Choosing the right corporate social responsibility partner for your company is essential. The two need to align on values, engage an audience and innovate communities. Supporting the right cause benefits your business and the cause that you select, however, deciding to support a charitable organisation requires much investigation before committing.
When choosing a CSR partner, you need to identify the cause or theme that you will like to promote, ensuring that the charitable cause is aligned with your company values. Your company mission statement and that of the organisation you choose to support should share common themes.
Before committing, you should research the cause you want to support. Ensure that the interests of the organisation are reflective of your business interests by understanding their philosophy, associations and action in the community. Check if the organisation you want to support lobbies for a cause with a political undertone. You might not want your business to be associated with social hot topics. While some causes can boost the optics of your business, others can cause PR issues if it appears that your business is supporting a cause that is considered immoral, corrupted or socially unappealing.
You need to assess the credentials of your partner NGO. It is critical that you are engaged with a credible organisation. Depending on the regulations in your location and the location of the organisation, you should assess whether:
- the activity being carried out by the organisation is permissible
- if they have NGO certified registration
- if they offer income tax exemptions
- if they have audited financial statements
- if they have enough experience to handle the proposed projects
- if they are eligible to carry out the proposed CSR activities
- if they have any achievements or awards to their credit
- If they have governance aspects, like their board composition, how active the board is, etc.
Organisations with good governance are proven to perform better and show greater accountability for projects. Evaluating your partner on these basic requirements in the initial stage will help you avoid any surprise elements post engagement.
Engage an Audience
Leverage the opportunity. Who you choose to associate with can draw attention. If you choose the right cause for your business, it can get the attention of the clients that you want. Your choice of NGO should be an active and positive influence in the community. When your company name is associated with positive action, your business optics are greatly improved. Good PR and visibility through association can boost your business sales and convert leads to sales.
Look for Innovators
Working with NGOs that are changing your local community in creative ways always get attention. Campaigns that grab attention by working differently can be the inspiration for new business ventures, improved facilities and long-term changes. Education programs, environmental activism and humanitarian efforts can be approached in creative ways. Supporting NGOs that are serving your community and getting good reviews can help your business appear as a forward-thinking innovator, which can bring you new business opportunities.
You need to budget your investment. Your estimated budget should be sustainable. Whether you choose to support a specific campaign or make long-term donations, you should have the costs built into your budget considerations. While your donation will be tax-deductible in most cases, it still needs to be made from a reserve fund based on actual liquidity.
Engage your Employees
One of the biggest benefits for your business is the motivation that supporting an NGO can bring to your employees. The boost in morale for your employees can be invaluable to your staff retention, new talent attraction and productivity. Giving your employees time to volunteer and the opportunity to engage with a cause will help them to view the work that they contribute to making your business a success in a generous way. The hard work they do for you is, by extension, benefiting a cause that they feel is worthy. From walking dogs and shelters to supporting children’s healthcare needs in war-torn regions, if your employees feel positive about the values of the company, they feel positive about their work.