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By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. And while previous generations may have entered the workforce for a paycheck, millennials are looking for more.
More accountability. More income equality. More social change. More contributions to the betterment of society.
Millennials expect (and demand) more from their place of employment. Roughly half of all millennials expect companies to conduct ethical business practices, combat resource scarcity and climate change, and address income equality.
In fact, according to the Cone Communications Millennial Employee Study, 64% of millennials say that they won't work for a company who doesn't have a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. In addition, 83% say they would be more loyal to an employer that contributes to social and environmental issues.
Putting a strong CSR program into place can help increase employee engagement and attract top talent. Below, we share a number of CSR examples to launch at your company.
What is a CSR program and why does it matter?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), is a business model where you consider social responsibility and environmental sustainability when making decisions. The idea behind CSR activities is that corporations have a moral obligation to create positive change in the world.
CSR initiatives come in acts both large and small. Starbucks made headlines for donating 5-15 cents per transaction to nonprofit organizations, building LEED-certified stores, and sourcing from ethically produced, fair-trade vendors throughout their supply chain.
But you don't need a six- or seven-figure budget to launch a CSR program. Small businesses can have a positive impact on society and the environment too. A company can start recycling at the office, sourcing from local vendors to reduce greenhouse emissions, launch an employee volunteer program, or correct gender and racial pay gaps amongst team members.
Doing so can attract top job candidates (particularly millennials and Gen Z) and bolster your brand image among the public. Studies show that nearly two-thirds (66%) of consumers say they will pay a premium to purchase goods bought from socially responsible companies.
In other words, while a CSR program may require an upfront cost, the investment pays dividends later on. By broadening your consumer base and attracting top job talent, your CSR program has the potential to increase — not decrease — your bottom line.
CSR examples: How to switch to a socially responsible business model
Looking to lead a more conscious company? These examples of CSR programs help increase employee retention, address social issues, and make a positive change in your local communities.
1. Donate profits to a nonprofit 💰
Here's one of the easiest ways to help improve the well-being of society: Give back to a local charity. Commit to donating a portion of your profits to a good cause (even 1% makes a difference!).
If you're a retailer, ask consumers to round up at the register to contribute to a good cause.
This campaign sold two children’s books to raise awareness about homelessness. Proceeds from the book sales supported the nonprofit Knock Knock, Get a Sock, an organization giving fresh pairs of socks to families experiencing homelessness.
2. Actively reduce your carbon footprint 🦶
Again, you don't need a big budget to create an environmental impact at your company. Put together a small team to make a one-year, five-year, and 10-year plan to reduce waste at your company.
Here are a few simple ideas to help get you started:
- Encourage virtual prospecting calls to prevent your sales team from flying around the country.
- Consider a work-from-home policy to reduce energy use throughout your team.
- Eliminate hard copies at meetings and present client deliverables as a PDF or PowerPoint rather than printing.
- Create a recycling or composting program in the office to reduce waste.
- Switch any office appliances and light bulbs to energy-saving options.
3. Make anti-racism a cornerstone in your hiring practices 💪
Business leaders and other stakeholders need to address how diversity, equity, and inclusion impact business operations — particularly when it comes to hiring.
To make anti-racism central to your hiring strategy, rethink how you circulate job postings. When you circulate job posts within your own networks, you often send posts to people who look like you.
Take a hard look at who you send job postings to, and work toward circulating postings to a more diverse group. Post listings to job boards specifically created to build a more inclusive workforce.
In addition, consider publishing salaries with all job postings, which may prevent gender and racial pay gaps later on.
4. Take a hard look at where you source products 👀
If your company makes a conscious effort to revise your social impact, it makes sense to purchase from companies that do the same.
As part of your CSR strategy, take a hard look at each product purchased by your company, down to the most basic necessities and office supplies:
- Do these vendors pay their employees a living wage?
- Do these companies uphold human rights at their factories or places of employment?
- Do these companies use renewable energy sources?
If not, start by setting an attainable goal of switching to one eco-friendly or socially responsible vendor in the next few months.
5. Offer paid leave for volunteer work 👏👏
Make paid volunteer days a line item within your employee benefits package, right alongside vacation and sick days. Pay your team to give back to the local community by spending work hours cleaning parks, serving meals, or volunteering at a nonprofit. Or, if there’s a social justice march in your city, give employees the day off to participate.
Volunteer work can be coupled with pro bono work. If you’re a public relations or marketing agency, offer to perform a website redesign for a local charity. Or, if you're a restaurant, distribute free dinners for those in need once a month at your establishment.
6. Sponsor your own giving week at work 🎁
When developing a CSR program, invite your employees to play an active role. Host a company-wide poll to vote for 1-3 nonprofits to support throughout the calendar year.
Once you know which organizations you want to support, brainstorm fun ideas on how you contribute to the causes. Create an online campaign or ticketed event, and invite friends, family members, and colleagues to take part. Or, create a massive "Giving Week" at work where you split your employees into teams, racing to see which one can raise the most funds for their cause.
Launch your own initiatives
Talented job candidates aren't just searching for a paycheck — they're looking for an employer who invests in their community. A corporate social responsibility program shows you're making an active effort to better your environment, fight for social change, and give back to your community.
Our Givebutter team recently launched a new company policy that gives all employees two floating holidays to be used for causes or celebrations that aren’t typically covered by Federal or State holiday calendars. This is a great way to offer your diverse team the flexibility to honor what means the most to them.
There are a number of ways to launch a CSR program to attract top talent. Swap out vendors for socially responsible companies, switch from in-person to virtual meetings to reduce carbon emissions, revitalize your pro bono efforts, and offer employees paid time off to give back to your community. Finally, choose one or several good causes to support throughout the calendar year.
Givebutter is a fundraising platform offering 70+ features to help launch a successful campaign and give back to your community. With the ability to accept nearly every payment method, create beautifully branded pages, and easily invite your network to support your cause, it's the easiest, most fun way to give back. Ready to launch your campaign? Start your free Givebutter account today.
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