Why Charitable Partnerships Can Boost Business and Community
24th September 2014
Corporate social responsibility - or CSR - may be something of a business buzzword, but it is increasingly a fundamental component of any successful business model and the basis for a burgeoning dedicated industry.
Thanks in no small part to the role of social media in creating instant and round-the-clock dialogues with firms and stakeholders, businesses are under pressure to engage with customers and investors across myriad platforms, fostering positive perceptions in a culture of instant gratification. The World Wide Web is unsympathetic to unethical business practices. Once unearthed, revelations can spread like wildlife. Twitter has seen many high profile businesses' failings go viral, opening them up to international debate and ultimately ridicule. Done right, social media can release unprecedented potential for firms to engage with their customer base. But it also spells a new level of accountability. It is unsurprising then, that everyone from large corporations to SMEs are getting on board with CSR in order to improve their reputation, generate positive publicity and look beyond the financial bottom line. Committing to CSR is an investment in the community and can help firms adopt an external outlook. If bad ethical practice can harm a business, a positive social contribution can reap rewards. As the UK economy shows signs of progress and business leaders regain confidence in their outlook, now is an ideal time to implement or expand CSR activity. The simple act of supporting a charity, like The Children's Hospital Charity, can mean a business makes a tangible contribution to a society at a grass roots level. A business that supports local charities can form lasting and valuable relationships through partnerships that provide mutual benefits. The charity benefits from fundraising and the company benefits from its association with a good cause. So what are the measurable benefits of CSR? It can aid recruitment and retention of a discerning workforce, who want to be associated with conscientious and community-centric employers. It can help immerse businesses within communities by making them a part of, not apart from the society they operate within. It can help win and retain investment and customers, improve reputations and generate positive publicity.