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Five Mistakes to Avoid with Your Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts

Posted on December 17, 2021

CSR highlighted in stack of values on wooden blocks

Five Mistakes to Avoid with Your Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts

Corporate social responsibility is pivotal to a company’s relationship with the public. A Cone Inc. survey revealed that 83% of people trust a company more if it demonstrates a commitment to the community’s wellbeing.

If a company were to underperform in its CSR efforts, the company might suffer from severe consequences. Read on to learn five common mistakes that CSR officers make and how you can avoid them.

1. Lack of Clear CSR Goals

The first mistake companies make in their corporate social responsibility efforts is having poor goals. Poor goals can be any goal that isn’t simple, clear, and achievable with the current resources.

CSR efforts do not always have to be extravagant. Companies that create unachievable goals are not doing anything to benefit the community. It is best to develop measurable, time-bound, and specific goals that are realistic.

2. Not Measuring Up

Another mistake companies make neglecting the measurability of their cause. Understanding the social and economic concerns of the community and how your efforts will impact those concerns is essential. Without a framework for measurement, you could make decisions without all the necessary data.

Use a Sustainability Management System (SMS) to help organize these decisions.
The following list describes the steps to measuring your CSR efforts:

• Start by identifying and prioritizing CSR efforts
• Next, outline your company’s goals and objectives
• Educate and train your employees on using the SMS
• Run SMS audits to ensure that your efforts are effective

3. Keeping Your Distance

Another mistake many companies make is not building personal relationships with those they seek to help.

Studies show that companies who use this arm’s length approach found few users of their initiative. This low attendance rate is due to the complicated feelings from companies speaking for marginalized groups rather than having direct, personal relationships with them.

While holding a giant check with your company’s name is a great photo opportunity, make sure you don’t neglect the work into building a relationship beforehand. Listen to those you want to help and use your privilege as a large company to advocate.

4. Going it Alone

Another mistake many companies make is desiring to make change alone.
In our economic landscape, companies earn value through the property they own. If a company is the sole manufacturer of a widespread good, they have power in that industry.

Many companies apply this mindset to their CSR efforts as well. For example, they want to be the first company to build a playground in an underserved neighborhood.
While this capitalistic mindset works well in the business world, it can have the opposite effect in CSR.

The more partners who are involved in a mission, the more impact they can make in a community. Each company brings its perspectives, expertise, connections, and funding that help make a project prosper.

5. Avoiding the Mirror

A common mistake companies make in their corporate social responsibility efforts is neglecting their own house. To illustrate, a large company could donate millions of dollars to environmental causes. Still, if its means of production involve large factories that produce toxic emissions, it nullifies their positive impact (greenwashing).

Another fatal mistake is neglecting internal concerns. Many companies consider employee engagement and morale a worthy CSR cause of its own. It can improve employee workplace conditions and reduce turnover.

Be the Change

Corporate social responsibility can enhance a corporation’s position within a community because it serves the community. If you set measurable goals, use an SMS database, build personal relationships, partner with others, and make sure your internal systems are functioning well, your CSR efforts are likely to make a significant difference in your community.

To learn more, contact IMPACT to build a support network and become an advocate for your community.

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