CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 101 by dStringer

For the last two weeks, I have been using our social media postings to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  It became very clear to me last year, the tech world had a huge connection to the ugly reality of Domestic Violence, from the dark side of GPS usage to stalk victims, to the bright side of Safety Apps for quicker responses to a victim in crisis.

As a marketer, it has also been abundantly clear to me the importance of an alignment between a corporation and a cause.  Aside from the most important fact that it is just the right thing to do, there are many pluses that can be gained from a corporate/cause association.

As this idea has gathered more steam and has caught on, it has gained a title...Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR.

CSR holds much importance in educating the public and creating awareness of and for causes.  The potential of many more eyes and ears being exposed to the message, whatever it is, can be amazing!  In the social media posts for Alcala Consulting, we have been able to provide many facts about tech and Domestic Violence.  One post explored how abusers can easily utilize tech to stalk, harass, terrorize, and otherwise control their victims, and then gave guidelines on safety steps and precautions to take to avoid further victimization.  This week, we are featuring the good tools tech can offer to help a victim escape their situation and successfully move from victim to survivor.  Today, our posts featured information on "safety apps".  Honestly, I can tell you, I wasn't aware of a lot of the information my research for this campaign has uncovered, and now, as a result, I have already passed my knowledge on to two people I suspected were in crisis!  Both parties shared with me that they never knew about the facts I shared.  If the information I passed along is helpful to them, the result is priceless!    Look at this possibility...on Facebook, for example, a large corporation with several thousand followers has the potential of reaching hundreds of thousands with one post!  The branding and marketing numbers for a cause organization aligned with a corporation, just in social media alone, would far exceed anything financially most organizations ever would have in their marketing budgets.  Let's face it...most cause organizations don't even have a marketing budget.

Social media is just one little slice of the pie.  Corporate sponsorship in fundraising, donations to research, Board of Director representation...all of these examples illustrate the importance and intelligence of a corporate/cause liaison.  Very effective support to cause marketing in financial and brand recognition, just to name a few areas.

But the benefits to corporations in a CSR liaison is astounding...

“88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.

- Better Business Journey, UK Small Business Consortium

A whopping 88%!!!

Consumers increasingly don't accept unethical business practices or organizations who act irresponsibly. Advances in social media (giving everyone a voice) mean that negative or destructive practices quickly fuel conversations online. Organizations are accountable for their actions like never before.  

CSR should not be viewed as a drain on resources, because carefully implemented CSR policies can help your organization:

  • Win new business
  • Increase customer retention
  • Develop and enhance relationships with customers, suppliers and networks
  • Attract, retain and maintain a happy workforce and be an Employer of Choice
  • Save money on energy and operating costs and manage risk
  • Differentiate yourself from your competitors
  • Generate innovation and learning and enhance your influence
  • Improve your business reputation and standing
  • Provide access to investment and funding opportunities
  • Generate positive publicity and media opportunities due to media interest in ethical business activities

Marco Alcala, CEO of Alcala Consulting, did not hesitate when I approached him a year ago with the idea of joining October's month long awareness campaign to end Domestic Violence.  He immediately shared my insight that a liaison between this issue and an I.T. company would be smart, and extremely beneficial to all parties, most especially the victims.  He recognized and ultimately shared my passion for this cause.

And it starts there.  All it takes is a passion for a cause.

CSR has become such an important part of the business world, many corporations have created a position in their company to organize and lead their CSR team.

Corporate Social Responsibility is not going to solve the world’s problems. But... CSR is a way for companies to benefit themselves while also benefiting society.