In the world of business, CSR has rapidly risen through the list of priorities for organisations, going from 12% to 93% over the course of 24 years. Social initiatives are now a core part of almost every business globally, and their impacts are felt every single day.
The list of CSR’s benefits are too great to list here – we also have already put that list together for you. But do you feel you have hit a ceiling in regards to your efforts? Maybe you aren’t sure what steps you can take next to improve your output? Well, we have put together three simple ways you can improve your organisation’s CSR efforts to create a greater impact in your community.
#1 – Create a constant feedback loop
You want your initiatives to have an impact. Whether it is staff volunteering at local food banks, donating to women’s shelters, or hiring from within the local community, you will be impacting people’s lives, strengthening local communities, and clearly demonstrating how much your organisation cares about others.
But to continue to stand out in your industry in terms of social value, you need to establish a constant feedback loop that ensures you’re always making the best decisions. This means analysing data from your initiatives to inform future strategies and decision-making, changing direction on the fly in an effort to generate even more positive social change. Social impact doesn’t require you to just be active; you need to be reactive, too.
Collecting data on your initiatives is only part of the battle. It is how you use this data that truly affects how successful it is. Without looking at what the numbers mean, you can’t be sure if you are having an impact at all. Analysing them as your efforts progress allows you to tweak them, improve your output, and prove you are achieving what you set out to do.
The more current and fresh the data you use, the more insight you benefit from. To achieve this, you will want to consider a system that makes it simple to collect, analyse, and report on your efforts. By putting data and analytics at your fingertips whenever you need them, you can do so much more.
#2 – Tie into your marketing
In business, reputation matters. Companies with a clearly defined sense of purpose are up to 50% more likely to expand into a new market successfully. And more than half of millennials would defend a purpose-driven company if people spoke badly of it. Not only is engaging with CSR the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, it is also good business.
But this has never been truer than right now. With COVID-19 ravaging communities, people are looking for businesses that are people- and community-focused. With all the inequality, misfortune, and devastation witnessed this year, consumers want businesses to establish a positive, uplifting, and socially conscious presence.
As such, it’s important for your organisation’s CSR teams to work alongside your marketing department to make sure your audience can clearly see the efforts you’re making. If improving lives and making a social impact is step one, sharing this with your audience becomes an essential second step. You can ‘signal boost’ your efforts, allowing you to reach an even greater audience. The further your reach, the more people you can help.
#3 – Focus on human stories
You want your CSR data and reporting to be easily understood and to evidence tangible, real-world impact. While your internal team may be well-versed on the UN SDG’s and understand what it means to have hit your target for goal number eight – decent work and economic growth – this might not translate to your audience.
But what they will understand is how amazing it is when your organisation hires 50 local people over the course of the year, and how joining your company meant one staff member could continue to feed their children during the tumultuous summer months. Or to hear how your work with the homeless community helped people put their lives back on track.
Your audience will respond best to real-life human stories. This is where data collection methods like surveys can be wonderful. They draw a line between your efforts and impact, providing powerful context as to where you’re improving real lives.
These are three relatively straightforward but powerful ways to elevate your CSR efforts. Even better, they can be set into motion today. Your efforts aren’t going unnoticed by the people they help; by making these small changes, you can bring even greater change to your community and world.
At Impact, we empower organisations to maximise their social and environmental impact. Providing a powerful reporting platform to collect, analyse, track, and report on all things social impact, sustainability, and CSR, we help your business stand out in your industry. If you have any questions, or would like a demo, get in touch on 0161 532 4752.