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But it’s not always clear what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives a business should run with. There are potentially innumerable options to choose from, but only a fraction of them will be just right for any specific enterprise. If you’d like to launch a CSR pretty soon but aren’t sure what kind of project would be perfect for your business, you can come up with one by measuring alternatives against these 7 factors:
AffordabilityYou may have grand dreams for the neighbourhood in which you operate or a certain segment of the country’s population. But you can only make such dreams come alive if you have a budget that’s big enough to realize them. So, before settling for a CSR project, be sure that your company can fund it. You don’t want to punch a big hole in your business’s accounts just because you’re trying to do good.
Compatibility with Your Mission and VisionYou want your corporate philanthropy to be easily associated with your brand in people’s minds. One way to ensure this is by pursuing initiatives that are in sync with your business’s mission and vision. For example, if you’re an IT company, you’re probably aiming for lots of people (maybe millions) to use your products in the medium to long run. A smart project that aligns with this would be to sponsor computer literacy training for young children or provide vital IT infrastructure to schools and universities.
ImpactThe greater the positive impact your CSR scheme will have, the better it will be for your brand. Of course, what constitutes ‘great impact’ largely depends on the public’s perception. But it’s usually not that hard to appreciate. While you’re going for something you can afford, do what you can to derive decent results for every naira you spend on your project. If it’s a public enlightenment campaign, you’ll have to find the best ways to connect with as big an audience as possible given the limitations of your budget.
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Brand VisibilityIt’s true that CSR activities are primarily about “giving back to your community”. But wouldn’t it be great if you’re also able to boost your brand’s visibility while improving the lot of the public? Consider the opportunities that your set of possible projects would give you to point people back to your business. If a couple or handful of options meet the other criteria, settle for the one amongst them that allows you to shine the spotlight on your brand. Just be sure to not lace the whole exercise with marketing; doing that will turn people off.
SustainabilityYour chosen initiative should be able to stand the test of time. It’s also a good thing if it has minimal negative effects on the environment. The world has awoken to the importance of the latter of these two understandings of sustainability, and it demands more of it from corporations. Conformity with this expectation often leads to greater social approval—which will bode well for your business.
Possible PartnershipsSometimes, CSR projects yield better results for all parties involved if they are the result of collaborations between multiple organizations. Think about the benefits that could accrue to your business if you work together with another entity to achieve the objectives of your CSR. The nature of the partnership should depend on the sort of project you’re looking to execute. For example, if it’s a medical outreach, you may get the support of a medical aid agency. Collaborating with another business may be a good idea in certain instances.
LegalityWhatever CSR intervention you go for, make sure it abides by existing laws. If you’re uncertain about the legality of any aspect of your preferred CSR, you should seek the opinion of a legal practitioner who’s well-versed in such a matter.
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Final WordsCorporate Social Responsibility efforts are commendable, especially when they meet the pressing needs of their targets. When weighing your options for a CSR that works for your business, think about how they line up with the criteria we’ve talked about here. That’s a sure way to find the best of the lot and rule out alternatives that would be a needless drain on your resources. Featured Image Source: 1st Formation
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