We previously wrote an article on why CSR programmes are effective and necessary, but we wanted to detail how we help businesses explore and manage their CSR programmes.
Our work in this area, and the services we’re able to provide, has grown significantly in the past four years. This is due to businesses and their customers placing greater importance on CSR.
There are a few different ways we help companies with CSR, this can be through engaging with their local communities or through employee development programmes. Our work includes internal communications, working with charities on donations and building and managing community strategy.
Here’s a brief summary of some of the services we provide for our clients.
Like any successful project, you need to have a clear plan to execute. Part of our CSR service offering at Clearbox involves auditing a company’s current commitment to social endeavours and evaluating areas of development and opportunities, both internally and externally.
This is done through:
A. Internal messaging workshops - these are half-day or full-day sessions where members of our team will devise and deliver an informal fact-finding session with team members to establish the key values of the workforce, what’s important to them and how they view the external perception of the company.
B. External research - this is a mix of polling, desk research and media evaluating, where we research brand sentiment within the media, research potential opportunities for support and ask questions of customers such as:
• which environmental and social issues matter most to your customers?
• what do customers know about your current support initiatives?
• what associations do customers have with your brand?
These two elements combined give us an initial understanding of how to plan a strategy. It’s then over to the planning stage, where we create a programme addressing the themes identified in the research.
One of the biggest parts of CSR programmes is getting buy-in from employees. When employees feel proud of the company they work for, there is greater retention and engagement.
Some of the ways we encourage employee engagement is through creating nomination tools. These can be automated, through inbound email requests or town-hall-style company meetings, but they enable workers to submit support requests for charities which they feel passionate about. They also give a voice to employees who may feel disconnected from the company’s wider philanthropic efforts. As part of our services at Clearbox, we create and monitor these request systems, building tools to filter or manage requests manually, and present these to senior leadership.
Creating volunteer opportunities for employees where they can actively support charities with practical help, is another effective way of engaging employees, and something we’ve done internally at Clearbox. We also support businesses by creating internal newsletters highlighting employees that have participated in company charitable efforts, again encouraging participation.
We understand it’s all well and good wanting to help, but businesses have to be strategic with their CSR programmes and ensure all laws and regulations are adhered to. To help companies with this, Clearbox can create bespoke vetting systems that check a charity’s:
• values align with the CSR programme of the company
• financial information is authentic
• governors, employees or benefactors are legitimate
• reputation is credible.
As we mentioned in our previous article, if you’re not evaluating, you’re not evolving. Part of ensuring your CSR programme is adding to the wider business efforts is tracking how well it’s going. Some of the most effective ways we track programmes are:
• tracking employee engagement, this is done through recording employee activity, which allows us to amends our plan if parts aren’t performing well or bolstering areas that are exceeding
• tracking finances to report on return on investment, and make sure funds are being used in a positive way
• tracking impact, more on that below.
Never forget to track how your philanthropic efforts are performing. At Clearbox we have helped develop and monitor Net Promoter Score (NPS) tools, which measure customer experience. We can handle the liaison with this and feedback on key information such as how charitable organisations are using the support, the number of beneficiaries receiving help and how positive the charities’ experiences were with interacting with your company.