3 ways to amplify the impact of your CSR program
Corporate social responsibility is great for your bottom line.
You might not hear this too often, and for good reason. The wins that come alongside being socially responsible are often associated with the benefits of cost savings and risk management. Most times, especially for smaller companies, a dollar value is not assigned against the wins resulting from these efforts.
Cost savings – companies that have successfully amalgamated sustainability into their corporate strategy can witness less wasteful use of resources such as water, electricity, paper, etc. that saves money. A less direct example would be how CSR serves as a great employee engagement tool that helps attract and retain employees – reducing employee turnover costs.
Risk management – reputation is of utmost importance to any business. Your reputation defines how likely customers are to buy from you and support you in the long run. Being socially aware and showcasing your sense of ethics for society can insure your brand against risks such as boycotting of your products, negative social media campaigns, etc.
These are pretty obvious benefits. But these savings do not entirely encapsulate solid ROI.
A lot of companies, while building their CSR strategy, do not think through ways in which they can look beyond small gains and achieve a solid increase in their profit margin. Many shy away from talking about CSR and profits – but hey, there is absolutely nothing wrong with CSR that works for both you and the society.
Busting a myth: ROI for CSR cannot be measured
Back in 2015, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program, which enables employees to share their professional skills with companies in developing countries, generated a 300% ROI. Over the years, success stories like this have permeated through a world that perceives CSR as anything but an ROI generator.
Do you have a system in place to measure ROI for your CSR programs?
Many companies don’t. While they realize the inherent benefits of being socially responsible, the task of determining the ROI of CSR looms large before them. This is one of the biggest barriers to building a strong case for CSR – as well as getting stakeholder alignment across different levels of leadership.
But while it still feels ambiguous to many, calculating ROI is very similar to how most companies typically gauge the performance of their core business strategies. Back in 2018, Rise Fund, an impact-investing fund for growth-stage companies, and the Bridgespan Group, a global social impact advisory firm produced a methodology to predict ROI from CSR. We’ll talk more about this and how to measure your ROI, in a later post.
Let’s take a quick look at how you can amplify the impact of your CSR programs.
Taking CSR one step further at a time
Through a robust CSR policy, you can drive your capital to programs that are expected to yield social and environmental benefits as well as profits. There are many ways in which you can amplify the returns that come out of these programs:
- Communicate your CSR successes: Leverage the creativity of your marketing team to ideate innovative ways to integrate CSR into your marketing efforts. Promoting the good that you do works wonders in attracting loyal customers and improves your brand reputation drastically.
- Build meaningful relationships with partners: If you have impactful CSR initiatives at your helm, chances are, your partners would love to join in and share the goodness too. Collaborate on initiatives that resonate both with you and your partners to foster a sense of camaraderie and improve business relationships.
- Attract investors through robust ESG reporting frameworks: With a huge portion of wealth being transferred to millennials, younger investors are fast entering the investment landscape. With their laser-sharp focus on ESG (Environmental, social and corporate governance), the new wave of conscious investors require that brands build robust ESG reporting frameworks to demonstrate their value to potential investors.
These three points directly play into enhancing your market performance and ultimately, your ROI. All the variables that help measure your performance – sales revenue, market share, profitability, competitive advantage, customer satisfaction, and loyalty – are the by-products of your efforts to amplify the impact of your CSR strategies.
The bottom line
Devising a corporate strategy for CSR that drives ROI requires concerted effort and creativity. But executed well, the rewards for both company and the community are aplenty.
What impact are you driving at your organization with CSR?
At Goodera, we’ve helped over 200 corporates measure and communicate the impact and ROI of CSR, ESG goals, and virtual volunteering initiatives. Get in touch with our team to learn how you can use the Goodera platform to automate your CSR lifecycle – right down to increasing your bottom line.
Welcome to the age of profitable responsibility.