How to Get Your Employees to Care About Your CSR Plan

You can promote genuine interest in your company’s CSR plan by putting employees and the community first.

Unfortunately, most business leaders believe that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is someone else’s problem. That needs to change, now. You’re not alone in this kind of thinking, but CSR is definitely your problem.

Most organizations talk a good game when it comes to corporate social responsibility. In practice, however, things are quite different. Many leaders fail miserably at incorporating CSR into their company’s business model. As an example, environmental damage caused by carbon emissions is a growing global problem.

The Makings of a Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative

In the United States, only a third of the 600 largest corporations have a systematic sustainability oversight committee that operates at the executive level. Most companies fail to incorporate sustainability as a part of their business model. Yet, the companies that do enjoy phenomenal success.

The organizations that are doing it right have created conditions that enable stakeholders to produce their own sustainability. For example, ethics expert – Professor CB Bhattacharya, has developed a three-phase CSR model that demonstrates how companies can move beyond talk and embed accountability into corporate culture.

To begin with, the expert notes that psychological ownership encompasses feelings of a connection to a person, company or concept. According to Bhattacharya, research shows that feelings of psychological ownership contribute to greater engagement, job satisfaction as well as increased productivity and revenue.

Walking the Corporate Social Responsibility Walk

One way to put your money where your mouth is through sustainable, responsible, and impact investing (SRI). McKinsey & Company forecast that the financial vertical will generate over $300 billion in investment funds by 2020.

For executives who want to galvanize a company around sustainability, psychological ownership is a powerful concept. Every day, the public is faced with evidence of climate change and other issues that harm the environment, although many choose to ignore those warnings.

Many people want to do something, however, but they don’t know what. Business leaders can fulfill people’s desire to do good by transforming employee bystanders and community stakeholders into sustainability partners – including in regard to how community members and enterprise stakeholders contribute individually to social good.

Professor Bhattacharya’s construct for creating sustainability ownership includes three parts – incubate, launch and entrench.

1. Incubate

Incubation encompasses the process of initially defining the construct of your organization’s accountability domain. During this stage, reflect on your company’s mission and its role in the community and the world. Now, according to the professor, you can solidify your goals by creating an evidence-based list of issues that exist in your current value chain – for example, areas of community interest where your company’s objective’s overlap with employee and community stakeholder concerns about accountability.

2. Launch

When you launch your sustainability initiative, you must introduce it to all stakeholders enthusiastically. Your positivity and energy about your corporate social responsibility initiative must transfer feelings of ownership to vested parties. To encourage employees and stakeholders to take ownership of sustainability, for instance, showcase it as an opportunity to build a future of well-being for both your enterprise and the community.

3. Entrench

Now, you’ve planted the seed, but you’re not done yet. You must now entrench those feelings of ownership to make sustainability the status quo. When done correctly, this is an intuitive process for stakeholders.

By developing key metrics and monitoring the performance of your organization’s sustainability performance, you can demystify how employees and community members contribute to your CSR initiative and the betterment of society. Executive leaders, for instance, can incorporate sustainability goals into their direct reports. They can use this information to benchmark employees, departments, divisions and business units.

Getting the Team Down with the Program

To date, 85% of S&P 500 enterprises publish annual corporate social responsibility reports. Still, you don’t have to create an elaborate, convoluted CSR program to get employees interested in sustainability.

Start small. As an example, create opportunities for staff members to give back. Giving back may include supporting special causes or helping employees in time of need.

For instance, you can launch a sunshine fund to help employees during personal emergencies. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you communicate how easy it is for employees to participate in sustainable initiatives. Also, give employees the technological resources that they need so that they have an outlet to do good. For instance, open up a company web portal where employees can find out more information about and manage their involvement in your CSR causes.

As your CSR programs expand, think about launching an annual employee rally to highlight the accomplishments of your programs. The event will give employees something to look forward to. You can fuel employees’ passion for doing good with matching contributions, for instance.

Cone Research discovered that 79% of employees think charitable matching is important for philanthropy. It’s great when employees contribute. However, it’s even greater when your company does the same. Also, when choosing nonprofit partners, it’s smart to allow your employees to participate in the decision.

Taking Your CSR Initiative to the Next Level

Today, technology makes nearly everything easier. Employees who are informed are more likely to participate in your CSR initiative. Your employees’ level of engagement depends on regular communication about opportunities to participate in social initiatives. For instance, you can:

  • Build an email distribution list for social good
  • Mention CSR opportunities during team meetings
  • Promote charitable events in the company newsletter

Most importantly, however, always remember to recognize employees’ who participate in initiatives that help to improve the quality of life for others.

In other words, recognize your champions who volunteer and participate in your sustainability initiatives. Deep down, everyone wants to do good. People volunteer and give out of the goodness of their hearts. However, everyone craves recognition. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to deliver recognition for your employees. A thank you note from a top executive or an employee perk, such as dress down day, goes a long way to showing how much you appreciate the charitable efforts of your staff members.

It can’t be emphasized enough – change starts at the top. Before you launch any CSR initiative, make sure that top executives – from board members on down – are down with the program. Nobody wants to go against the grain or be viewed as someone who has a different opinion than their superiors. Executive support will compel all subordinates to fulfill their desire to do good.

Transparency will go a long way to showing employees that you’re serious about corporate social responsibility. Employees will take cues from company communications, for instance, that show your commitment to serving the community. In addition to matching donations, for instance, you can offer paid time off for volunteers. By doing so, you’ll reinforce the idea that employees will see rewards for their charitable acts. Eventually, your exemplary example of leadership will transform your company’s corporate culture to one of compassion, philanthropy and giving.

How Nonprofit Orgs Can Leverage Instagram Influencers in 2021

Marketing techniques are always changing, but they’re based on timeless principles that get results. Today’s influencer marketing trends are a new twist on the oldest marketing trick in the book: word-of-mouth advertising. Instead of turning to friends and family, though, people are now looking to social media influencers and celebrities for recommendations on what to buy and support.

Instagram influencer marketing is big business, and it can mean a huge boost in philanthropy for your nonprofit organization. It’s important for nonprofits to stay on top of digital marketing trends to bring in much-needed funds and to stay relevant in a for-profit world. But how can your organization leverage influencer marketing this year and bring in more funding? Here’s what you need to know.

Getting It Right

Before your nonprofit hops on the influencer marketing bandwagon, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of how influencer marketing works and how Instagram influencers create a buzz in their respective niches.

For the past decade or so, blogging has become extremely popular, in tandem with social media growth. Bloggers, YouTube stars, celebrities, and other content creators have amassed a large number of followers who trust their opinions and recommendations. Now, companies are paying to access that audience.

Briefly, Instagram influencer marketing works like this: an organization finds influencers in their niche and sponsor posts to promote their product or organizational goals. The influencer must identify the post as sponsored, but they can incorporate the promotion within their normal content style.

There are different types of influencers—macro-influencers, with tens of thousands of followers, and micro-influencers, with smaller, but very active follower bases. Depending on your organizational goals, different influencers will be more or less effective. Getting it right is tricky, but if you choose the right influencers and create a compelling campaign, your organization could find this approach to be very successful.

Getting into the Game

To get started in influencer marketing, you need to understand that it’s an investment. It’s estimated that by 2022, marketing departments will spend $15 billion annually on sponsored content. Nonprofits need to use their marketing budgets wisely and track ROI from influencer campaigns carefully.

One of the biggest challenges of an influencer marketing campaign is identifying the best individuals to help you spread your message. First, look at the potential influencers closest to your organization. Does anyone who is passionate about your cause have an engaged following that might respond well to your organizational goals?

Then, start to follow hashtags in your niche and start to “warm up” influencers by engaging with them. You want to get to know them, introduce your brand, and start to build those all-important relationships. Authenticity is key in influencer marketing since it is essentially a form of word-of-mouth promotion. If an influencer is only running a campaign to get paid, it will fall flat.

The best influencers will be speaking to your ideal donor base. Don’t be hasty in reaching out to potential partners. You’ll only waste time and money with the wrong influencers, so do lots of research and take the time to really talk with the influencer before proposing a sponsored campaign.

Help Shape the Message

Once you’ve chosen your organization’s ideal influencers, the work isn’t done! You’ll need to help guide and shape the content and message they present to their followers. Obviously, you need to give influencers some creative freedom, but if you’re letting them do whatever they want, there are things they may miss or get wrong.

Many influencers aren’t actually marketing professionals and may not know instinctively to create a strong call-to-action or may communicate a message that isn’t on-brand for your nonprofit. Remember, your brand image is on the line, so protect it through collaboration!

It’s also not enough to do just one post. You need to create a series of posts for your message to really land with an influencer’s audience.

Big Data and Influencer Marketing

As technology has become more advanced, marketers have gotten access to all sorts of tools and information that can make their campaigns more effective. Big data, in particular, helps organizations save money on marketing and identify opportunities that could create massive ROI. By gathering and analyzing data, nonprofits can make their influencer marketing efforts more effective.  

Leveraging big data can make some of the biggest decisions in influencer marketing easier. By learning more about your donor base, you can find out who they’re following, what makes them more likely to donate, and which messages resonate best. Your data assets will only grow as time goes on, making your decisions more informed and your campaigns more successful.

Instagram Influencer Marketing: A Powerhouse for Nonprofits in 2020—if Used Wisely

Influencer marketing is a huge trend in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. It can be a great investment for nonprofits, but it’s so important to be strategic in how you approach this tactic. It can offer some great ROI when approached in the right way, creating authentic engagement and ultimately, a larger base of followers and increased donations! 

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