At Uplift 360, we increased our social responsibility and financial giving this year and have had a great response from our clients and friends.
It’s something we’ve considered for a long time but made the decision to do something about now. Why? Because we can, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s also a great way to encourage referrals, which is the life-blood of most small businesses like ours.
We became BIG Program Partners through the “Give Where You Live Foundation”, so that the underprivileged in our local community can benefit. We also love the micro-financing model “Opportunity International Australia” uses to fight poverty around the globe, so we are supporting them too. You can find out more about what we’ve committed to here.
The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility
I’ve learned a lot in the process of establishing the programs we’ve committed to. We’ve already noticed some huge benefits as a result of our social responsibility goals. We’ll explore some of these learnings in this article but first, let’s look at what social responsibility is and what it means to business.
In recent times, social responsibility has become a hot topic in business and for good reason. The term is used to describe an effort to improve society. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is about companies being responsible for the environment, society, and giving back to the community. Companies can show CSR in many ways, including donations to those in need, implementing environmentally friendly policies in their workplace, employee volunteer programs, and more.
Social responsibility isn’t just about meeting legislative requirements. It’s about going above and beyond the minimum acceptable standards. It’s about finding a cause your brand can align to and is passionate about so you can create a human connection with the people you serve. Businesses can show their humanity while doing their part for the environment, society, employees, and those who benefit from the support.
4 Benefits of Implementing Social Responsibility
1. Improves Your Brand
CSR increases your brand’s recognition and contributes to your public image. Whether large or small, your efforts can communicate a lot about an organisations ethos. A values-based approach to business helps you grow by developing a brand that consumers know, like, and trust.
We are in a position where we can give financially; however, other companies can contribute by donation of products, services, and volunteerism.
Your brand’s reputation benefits from the good deeds you contribute to your community. People buy from people! They want to buy from someone they feel an affinity with. By building a values-based business you humanise your brand and appeal to people who share your values. Those that don’t share your values or simply don’t care will shop elsewhere and that’s okay. Your ideal customers will feel good when using your services or buying products from your business if they share a heartfelt connection.
In today’s digital era, companies share their activities on social media platforms. Consider user intent when people spend time on social media. They are there to socialise, not to be sold to. Your CSR activities are the perfect source of content for these platforms. It’s where tribes of like-minded people hang out. You can use social media to connect with these like-minded people.
Perhaps paradoxically, we at Uplift 360 have decided to be less engaged with social media. That surprises many, given the industry we are in. We do share from time to time, but we’re not entrenched in it daily. Instead, we aim to build relationships that are more genuine with real humans. We want to build a community that really puts people first.
2. Increases Team Satisfaction
The way your team members perceive your business has a significant impact on its long-term success. Team members can be employees, contractors, or even other businesses you work with to fulfil your customer’s needs.
Conscientious, thoughtful people are the best kinds to include in your team and they are the people that are most likely to respond well to your CSR goals. People want to know they are making a difference to the world around them in some way. Working for a company that has a strong public image and values helps fulfil this basic human need.
Giving your team the opportunity to volunteer during working hours can create a sense of community within your organisation and connection to the causes you support. Your team members will gain motivation through these opportunities, which will result in a stronger team.
While we are not in a position to take this on right now, it’s certainly something we will explore in the future, based on some of the case studies I’ve seen. For example, the engineering firm Arup is known for its commitment to social responsibility. They have set up a partnering fund to support local community charities. Their staff has the opportunity to donate their expertise and skills to local charitable projects.
Team members who are actively involved in your community can also act as brand ambassadors. The more invested they are in your company, the more productive they will be, and will genuinely support your company’s vision and mission. For those that are driven solely by profit, YES, this can help your bottom-line.
3. Attracts and Retains Referral Partners
The best referral partners are those that naturally love people and love to help. They help people by referring them to others who can facilitate whatever it is they need. Great referral partners want to refer to reputable companies that provide excellent service. A strong sense of social responsibility enhances the likelihood of referrals.
At Uplift 360, we’ve intentionally designed our giving strategy based on our referral partner activity. Our intention is to attract more partners and create stronger relationships with those that already refer business to us. The purpose for us is two-fold. Firstly, it feels great being able to contribute to the causes we value. Secondly, it gives us a positive way to grow our business through collaboration with our referral partners.
Collaboration is a significant aspect of a good CSR program. For example, Sony contributes to the advancement of the Australian community by assisting youth and fostering their talents. The Sony Foundation collaborates with charities and initiates many unique campaigns that offer solutions to the problems that young people face. These include homelessness, severe illnesses, alcohol and drug addiction, as well as disability.
Corporate social responsibility strategies often have an environmental sustainability aspect to them. At Uplift 360, this isn’t something we have implemented into our business in any significant way just yet. I’d love to get your thoughts and opinions on this in the comments below. Here are a few case studies we’ve been reviewing to understand how it could work for our business.
Abergeldie has adopted CSR targets based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on key projects and company procedures. They are using their construction and engineering expertise to research ways to face issues like waste management and renewable energy storage.
Sony knows the significance of preserving the natural environment for future generations. They are combining their innovative spirit and eco-technologies with an aim to reduce their environmental footprints to zero by 2050. Their efforts include using lightweight, energy-efficient, compact designs that reduce power consumption and wasted resources. They are also committed to using recycled materials.
Over a decade ago, Arup launched their Sustainability Policy, through which they implement practices that promote environmental stewardship, economic security, and social betterment.
I believe these examples show how values-based businesses can improve their public image, promote innovation and partnerships, improve relationships with consumers, increase employee engagement, and strengthen consumer confidence in the products and services of a company.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.