What is CSR?
CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. It is a way for a business to show its responsibility to the community by giving back in some way. Giving back to community is a real passion of mine. But I didn’t ever really know the best way for me to help out those that I wanted to support. And I didn’t know how to help the charities that I felt passionate about. When I first set up my business, I also didn’t know many charities that are local to me either. This made things difficult. To make matters worse, when I looked at how some other businesses handled their CSR, I didn’t like what I saw – it just didn’t sit right with me.
There were two types of CSR that I had seen a lot, they were:
- Business chooses one single charity (it sometimes felt like this was at random as well).
- The business then gives a small percentage of profits to said charity for set period of time (normally a year). Sometimes also getting involved in the charity’s local events in some way.
- Business takes lots of praise from local people because the business is giving back to the community through said charity.
- Once period of time is up, the business then selects a new charity to give towards for same set period of time.
- Process repeats again and again.
Or two –
- Business chooses a single charity (again, it sometimes felt like this was at random).
- The business would again give a small percentage of profits to said charity. This time not for a set period of time, but for as long as the business exists.
This wasn’t everyone, but was the majority and I wanted to be different
Now I realise that there are many businesses out there who have a good CSR and don’t follow one of these two methods, and I didn’t want to either. Neither of these really worked in my opinion. I wanted to help more than one or two charities in my community. And I didn’t want to just give a small percentage. Wanting to be a genuine help to the charities that I choose to support, I want to give in a big way to make a positive difference to those that I support.
I wanted a way that showed I was a responsible business with both a corporate mindset and a community mindset. I also felt that quite often businesses wouldn’t utilise the skills within their workforce to its full potential whenever something was done on behalf of a charity – which in my opinion sucks. Running my own business I wanted to have an attitude that I was always giving my best. I also wanted to consider carefully the charities which I choose to work with. I want to make sure I agree with the ethos of the charity itself. As well as the activities taking place at any charitable event I cover. That’s not to say I wouldn’t work with people I disagreed with on ethical or philosophical matters. But instead, that I wouldn’t consider that to be part of my CSR.
There isn’t an easy way to adapt every business for CSR
My business specialises in working with serviced accommodation properties. These are normally city or town centre apartments listed on AirBnb and Booking.com. My business’s purpose was to boost the occupancy ratings in these properties and that’s something I am very good at. My business’s mission statement for this area was “Transforming occupancy ratings all over the UK through stunning photography”. Unfortunately I don’t know of any charity serviced accommodation properties – and I’m not entirely sure why one would exist.
There are several questions a business should look at when considering CSR, I had to answer some of them.
- How do I find charities, community groups and social enterprises?
- More importantly, how do I find ones where I agree with their ethos and philosophies and mission statements?
- What if nobody wants my help?
- How far am I willing to travel to do something which isn’t for the purpose of financial reward?
- Should I focus on giving my time or focus on giving financially?
- What are other people expecting from me as far as CSR is concerned?
Coming up with a solution that works for the community
So I sat down looking for ways to come up with a system that works. To be honest, I tried approaching a few charities before I had a good system and got turned away by almost everyone I approached. Having now come up with a system that I think works, I set out looking for charities that I could support at networking events and the occasional business expo. And having found a handful who would be interested in my support, I’m now looking for more.
Can you help?
As such – if you know a charity, community group, or someone else that I could work with (and think it’s someone that I should work with) please get in touch with me through the contact me page. It would be great if you can also pass on the contact details of the person I need to speak to as well – then I can contact the person I need to directly.
I would also love to hear from you if you have a great way I can improve my CSR.