Many businesses now include a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy in their aims as a way to give back to their local community. Even if they don’t, they may be minded to help and support their local community as a way of showing commitment to a particular area or cause. However, whilst many businesses may want to fulfil these aims, it is often incredibly hard to do so. What is initially seen as a simple task can run in to any number of problems and to achieve exactly what a business would like is not easy, often resulting in having to have someone specialise in the charitable giving that they wish to undertake, taking them away from their main duties.
Corporate Social Responsibility used to be the domain of large multi national companies, as it can involve a significant amount of work, but now The Community Foundation offers a bespoke service designed to the needs of local businesses who want to put back into their community. There are many ways this can be achieved and it’s not all about giving financially. Sometimes local charities and community groups merely need help or volunteers and both of these can be met through Social Responsibility. Our service allows even the smallest business to take advantage of a CSR service that was previously beyond their means. It’s all about minimum investment and maximum return. Community foundations throughout the UK have a long history of helping many well-known companies meet their CSR needs.
One of the things that we are passionate about is ensuring that the help a business gives stays in their local community. This can help to boost their local profile and boost the local economy.
The benefits of CSR are many and numerous surveys have found that;
- Customers prefer to buy from businesses with an active involvement in their local community
- Other businesses and large corporations prefer to deal with socially responsible businesses
- Giving back through CSR can improve your local reputation and image
- CSR can increase brand identity through positive publicity, such as John Lewis and The Co-operative
A business that meets its Social Responsibility through The Community Foundation can ensure maximum impact for minimum investment. Some of the ways businesses can give back through CSR are;
- Giving financially to support local charities and community organisations, down to a district level, either through immediate grants or through sustainable giving, such as setting up your own fund.
By setting up a fund within The Community Foundation, the business can maintain direct control of where their funds go and receives full recognition for all donations made, but all reporting and management of the fund is handled by us. Such a relationship takes away the administrative burden of giving and leaves the business confident that donations are applied to best effect
All appeal letters are handled by The Community Foundation, so a business will never have to say no again; if the appeal does not meet the exact criteria of a fund, we can look for support from another fund under our management. All applications are assessed, many are visited and all projects put forward for funding have the full approval of The Community Foundation’s Trustees who are legally responsible for funds held within the Foundation.
- Volunteering by providing staff to work short term with charities or community groups in your area – it might be for a few hours, a few days or even longer term secondment – not only can it add variance to a staff role, it can assist with their personal development plans and increase your presence in your community.
- Donate unwanted goods to the local community, saving you time and money in disposal and benefiting those who really need them.
- Pro-Bono Help – By offering pro-bono services you can help meet the needs of small organisations and often these needs are simple and not time consuming but can greatly increase their sustainability.
- Offering to Sponsor a local charity, community group or event – This can immediately raise your public profile and successfully target potential customers by sponsoring events that are compatible with your business aims.
- You could set up Payroll Giving, offering your employees the chance to benefit from tax breaks when donating directly from their salary or pension.
However a business decides to give back to its local area, The Community Foundation will be there to help and assist every step of the way. We can advise prior to making any decision, to ensure that all available financial benefits are received that may be available to you for supporting the community.