What Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Corporate responsibility is sometimes known as corporate social responsibility, or CSR for short. It is defined as “the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions on society and the environment above and beyond its legal obligations, through transparent and ethical behaviour.” (www.gov.uk)
But surely CSR is not only for multi-national conglomerates, but these corporate behemoths are the ones who should be shouldering the burden. Yes, that’s true, but as corporate behemoth, Tesco says “Every little helps!” (See what I did there?)
How Can CSR Benefit Small Businesses?
As a small business or the boss of a rising SME, you know what life can be like. It’s almost as if time is like sand slipping through your fingers. Everyone comes to you for help, advice and answers to even the smallest of questions. So with this in mind, how can we small business owners even begin to contemplate giving something back to society through CSR when there never seems to be enough hours in the day?
You Don’t Have To Donate Money!
Somewhat surprisingly, one of the key things I discovered when I started my own business, was that it was indeed possible to give something back. Luckily for me, as a new business owner, that doesn’t always have to take the form of money! One can dedicate other precious commodities, too. Namely, your time and talent. Donating your time or providing a service which utilises your own, unique skillset can be just as beneficial, if not more, as a cash donation.
It was just over seven months when I started my business, but I was already helping The Countess Mountbatten Hospice with the events they run. You can read more about their Entrepreneur initiative in this blog post.
Networking via CSR
I will let you into a little secret that all small businesses need to know when it comes to CSR. Giving back gives you a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. Not only does it help a good cause, but it also great for networking.
For example, on the 17th March 2016, I am sponsoring a horse race at the upcoming Property Mile Handicap. I am advertising my business and also giving money to this great cause. I will be helping at the event and be networking with a group of potential clients and last but not least having a lot of fun!
Building Relationships via CSR
The Property Mile Handicap is not the first horse race I have sponsored, nor will it be the last! As a result of my involvement in CSR, I managed to find two new clients. That in itself covered the cost of my initial investment three times over. At the end of the day, people buy from friends of friends and what better way to get to know someone!
With that in mind, don’t get me wrong – not all volunteering is glamorous. I’ve also had the good fortune to:
- park cars at the Hospice on a freezing November night for firework night
- make up 1000 lanyards with other volunteers for the Guinness World Record attempts
- sort through clothes before a Swishing event, and yes I said Swishing!
I find that at every CSR event you become involved with, you can always find a different group of people to meet and talk. In this case, I meet fascinating people, and we often chat about the Hospice and where the money raised will be going.