Corporate Social Responsibility, Girl Scouts™ and Cookies

Soon, thousands of Girl Scouts™ will be out selling their famous cookies. I always buy a few boxes from the girls in my neighborhood. Yes, the cookies are yummy but most important for me is to support my neighbors. If a kid comes to my door selling something who I don’t recognize, my first question is “do you live in the neighborhood?” If not, I politely send them on their way. If they do, I will gladly buy whatever cookie, coupon book, or popcorn tin they’re selling.

The same kind of thinking should go into your company’s CSR or corporate social responsibility program. CSR needs to align with business goals and support the community in a way that makes sense for your organization. Here are some tips for setting goals and parameters for your company’s CSR efforts:

  • If your organization does nothing to support the local community, start now. Make 2016 the year to get involved both financially and through volunteer work. Not only does a targeted CSR campaign solidify your company’s brand, it also increases employee satisfaction, and is the right thing to do.
  • If your company is giving to just whoever walks in the door, then it’s time to make a change. Examine your company’s goals and objectives and identify what charitable organization shares those same overall goals. It’s okay to be generous as well as have it align with your company’s business. For example, if your company is in real estate, it’s logical to work with an organization that also promotes providing shelter and a safe environment in which to live.
  • Charitable contributions and involvement increases brand loyalty. Look at the big brands for ideas. Even if you can’t afford those million dollar donations, most non-profit organizations would be happy with a small donation of money and volunteer time. A company volunteer day not only helps the charity but it helps build your team, and it might even generate some publicity.

The next time you receive a request for a donation, decide if it’s in your “neighborhood” and aligns with your company’s brand and goals. Better yet, have a CSR program in place ready to make your donations of time and money the most effective for partner non-profit organizations and your company.