Corporate Social Responsibility Examples from 7 Socially Responsible Companies
Corporate responsibility is a huge priority for organizations the world over which is why we tapped into business leaders from a variety of sectors to get their best corporate social responsibility examples, ideas, and tips.
Socially responsible companies are commonplace in the modern business world because corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become more than an optional initiative – it’s an expected operating standard. The Economic Policy Group reports that the value of CSR initiatives undertaken by Fortune Global 500 firms alone totals around $20 billion annually. In fact, we’ve helped customers including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Salesforce, and Comcast, among many others, to help achieve their CSR goals through philanthropic team building activities (to learn more, check out our blog post).
Corporate responsibility also benefits businesses by helping to positively impact your brand image and promote employee engagement and retention, as detailed in our news article: Three Surprising Reasons CSR Has Become So Important in the Workplace.
And while massive multinational businesses often garner significant attention for their gargantuan corporate responsibility initiatives, you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to take on a CSR strategy – and reap the benefits that come with it.
That’s why we spoke with business leaders from seven socially responsible companies to get their insights on how you can easily implement CSR in your organization.
Here are their awesome Corporate Social Responsibility examples and ideas.
Offer Paid Days Off for Volunteering – One of the most low-cost ways for organizations to support CSR initiatives is by empowering their employees to go out and do some good in the community. The best way to do this? Offer them paid days off for volunteering – whether as a group or individually.
“Letting your employees allocate work hours to a good cause is a great way to give back,” explains William Taylor, Career Development Manager at Mint Resume. “I’ve worked with companies where each employee was given a paid day that they could use during the holiday season to volunteer at a charitable organization of their choice. It also helped us prioritize work-life balance, which further encouraged
At Outback Team Building & Training, we also offer our employee one Volunteer Day per year that can be used whenever they wish and for any pre-approved cause that they’d like to dedicate their time to. We also allow large groups of employees to take their Volunteer Days simultaneously so that they can volunteer together. For example, last year, our Director of Marketing organized a group volunteer day where our staff got together to make lunch-kits and headed out into the community to distribute them to those in need.
Donate a Percentage of Your Profits – There’s no simpler way to support causes, non-profits, and charities than by providing cash. And many companies opt to simply donate a percentage of their profits so that the better the company does, the more they’re able to give back. Providing a direct correlation between hard work and doing good for others is also a great way to incentivize your employees.
Whether you’re rounding up to the nearest ten cents on a sale and donating the difference, or donating full percentage points from your profits, there are plenty of options to make this work.
It also makes great business sense. And that’s exactly the mindset of Calloway Cook, Founder at Illuminate Labs.
“I always recommend businesses consider donating a percentage of profits to charity and this is something my business does,” says Cook. “The important business consideration is that pledging to donate profits is a much smaller financial risk than donating revenue. If you pledge to donate a percentage of revenue to charity, you’re committed to donating even if your business is in the red. But by donating profits, you can safely and proudly do so when it’s a positive time for both your business and the recipient. It’s a great way to show customers and consumers that your business is working hard to make the world a better place.”
Match Employee Contributions – Many businesses work to support their team’s individual charitable work and donations to causes they’re passionate about by matching contributions. This can be done either by matching dollar-for-dollar donations, or chipping in the hours value of time dedicated by that employee to volunteering.
At Accelerated Growth Marketing, the company’s Founder, Stacy Caprio, has implemented this system as a way to create a synergistic relationship between her employees’ donations and those of the organization.
“One great CSR idea is to match employee charity contributions up to a certain dollar value or salary percentage,” explains Caprio. “This encourages employees to give to a great cause while giving them reassurance their dollars are going as far as possible with the company’s backing. It’s also a great way to support a cause and give more than you’d be able to as a company or individual alone because now you have the support of your employees or company to help your dollars go further.”
Offer Gifts in Kind to Charitable Organizations – While donations of time and money are awesome options for your CSR strategy, Gary C. Smith, President & CEO at NAEIR, says there’s another way to give back. This one can also benefit businesses as well: gifts-in-kind. And given that his organization has distributed more than $3 billion in products donated by 8,000 U.S. corporations to more than 110,000 non-profits, he understands the value it can bring.
“It’s no secret that CSR programs are good for business as well as communities,” Smith says. “They improve employee engagement, increase customer loyalty, and elevate corporate brands. But while most companies build their CSR programs around monetary donations and employee volunteerism, there is another form of giving that many overlook—namely, making in-kind product donations.
In-kind giving is ideal for offloading overstocks, obsolete merchandise, discontinued products—even returns. Just because some inventory no longer benefits your business, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be very useful to those in need. And there are ways to optimize the donations you make, including tax benefits, inventory management, and protecting brand value,” he continues.
At Outback, we have a program called Outback Cares where we will donate a free $1,000 hosted activity to a qualifying charity, non-profit, or cause so that it can be added as a raffle prize or silent auction item. To see Outback Cares in action, check out this case study: How Loblaws Employees Raised Over $18,000 for Charity with the Help of Outback Cares.
Participate in Community Activities – There are always a ton of charitable initiatives taking place in your community that you and your team can participate in and fundraise for together. That’s the approach taken by communications platform Beekeeper.
“At Beekeeper, we focus on employee engagement and internal communications,” says Alexandra Zamolo, Head of Content Marketing. “That’s why we feel that it’s so important to openly engage and communicate with others in the community.
If you’re wanting to engage your team and have your community identify your brand as one that truly cares, take part in a walk for a charity or a cause. Not only can you assist financially, but you can make this a fun competition for your employees. Provide a prize, whether it be free lunch for a week or a longer break, for the employee who gets the most sponsors. This way, you’re not only helping the community, but your team is bonding and engaging over this friendly, beneficial competition,” she continues.
Get Your Team Members Involved – If you’re looking for a CSR initiative that your employees will truly get behind, then it’s a smart idea to get them involved in the process of deciding what it will be. This worked extremely well for one organization we spoke with.
“In October of 2015, we had an employee approach us asking why we weren’t doing anything for Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” explains Yaniv Masjedi, Chief Marketing Officer at Nextiva. “We didn’t have a good answer, but we asked her what she suggested we should do. The next day, she came back and suggested we partner with the Mayo Clinic to raise both awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Her suggestion quickly led to an official partnership with the Mayo Clinic. They even sent members of their team to our office to educate our team members about breast cancer.”
He continues, “We raised $27,000 for Mayo—all from employees. And then our CEO, Tomas Gorny, heard what was happening and had the Gorny Foundation match the donation. In just a few days, we raised $54,000. What started in 2015 has grown since then. We now call it Nextiva Cares. We’ve held food drives, toy drives, and a variety of other fundraisers. It’s become a big part of our company culture and how we engage and retain our team members. My favorite part of the story is that it came directly from one of our team members. She was right that we could do more as a company. A lot of people have been helped because she spoke up.”
While employees may get proactive in bringing forward ideas, your organization can also take the lead on this process by polling employees on causes they’re passionate about or CSR ideas they might have using a service like SurveyMonkey.
For even more insights into how to get your team involved in your CSR strategy, check out our news article and podcast, How to Generate Enthusiasm for CSR from Within Your Organization. In it, we speak with our very own CEO, Murray Seward, to discuss the importance of CSR, why encouraging your employees to drive your philanthropic initiatives is so important, and how you can put it into practice at your own organization.
You can also get your team involved in CSR with a philanthropic team building activity. At Outback Team Building & Training, we offer a wide variety, such as:
- Hardware Harmony – In the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of people don’t have a home to call their own. But with Hardware Harmony, your team can support a charity that assists those in need of affordable housing. In this activity, you’ll all break out into teams to play in fun, musical-themed challenges to earn household items and hardware which you’ll use as instruments. Then, you and your team will rehearse for a grand finale musical performance before donating your “instruments” to be used as supplies and tools to help put a roof over somebody’s head.
- Charity Bike Buildathon – Get your group together for a Charity Bike Buildathon where they’ll give back to those in need while sharpening their business skills as the same time. Together, they’ll build and decorate bicycles to donate to a local children’s charity. But before they donate them, they’ll need to develop and present an advertising campaign to the rest of the group.
- Wheelchairs for Charity – In this fun, high-energy, and engaging team building activity, your group will come together to build, test, and donate wheelchairs to a charity of your choice. And in doing so, you’ll be able to do something good for those in need while creating lasting memories together.
- School Supply Scramble – Every child deserves a good education. That’s why School Supply Scramble focuses on providing underprivileged kids with the tools they need to succeed in school. Together, your team will compete in a series of education-themed challenges to collect backpacks and school supplies which they’ll donate to a children’s charity.
- Random Acts of Kindness – Sometimes, all people need is a quick smile to help brighten up their day. And with Random Acts of Kindness, that’s exactly what your team will provide them with. With this philanthropic scavenger hunt, your group will head out into your city and perform random good deeds for people in the community.
We can also customize our programs to meet any charitable goal your organization might have.
Make Small but Impactful Changes in Your Own Office – Corporate responsibility doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can sometimes save money. By doing small, “green” things in your own office, such as swapping in high-efficiency lightbulbs, you can save money on electricity bills while reducing your environmental footprint.
This is the approach being taken by tech company Mailbird. The organization’s CEO, Andrea Loubier, explains:
“We are deeply involved in green initiatives. It’s something that I feel very strongly about, so I try to pass on these values to my company and team members. And just a few simple changes can make all of the difference when it comes to reducing your footprint. For example, as an email client, we need to really think about the emails that we just decide to randomly print. That paper usage can really build up, but once you get into the habit of printing everything, it can be difficult to break. So, that’s why you can take things a step further. Remove the printers from individual offices, and have all documents sent to one shared printer that is in a public space. Knowing that everyone will know how often you’re clicking that ‘print’ button may make you really consider how necessary it is.”
If your organization is looking to create a CSR strategy, there are ample ways to donate time, money, products, or resources to charity – whether in little or large volumes. How does your organization give back through corporate responsibility? Let us know in the comments section below!
Learn More About Charitable Team Building Activities That Can Compliment Your CSR Strategy
For more information about charitable team building activities that can help boost your organization’s CSR strategy, just reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.