In 2019, corporations contributed to nonprofits $21.09 billion. Compared to a year earlier, it represents an increase of 13.8%. Of course, events of 2020, including racial justice and the pandemic, spurred even more, giving to nonprofits. Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is essential for companies. When social justice, equality, and economic justice issues are front and center in today’s climate, it makes good sense for businesses to partner with nonprofits on promoting corporate social responsibility. Moreover, nonprofits could play a starring role in helping local businesses understand how they could better serve social good and their companies.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility is an awareness by business leaders that they too have a responsibility to society. Because of it, they want to be good corporate citizens. Not only is this idea good for society, but business leaders also understand that it’s good for their profits. In short, sensibilities continue to evolve, and today’s consumers want to patronize socially responsible companies. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for businesses, including small enterprises, to consider the social, environmental, and economic impact they make.

In 2019, the Business Roundtable took a significant step toward corporate social responsibility. Member companies of the Business Roundtable include Accenture, Fox Corporation, Amazon, Slack, and Verizon. After about 20 years of focusing on shareholder profits over pretty much everything else, the group did an about-turn. They decided that the time had come to create “an economy that serves all Americans.” In other words, they formally chose to invest in professional development, deliver customer value, deal ethically with suppliers, and protect the environment.

However, CSR isn’t just for national or global corporations. Acting in a socially responsible manner is good business for any company. Moreover, it allows any business to position themselves with a competitive advantage, which they could promote within their marketing strategies. So, the question now is this one, how could your nonprofit help them understand the value?

CSR Demonstrates Businesses Care

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest selling points for businesses is that corporate social responsibility is good for business. Not only do they gain a competitive advantage, but they also have another way to relate to the public. In other words, embarking on a CSR initiative is another way to get the public engaged. In our social enterprise, for example, small businesses have partnered with us on shoe drive fundraisers. When small enterprises have done it, they’ve raised funds for a good cause and created another way to engage the public. Also, they’ve demonstrated they care about the planet and their communities.

Social Citizenry Could Decrease Costs

One of the main concerns for corporations and small businesses is their expenses. Local companies and shops, in particular, keep a sharp eye on costs. However, CSR could actually help companies lower their overhead costs. For example, small companies could become environmentally conscious and seek to minimize their environmental impact. (Check out these ideas about green living that anyone could do!).

Younger Consumers Want to Patronize Businesses That Practice CSR

As happens from one generation to the next, younger generations help drive change. Millennials and Generation Z are both digitally fluent, and a lot of their communications and activism happens online and using social. Companies covet younger generations because of the “cool factor” and the fact that they’re happy to get out there and promote something to their friends once they love something. It is yet another reason why small businesses and companies should value CSR. In short, CSR offers them an opportunity to engage with younger groups who could help spread the word about their businesses.

You Could Raise Awareness for Socially Responsible Businesses

One of the best things you could do for a business in helping them understand why they should do CSR is because you could help them promote! In other words, when you create a public and private partnership, it should become a win/win. So, not only is your brand’s visibility raised in the collaboration, but so is theirs. For example, you could both plan social media campaigns around a joint project. Also, you could promote their business to your nonprofit donors. Take a look at this nonprofit guide for CSR from OneCause for more information.

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