Here, at CSRgrowth – we eat Corporate Social Responsibility for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and this might come as a surprise but, we are always hungry for more. We never get tired of learning, researching and coming up with ideas that are innovative, life changing and actionable. We pride ourselves in being: young, experienced and visionary, and yes, before you ask, know that those adjectives complement each other.
In today’s article, we decided to share some of our best practices and tips on what you should consider before starting your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and what are some of the insights we offer.
Before starting, it is important to note that this is just a starting point, the article outlined today only represents some points and aspects everyone should consider and analyze, before creating a CSR strategy.
Also, another point that needs to be mentioned is that this is not a “fit all approach” and the article only offers some initial guidance before actually implementing and thinking of a strategy. As we said it before, and we will have to say it time and time again, CSR is not something that can be standardized. Each company, each brand and each organization requires their own CSR strategy, their own visions and their own act that will fit perfectly into how the organization is built and offers a strong plan towards where it is headed.
We always advise and recommend companies and brands to really take their time to analyze, interpret and be very aware of all the involvement, possible risks, opportunities and even threats that can arise before starting a CSR, ESG or Sustainability.
From our opinion, implementing and creating a CSR strategy is not something that needs to be tackled lightly and involves a lot of commitment and a well built strategy.
With all this, being said, we hope we did not scare you too much. Without any doubts, a strong, successful, CSR strategy can be implemented, but we like to be straightforward and honest and set clear expectations from the start.
Now, let’s get this article started. Here are our best tips and practices to take your Corporate Social Responsibility plan to the next level.
- Know What Causes Change
While in business it can be all facts and numbers, to really implement a successful CSR strategy, you need to know what causes and drives change.
You might think that it is not important to “move” people, but if you want your strategy to be more than just a business move, it has to come from a different place and it has to have a different view.
We are not saying that numbers should be neglected, we are saying that numbers should not be the definitive factor when starting a CSR strategy.
Your upcoming plan should include a vision that speaks to you, your company, your employees, your brand, your business model and especially new customers, stakeholders, business partners and what not.
Here are a few questions we recommend you should consider before implementing a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy:
- How would you describe change?
- What are the main aspects that drive a change in people?
- What are the main aspects that can cause a change in behavior?
- How do your customers, employees and all parts involved view change?
- How is your business viewed? Does it speak to others? What are they saying?
The last question can also be tied to one of our articles titled: “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) seen from the Customer’s Perspective. If you are interested to learn more, you can check out the article which offers a different view of CSR that might benefit your business or brand in the future.
- A lot of research is needed
While creating change and being open to it, seems very easy to do, you should know that that is just a pillar.
Before actually taking action, we will be straight forward and say that a lot of research is needed. A lot. A lot. And we mean, hours of questioning, research and creating possible scenarios, just to be open to doing it all again if you go down a road that you are unsure of. You have to have your facts straight, you have to know how to answer every question and you have to be prepared to do it all again if something does not fit correctly.
This is the foundation of a well, sustainable and successful CSR strategy but this is also the stage where most strategies fail.
Most companies fail at the very first step in creating their CSR plan.
They fail because they do not know what types of questions to ask, they do not know how to analyze the data they have and most importantly, they do not rely on research.
The best tip or advice we can offer is: rely on your research.
Are there any parts missing? We will tell you that you will always have some information missing but we advise you to know where you should seek and find that information. More often times that now, the answers you are looking for can either be found:
- in your organization
- in your employees
- in your customers
Rely on research.
- Rethink your actions
Now that you know a little bit about how to change behavior.
Now that you know a little bit about research and how to get it.
It is time to slowly take action.
In this stage, we adse you to rethink all your strategies again. Go back to the previous steps and rethink everything. Take all the time you need and try to find other potential paths from a different view. This will make all the difference.
In this step, your main questions should be:
- What are we trying to accomplish?
- What are our priorities?
- What are we trying to solve?
- Build and act upon your data
If you get to this step, you know you are on the right path. Here, once again, slowly, everything becomes a little bit more actionable.
The reason it becomes actionable is because, if you followed everything correctly, you have the data, you have the research, you reprocessed everything and now you are confident in your strategy and in your plan.
At this point our recommendation is to take all the information you got in the previous steps and use the power of story in order to present your strategy in a compelling way.
- Find your engagement team
We know that nothing great cannot be built without a dream team. At this point, our recommendations are easy to follow:
- Find the right people to execute.
- Find the right people to tell the story.
- Create a strong relationship that will drive and grow your strategy.
Do you want to learn even more? Check out our article on how to measure the performance of your CSR strategy and campaigns right here. (Measuring performance and knowing what to measure is equally important for success)/
- Re-think everything and be prepared for change.
Now, that you are getting ready for everything to go live, know that you might have to rethink everything once again. Know that you made an important progress today, but you might need to be prepared for change, once again, tomorrow.
Know that while it is not easy, it can bring immense change and you can always learn a little more each day.
Know your data, use the information you have and act fiercely.
We hope you found this article interesting and helpful. If you want to learn more, we also recommend the following titles:
Do not hesitate to contact us or ask us any questions you might have in the comments section below.