If you follow EVG on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed some new faces—dog faces—among the human posts. Last weekend, the EnVeridogs team participated in the Mutt Strutt 5K to raise money for the Greenville Humane Society. A few weeks ago, a sweet, docile dog was found wandering near the office, and my co-workers were eager to raise the money to treat his heartworms and find him a good home. But long before that, I’ve known many colleagues to foster cats and puppies and donate their time to shelters.
While the immediate benefit of this shared interest is that I get to take a break many afternoons to play fetch with a visiting puppy, there is a greater potential waiting in the wings. Corporate social responsibility, a long-standing business method by which companies act to create some social good, requires passion like this. More and more CEOs are using their companies to tackle social issues, not coincidentally at a time when consumers are more interested in buying products from companies that are invested in giving back to society. At EVG, numerous individuals’ love of animals mobilized in the office and inspired a team effort at a local 5K.
Before you put “end poverty” on next quarter’s agenda, take a step back to figure out what opportunities best fit your business model and corporate goals. Here are some steps to get started:
- Choose something your employees are authentically interested in. When there is a personal connection and real passion behind your efforts, everyone benefits.
- Begin with a voluntary program. Keep your efforts organic and give employees a chance to grow into this opportunity.
- Look local. Start investing in your community before trying to tackle a global issue. Not only is this a more manageable goal, but it gives you an opportunity to meet face-to-face, make connections—potential first steps in lead generation. You may also enjoy witnessing the tangible impact of your efforts.
- Document and share! Tweet invitations, post Facebook photos, make a connection on LinkedIn and blog about the experience. Taking a break from talking directly about your products or services is a good a thing: you’re reminding customers of the spirit of your business and giving them a more positive image of your company.
The beauty of corporate social responsibility is that it benefits both your business and your community. You can establish relationships with fellow business owners, increase brand awareness through attending events and creating CSR-focused content, build consumer trust in your brand and improve employee morale and retention through these goodwill efforts. You can help your business by helping others.
Harvin Bedenbaugh – Editor