Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, charities and businesses have collaborated in ways that have been more meaningful and more impactful than ever.
There is no better time for you to dust off your CSR strategy and seek out a charity partnership that can make a real difference.
The World Busines Council for Sustainable Development defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as “a continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce as well as the environment, local communities and wider society”.
An integrated CSR strategy may be seen as a ‘nice to have’ and not a top priority, especially at a time when businesses are adapting to working through a pandemic. But, in our experience, a well-chosen charity partnership can bring your CSR strategy to life and have an extremely positive effect on your business.
At the Youth Adventure Trust, we are proud of the long term partnerships we have established with businesses, large and small, over the years. We don’t have an off-the-shelf proposition, instead we focus on developing bespoke relationships which have maximum impact both for the partner organisation and the vulnerable young people we support. We actively look for partnerships that ‘make strategic sense’ for everybody involved, helping to elevate the CSR strategy from ‘nice to have’ to an integral part of the business plan.
A CSR programme typically focusses on four main pillars:
1. Responsible business for all your stakeholders
2. The environment
3. The health and wellbeing of the workforce
4. The communities around your company.
A charity partnership which embraces your CSR strategy can result in measurably improved business outcomes:
Better brand recognition and financial performance: Research shows an increase of between 5-40 % in revenue for companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact and 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from these companies.
A competitive edge: A visible CSR policy sets companies above their competitors and can be an important element in the tendering/decision making process – long running product promotions such as Fairy and Make A Wish are testament to the value of such charity partnerships.
Improved staff recruitment: A socially responsible business is more likely to attract top talent. Research shows that 90% of prospective employees agree a company active in the community is likely to be a good employer, 88% of millennials say they want to work for a socially responsible company and 75% of them would take a pay cut to do so.
Better staff retention: A clear commitment to your CSR policy can improve staff retention rates. 83% of people say that they would be more loyal to a business that enables them to contribute to solving social and environmental problems and 88% say their job is more fulfilling when their the opportunity to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues.
Staff development: Encouraging employees to support their local community through a clear volunteer policy provides opportunities for employees to learn and develop teamwork, communication, confidence and leadership skills that will improve their workplace performance.
A simple and active employee engagement program, developed with a charity partner, can help your staff feel respected and committed to the business goals and values. With everybody in the business pulling together to support the community, employees are given a higher sense of purpose, loyalty and motivation.
Actively engaging team members with a charity partnership, asking them to put their expertise to good use for a different purpose to ‘normal’, encouraging them to give their time and enabling them to fundraise in support of your chosen cause can unify, strengthen and engage teams.
So, choose your charity partner wisely: Make sure the partnership objectives match your organisational values and that the relationship ‘makes sense’; Be realistic when setting out the terms of your charity involvement; Staff engagement will be crucial in getting the most out of your charity partnership; Consider how you will measure the success of your partnership and how it fits in to your CSR strategy.
If you would like to find out more about the Youth Adventure Trust and our existing charity partnerships, please visit www.youthadventuretrust.org.uk/company-support or contact Philippa Cox, Corporate Partnerships Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org