How Organizations Implement Corporate Social Responsibility
Organizations that implement a well-structured and thoughtfully planned corporate responsibility program are able to demonstrate trusted leadership in the business world and earn the respect of their customers. A "Forbes" article published in April 2011 cites Edelman's 2010 Goodpurpose Study that found two-thirds of consumers are inclined to buy products and services from an organization they know to be supportive of good causes. That figure is up 11 percent from 2009.
The first step organizations undertake when implementing corporate social responsibility is to identify the focus of the program. An organization with too many causes will have a difficult time managing them appropriately. Scattered interests also tend to backfire as the organization appears insincere. Narrowing the focus to one or two major causes enables the organization to become identified with these cause and the participants in the program receive more focused attention.
Corporate social responsibility involves financial considerations on a number of levels. For example, an organization should determine whether it will provide materials for a program, allow employees to participate in volunteer efforts during work hours or donate money to a cause. Organizations often hire people to oversee their corporate social responsibility efforts, and this adds to their cost. While the focus of corporate social responsibility is to benefit others, organizations must consider their own costs to ensure the program is fiscally feasible.
Organizations that are successful in implementing corporate social responsibility involve their employees. They encourage employees to use their skills to help the cause. For example, marketing staff might be encouraged to help a nonprofit with promotional efforts. The organization's information technology staff can have paid time off to help set up a computer system for a school. Organizations also solicit input and feedback from their employees about causes in which they have interests.
An organization implements corporate social responsibility to benefit the program's recipients, its employees and the organization as a whole. Information about the corporate effort must be shared with stakeholders such as customers, business partners and the community. Organizations that promote their social efforts through news releases, social media sites, networking events and public relations opportunities can be positively viewed by the community -- but only if they don't do it in an obviously self-serving way.