How can I improve my CSR program?
Remember where we left the last time? While talking about some of the key elements of a good CSR initiative in our last blog, we talked about how important it is to be flexible and adaptive to change. One of the best ways to ensure an effective CSR strategy is to keep revisiting it and make sure it is consistent with the business’ vision as well as the ever-growing demands and changing expectations of customers and stakeholders.
Having a good CSR strategy is great, but it is also imperative to relentlessly keep improvising. This is exactly what we shall address in this blog – how to improve your CSR program.
Start from the beginning
At the core of designing a successful CSR strategy is the need to understand your company’s mission and aligning business objectives with impact aspirations. But when we talk of improvising the existing CSR strategy, we need to go back to the start and assess if there has been any shift in the business model, has the social, economical environment changed lately, what is the state of the community the business is directly dealing with, et cetera.
Consider this example – your business model and impact aspirations could be different in the year 2019 but last year, since the onset of the pandemic, most businesses had to revisit their business goals, deliverables, thus CSR campaigns were also overhauled.
Keep a tab on stakeholders
See how your customers, beneficiaries are evolving, closely monitor their needs, pain points, expectations, demands, and behavior. Are they facing any new challenges which were not included in your initiative previously and could be leveraged now? Keeping your initial strategy in mind, revisit who are you trying to help and why.
Keep eyes, ears open
Be open to new partnerships and collaborations with entities working with similar missions, it may also help improve the impactfulness of your initiative.
Even if yours is a global entity, roping in the local community, getting them involved, impacting the immediate and extended communities will help build trust, fortify the overall program.
People must be encouraged at all levels and feedback collection should be a neverending exercise. From employees, management, stakeholders, customers, beneficiaries to the local community – participation in your initiative must be encouraged to boost cooperation, enable better understanding, facilitate ideation, innovation and identify areas that need improvement.
Starting any program involves money, as your CSR initiative evolves, it is important to go back to the financial implications first taken into account and see if the ground reality has changed. Is there room to pump in some bit of the surplus into launching an extension of the program, or there is a need to shut part of the campaign to neutralize costs?
Use impact frameworks to design your CSR program. Measure the impact, use the data to stay agile, and improvise. It is worth reiterating that evidence is important, not just to gauge the effectiveness of your strategy, take corrective measures and plan ahead but also to maintain brand credibility and win stakeholders’ trust. On spotting pitfalls or loopholes, aim to go to the root cause, solve the problem instead of simply treating the symptoms.
It is important to communicate information about impact creation to your stakeholders to establish the success of your CSR campaign and pave the way for future projects.
Remember, an effective, rather holistic CSR strategy will ensure that everybody benefits – from the organization, employees, various stakeholders to communities and society at large. When the interest and well-being of such a wide spectrum of groups are involved, the only way forward is to continually improvise and keep ahead of time, foreseeing the probable challenges of tomorrow to create a sustainable, better future.