How to Build an Effective CSR Strategy: Insight from Center Members

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How to Build an Effective CSR Strategy: Insight from Center Members

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How do you build an effective #CSR strategy and make sure it's not frozen in time?
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 11:30am

Snow is on our minds here in Boston, 102 inches of it to be exact. We are ready for a spring thaw. Even the best laid plans have had their challenges this winter. During a recent conversation, a local member company mentioned that they even felt their corporate citizenship strategy was frozen in place. They had been making progress, but things just seemed to slow down once the snow set in. They wanted to know: How do other companies thaw out their corporate citizenship strategy each year? How do they keep it from getting frozen in the first place? For answers, I turned to members of the Center’s Professional Services Sustainability Roundtable and Community Involvement Roundtable. The Center has more than 400 companies representing 21 industries and a large range of company sizes, but the advice these corporate leaders gave regarding strategy was extremely consistent. 

First, your corporate citizenship strategy should be shaped by your company’s business strategy and vision. Do your research first on your business. What are the opportunities and risks facing your industry now and in the near future? What are the specific business objectives of your company? In the 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship, the majority of executives surveyed reported that “attracting new customers” was the top business goal overall, but when you look at the research by industry that top goal changes from “securing a sustainable supply chain” for the manufacturing industry to “improving the ability to recruit employees” for the information sector. Corporate citizenship professionals need to know these business goals in order to create a strategic plan that supports them. Suggestions on how to do this ranged from attending best practices events in your industry as well as on corporate citizenship (such as the Center’s 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference in Austin, TX from April 19-21), to staying up to date on emerging trends through business articles, blogs, and journals for your industry, and networking with like-minded professionals. As a further incentive, a study at the Rochester Institute of Technology found that companies with consistent corporate citizenship strategies benefited financially.

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Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Business & Trade | CSR Strategy | CSR initiatives | CSR programs | Cause Marketing | Climate Change / Global Warming | Climate and the environment | Corporate Citizenship Strategy | Corporate Social Responsibility | Energy