicit their input. Ask them to suggest organizations and causes to support. You might even put together a small committee to shape a social mission you and your employees can get behind.
Need help honing in on a mission? This Entrepreneur columnist shares how to find a social mission.
Make Sure Your Mission Complements Your Brand
Relating mission to a business brand has multiple advantages for the socially conscious business. For one, pursuing social responsibility in a way that aligns with your products and services can simplify your objectives.
An athletic footwear retailer might send extra stock to an organization that gets sports equipment to youth in third-world countries. Or a restaurant might partner with a group serving the food insecure that shares your belief that food is love.
Read our article CSR Success: How to Choose a Philanthropic Partner.
Hire Someone to Focus on Social Initiatives
Don’t just delegate the “meet social mission” task to an administrative assistant or intern and expect it to get done. Leaving it on your long to-do list as a small business owner could backfire too. Instead, hire someone solely focused on your CSR goals.
This may not be a full-time role, but you’ll be making someone accountable for the business’s social objectives. This individual will be able to give their full attention to the mission. That’s likely to see better results than adding CSR responsibilities to someone else’s already full plate.
Establish Measurable Goals
Yep, we’re talking about goals and metrics again. Setting clear, measurable goals makes you accountable and gives you a clear target. Plus, you’re a lot more likely to make a real difference if your goal is attainable. “Ending global warming” is great but not feasible. Instead, identify small steps that your business can take that will help to avoid climate disaster.
If they are measurable, you’ll have the motivating feedback of reaching benchmarks and seeing progress. Another advantage to the goals and metrics? You’ll have something to talk about in the next step.
Share Your Program With the Public
Your social mission is something to share internally and externally. Let employees, customers, investors, and the community know what you’re doing. There are many ways you can tell the world about your CSR program:
- Press releases
- Posting to your business website
- Social media
- Blog posts
- Creating a slogan and graphic that you can add to products or brand marketing
In addition to sharing progress, be transparent about any setbacks you might suffer along the way to becoming a socially conscious business.
Collaborate With Like-Minded Organizations
Do some research in your community to find others who share your mission. Search local directories to identify like-minded organizations. You might also make connections through your local Chamber of Commerce or neighborhood business associations.
Once you’ve found other businesses with a complementary social mission, review their business websites for background on their goals and efforts. Reach out to the appropriate contact. Find ways to connect your objectives and theirs. Working together, you may have an even greater impact with fewer resources required.
Collaboration also supports creativity, so you’re more likely to develop fresh ideas to support your mission by teaming up with other local businesses.
As a small business, you’re probably not in the position to offer unlimited time-off for volunteering as Deloitte does. But, your business can still take social responsibility and make a difference.
Feel good while connecting to your community, rallying your employees, and giving customers another reason to love your brand. With these tips, you can make a concerted effort to effectively build a socially conscious business.