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Everything Your Organization Needs To Know About Starting A CSR Program

70% of consumers want to know what the brands they support are doing to address social and environmental issues. 90% of employees who work at companies with a strong sense of purpose say they are more inspired, motivated, and loyal.  And  77% of CSR managers believe that engaging in CSR practices improves brand reputation. 

These are the driving factors behind why a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program is becoming more prevalent in organizations.  

A CSR program helps businesses fulfill their social good missions, encourages their employees to engage in meaningful work, and improves their consumer and investor appeal.  

While organizations are becoming more aware of the general benefits that derive from a CSR program, the challenge often lies in the ‘how?’   

  • How will we engage our employees?  
  • How will we find CSR opportunities?   
  • How will we measure the impact of our CSR initiatives?  
  • How will we share the results of our efforts?

This guide will cover everything your organization needs to know about starting a CSR program. Having the desire and drive to embrace social responsibility is the first step. We will guide you through the actions required to transform your company into a socially conscious organization.

To effectively depict how a CSR program can be started, we will be using an example of a fictional company. Revolution EV, an electric vehicle company that is based out of New York with 100 employees, wants to start and maintain a CSR program for the entirety of 2023.  

Revolution EV Background

Revolution EV’s mission is to produce eco-friendly vehicles that create a healthier planet. With a purposeful mission in place, Revolution EV seeks to go the extra mile and focus on its triple bottom line: planet, people, and profit. What’s currently lacking is its focus on ‘people,’ more specifically, helping to create a more prosperous community.   

This is where Revolution EV believes a CSR program can help them strive. A program to connect them with unique giving opportunities, stimulate employee engagement, track collective (and employee) social impact, and makes its CSR efforts more publicly known.   

As Revolution EV has discovered the ‘why’ behind starting a CSR program, let’s dive into the ‘how’:   

As Revolution EV wants to begin its CSR program in January 2023, the pre-program steps will take place between October-December of 2022. Revolution EV will use this time to set goals, evaluate a social impact software, educate its employees, and compile program guidelines.   


Step #1: Set goals
 

Every program starts with goals. Goal setting will guide Revolution EV’s CSR efforts, motivate employees to participate, and will hold the company accountable for its actions.  

Revolution EV starts with setting four goals—listing what they want to achieve after one year of launching a CSR program. The 4 goals are outlined below:  

Goal 1- Carry out social good initiatives that serve our local community’s needs.  

Goal 2- Build a purposeful workplace culture around philanthropy. 

Goal 3- Generate a positive brand perception in the minds of our consumers.  

Goal 4- Cultivate meaningful connections with nonprofits.   

 

Step #2: Define Metrics  

Setting goals is an efficient first step; however, each goal needs to be measurable. Without tracking its progress, Revolution EV will have set ambitious goals without knowing where they stand.   

Alongside measurable goals, Revolution EV takes each goal they created in step #1 and modifies it to become a SMART goal. The guidelines for SMART goals are as follows: 

Specific: Are these goals well-defined and straightforward? 
Measurable: Are there metrics put in place for defining progress? 
Achievable: Are these goals possible to achieve given our existing resources? 
Relevant: Do these goals align with our company values and purpose? 
Timely: Do these goals follow a clearly defined timeline? 

SMART goals

With SMART goals in mind, Revolution EV now revises its goals, setting out what they want to achieve by December 2023 by implementing a CSR program: 

  1. Goal 1- Carry out a total of 140 social good initiatives (i.e., donating, volunteering and fundraising) through company-wide and employee efforts. 

  1. Goal 2- Build a purposeful work culture that motivates and engages employees, reducing employee turnover by 5%. 

  1. Goal 3- Increase both new and recurring customer revenue by 15% by being perceived as a socially conscious brand. 

  1. Goal 4- Cultivate and maintain connections with 6 new causes (charities & nonprofits) and continuously work together for the greater good. 

 

Step #3: Evaluate and choose external software

Revolution EV realizes they can’t maintain a CSR program independently. They want an all-in-one social impact platform to help them discover giving opportunities, maximize employee engagement, publicly share social impact, and measure progress over time. 

When evaluating a social impact platform, Revolution EV books a demo and asks the following: 

  • What social impact metrics can we track? 
  • How can we share these metrics with our stakeholders? 
  • How can we proclaim our philanthropic achievements—beyond metrics? 
  • How can we discover nonprofits and charities to partner with that align with our values? 
  • What is the process for onboarding employees on the platform? 
  • How can we use a social impact platform to organize company-wide events? 
  • What initiatives can our employees take part in on an individual level? 
  • How can we celebrate and recognize our employees’ achievements? 

 

After Revolution EV evaluated three social impact platforms, they decide which platform they will use be using. The social impact platform Revolution EV has selected will allow them to: 

  1. Discover causes based on focus areas and geographic location. 
  2. Create a branded profile to showcase social good efforts to customers, prospects, employees, and investors. 
  3. Enable employees to join and create an individual profile to showcase their philanthropic ambitions and accomplishments. 
  4. Provide employees with opportunities to volunteer, donate, and fundraise for meaningful causes they are devoted to.
  5. Measure collective social impact with real-time, verified metrics, as well as enable employees to each track their individual social impact. 

Benefits of a social impact platform

Step #4: Educate employees 

Before starting any social impact efforts, Revolution EV needs to ensure its employees are well informed and educated on why social impact matters and, more importantly, why employee involvement is the key to success.   

Revolution EV has just begun its social change journey; therefore, it should assume that the majority of the company’s 100 employees know little about this subject. 

 To spark passion among employees, Revolution EV hosts the following educational sessions virtually: 

 

1. Kick-off meeting: Revolution EV hosts a kick-off video call. This meeting uncovers subject matter such as: 

  • How will a CSR program provide Revolution EV with sustainable growth?  
  • What types of initiatives will a CSR program include?  
  • Why should employees get involved?  
  • What are the general expectations of employees? 

 

2. Social impact software meeting: Employees know why social impact is crucial to company growth and how their involvement can contribute to Revolution EV’s success. After the kick-off team meeting, Revolution EV hosts a virtual meeting exclusively focused on the social impact software they will use.

The meeting takes employees through the main features and functions of a social impact platform. More specifically, uncovering how to: 

  • Set up an individual profile. 
  • Connect with colleagues on the platform. 
  • Discover causes based on personal interests. 
  • Apply to volunteer opportunities. 
  • Organize and manage fundraisers. 
  • Donate to causes.
  • Track social impact—measuring the results of ALL their efforts.
  • Share successes on their individual profile. 

 

Step #5: Compile Guidelines

This is the phase between goal setting and writing a detailed plan of action. In this phase, Revolution EV writes down five guidelines to help them determine a logical course of action.  

Revolution EV writes down five guidelines as follows:  

  1. Partner and regularly communicate with nonprofits. 
  2. Partake in company-wide initiatives.
  3. Encourage employee participation.
  4. Share social impact milestones with stakeholders.
  5. Recognize employees’ achievements.

Step #6: Take action 

Revolution EV follows the guidelines created in step #5 and takes action, executing the necessary steps in Q1-Q4 of 2023 to reach its CSR goals.  

 

Q1 (January-March) 

1. Set up a branded profile on a social impact platform 

A social impact platform is similar to a social media platform like LinkedIn, except the content is solely focused on companies, individuals, and nonprofits who give back—and want to share the milestones of success with others.  

When setting up a branded profile on a social impact platform, Revolution EV includes: a logo, tagline, headers, mission statement, and CTA buttons  

Branded social impact profile

2. Encourage internal usage of a social impact platform 

Employees are the backbone of a corporate giving program. Without employee participation, corporate giving levels won’t reach maximum levels.  Therefore, Revolution EV encourages internal use of the platform within the first week, inviting employees to join the platform, set up their profiles, and connect with colleagues.  

 

3. Reach out to 6 new causes

Revolution EV wants to partner with causes that also embody its own organizational values. As Revolution EV is focused on contributing to a greener (and cleaner) environment, they search for causes based on the ‘Environment’ focus area. After, they send an outreach email to each of the six causes. 

Focus areas to select charities and nonprofits

Choosing causes to support by focus area

4. Invite stakeholders to follow social impact profile 

Revolution EV sends out an invitation to 350 of its current customers, investors, and prospects via email to follow its social impact profile.  The more stakeholders who view and engage with Revolution EV’s content, the more positive its brand perception will be. 

 

Q2 (April-June) 

1. Carry out initiatives for 3/6 causes

Revolution EV has secured a partnership with all six of the environmental-focused causes they have contacted. Now is the time for them to activate these partnerships!  

 

Revolution EV takes part in the following three CSR initiatives in Q2:  

One company-wide fundraiser: Revolution EV hosts a third-party fundraiser—an Earth Day Marathon—on behalf of The World Change Organization. 17 of Revolution EV’s employees use the platform to collectively raise $5,000 from their personal network (peer-to-peer fundraising style) before the event, and then all employees come out for a day of running together as a team! 

 One company-wide volunteer day: Revolution EV encourages its employees to participate in a company-wide volunteer day, resulting in a great turnout of 32 employees. The company’s employees gather along a local trail for a full day of picking up trash on behalf of A Greener Future Company.

 One corporate donation: Revolution EV makes a one-time donation of $1,500 to the Sustainable Living Organization using the social impact platform.  

 

2. Send employees current giving opportunities

As Revolution EV is focusing Q2 on executing two company-wide initiatives, its employees will get a first-hand look and feel for what it’s like to be involved in the community. 

On top of employees participating in company-wide initiatives, they can also participate in community outreach initiatives independently. To encourage individualized use, Revolution EV sends out a company-wide email to all 100 of its employees with donating, volunteering, and fundraising opportunities taking place in its community of Manhattan, New York. 

3. Post content 

The robust activity feed (a unique feature on the social impact platform they selected) is the primary place where Revolution EV can share its achievements in the world of social good.  

Beyond an interactive metrics dashboard, Revolution EV can share photos, videos, and narratives to capture the attention of followers and improve brand perception.   

Revolution EV shares 15 posts in Q2. The content mix is outlined as follows: 

  1. Photos/ videos from its company-wide volunteer day and fundraiser. 
  2. Repost content from employees’ community outreach initiatives. 
  3. ‘Shoutout’ posts, individually recognizing all 6 of the causes Revolution EV has partnered with.

Photos from Revolution EV’s company-wide volunteer day

4. Conduct a mid-way check-in on SMART goals 

Revolution EV hasn’t forgotten about the SMART goals they set at the end of 2022. They conduct a concise yet useful mid-way check-in to ensure they are on track to achieve all of its CSR goals by the end of 2023.   

 

Q3 (July-Sept) 

1. Carry out initiatives for the remaining 3/6 causes partnered with

One company-wide event: Revolution EV hosts a company-wide paint nite on behalf of the Smarter Living Association. The paint nite is hosted in person at a local community center in New York, with 15 of Revolution EV’s employees attending the event (alongside 90 other community supporters) and raises a total of $4,500.

Two corporate donations: Alongside the auction, Revolution EV makes two donations—one of $450 and one of $1,000 to the Clean Air Company and Better Together Organization

Company Paint Nite hosted on behalf of The Smarter Living Association

2. Make a 2nd big push to drive stakeholders to drive social impact page

Revolution EV has 350 followers and has posted 30 pieces of content on a social impact platform. However, they want to do one final push to gain 300 more followers. They set up a series of Facebook ads to drive a final push of followers.  

The content of these Facebook ads focuses on communicating why Revolution EV’s branded profile on a social impact platform is worth a follow (i.e., a profile solely dedicated to sharing photos, metrics, and narratives from philanthropic initiatives). 

 

3. Post content

To maintain a strong brand presence on a social impact platform, Revolution EV publishes 15 more posts on the activity feed. The content mix is outlined as follows: 

  1. Photos/videos from the company-wide paint nite.
  2. Repost content from employees’ community outreach initiatives.
  3. Designated posts communicating the company’s social good mission (i.e., the reason behind why Revolution EV’s CSR program exists).

Revolution EV communicating its social good mission

4. Garner employee feedback

Revolution EV has been utilizing a social impact platform for eight months and has seen its employee engagement and company-wide CSR efforts grow.   

However, no CSR program is complete without employee feedback. Revolution EV sends out a survey where its employees (only active users of the platform) are asked to give feedback. Revolution EV asks its employees the following questions: 

  • What other types of causes would you like to see on a social impact platform in 2024?  
  • How engaging are the opportunities you have participated in?  
  • How often do you share your accomplishments (through photos, videos, and metrics) on your social impact profile?  
  • Are there social impact areas you wish to track on an individual level but currently aren’t able to? 
  • Using the platform, how easy is it for you to stay updated with what Revolution EV is doing in the realm of social change? 

 

Q4 (oct-Dec)

1. Recognize employees’ achievements

Revolution EV looks at its employee participation rate and discovers they have 67 (out of 100) involved employees. These employees either took part in one of the three company-wide events or found opportunities on their own to get involved.  

Revolution EV realizes that this 67% participation rate deserves some recognition and appreciation. They set up an in-person dinner, with an award ceremony, to celebrate all of its social good achievements in 2023.   

 

2. Look at year-end social impact metrics 

While Revolution EV continuously checks the robust metrics that the platform provides, they do one final year-end check in December to see:

  • How much have we raised globally? (Calculated by adding money raised from corporate donations and company-wide fundraisers).
  • How many volunteer hours have we invested? (Calculated by multiplying the number of employees who volunteered by the number of volunteer hours each employee contributed).
    * 32 employees x 8 volunteer hours/employee= 256 volunteer hours invested.
  • How many partners (nonprofits & charities) have we supported? 

Revolution EV’s real-time, verified metrics dashboard

3. Post content

Revolution EV wants to keep the momentum going with one year-end push of social posts on the activity feed. The content outline mix is outlined as follows: 

  1. Post photos/videos from the company-wide appreciation dinner. 
  2. Repost content from employees’ community outreach initiatives. 
  3. Share social impact metrics in designated posts/ stories.

 

4. Measure year-end goals

The end of 2023 has come. Revolution EV takes the time to reflect on the SMART goals they set at the end of last year to see which goals were met: 

  

Goal 1- Carry out a total of 140 social good initiatives through company-wide and employee efforts.

What will Revolution EV look at:  

A. Participation rate= 67/100 employees (this includes employees who participated in company-wide events and/or employees who found individual giving opportunities through the platform).
B. Number of initiatives/employee= Revolution EV concludes that on average, 67 employees participated in 2 social good initiatives each.
C. Company-wide initiatives hosted= 6. 
D. 67 employees participated x 2 initiatives/employee= 134 + 6 company-wide initiatives.
=140 total social good initiatives in 2023.

 

Goal 2- Build a purposeful work culture that motivates and engages employees, reducing employee turnover by 5% 

What will Revolution EV look at: 

A. 2022 turnover= 12%  
B. 2023 turnover= 7% 
C. 67 of Revolution EV’s employees were eager to make a positive difference in their communities, motivated by Revolution EV’s CSR program. Employees who participated in the program felt more loyal and connected to Revolution EV, which ultimately helped reduce employee turnover by 5% in 2023. 

 

Goal 3- Increase both new and recurring customer revenue by 15% by being perceived as a socially conscious and mindful brand. 

What will Revolution EV look at: 

A. Posts shared on social impact platform= 45 (15 posts achieved in each quarter from Q2-Q4). 
B. Total followers on the social impact platform= 650. 
C. Revolution EV utilized the activity feed of a social impact platform, posting about its CSR efforts to its 650 followers. This resulted in building a unique, memorable, and sustainable brand. This improved brand perception led to a 15% increase in new and recurring customer revenue in 2023

 

Goal 4- Cultivate and maintain connections with 6 new causes (charities & nonprofits) and continuously work together for the greater good. 

What will Revolution EV look at: 

A. Number of causes partnered with= 6. 
B. Number of initiatives carried out on behalf of each cause= 6. 
C. Not only did Revolution EV form an initial relationship with 6 causes in 2023, but they either donated money, fundraised on behalf of, or volunteered with each cause once.  

 

kambeo: A Social Impact Platform to Execute Your CSR Program

Having aided local nonprofits and charities in their growth, engaged its employees in social good initiatives, and communicated its impact over the past 12 months, Revolution EV believes its CSR program is just the beginning. The beginning of a program that will continue to benefit the communities it serves, motivate the employees it involves, and impress the stakeholders it targets.

Want to follow in the foot steps of Revolution EV and start a CSR program (or enhance your existing one)? Kambeo’s social impact platform can help you achieve just that. Discover meaningful causes in your local community, build a branded profile, encourage employee use, and measure the results of your contributions. 

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