Posted on 15/04/21

With information about your company on hand at the click of a button (or swipe of a finger), it’s easier than ever for people to spend their money with businesses which share their values. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a way for you to demonstrate your commitment to economic, social and environmental causes (either local or worldwide) via donations, volunteering and/or sustainable businesses practices.

You may be wondering whether CSR is worth the time and financial investment, but it’s an important aspect of PR as it directly affects how the public perceives your brand. Earlier this year, management consultants Deloitte wrote a blog post suggesting that “2020 could go down as a revolutionary year for CSR” adding that their research suggests this trend will continue in 2021.

People are often willing to pay more for products and services when they are being provided by companies which commit to positive social and environmental impact. In the outdoor clothing sector, Patagonia is a popular brand despite the higher costs, due to their self-imposed Earth tax of 1% for the Planet, use of recycled fabrics and ethical stance on a number of issues.


How to start a CSR programme

Developing a CSR programme can help you get exposure and build a good reputation in your market place with both the media and customers. Your employees will also benefit from increased morale and the feeling that they are part of something bigger.

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to work out what CSR looks like for your business. Your mission statement and values are great places to start before looking at things which align to your industry. Your team will have some great ideas themselves, so find out what’s important to them and get feedback on your own thoughts.

Remember to also think about your internal CSR and how you treat your employees. When you consider some of the brands which are well known for their CSR, many have great employee benefits and opportunities for growth which help with recruitment and retention.

CSR and team building

Getting involved in corporate volunteering is an easy way to develop team building in your business. It encourages your employees to work together on a common goal, reinforcing bonds which will transfer back into the work place. Many people can find traditional team building days a bit of a burden, but community volunteering can give purpose and achievement to the activity.

If your employees have been working in isolation from their home offices over the last year, team building will be especially important as they start to return to the work place. Equally, bringing remote workers together for a collaborative project will help people to get to know each other, foster a sense of belonging and develop trust between individuals.

Other benefits of team building via CSR include:

  • Increased employee motivation and confidence
  • Better productivity as people work together
  • More collaboration as people build relationships and a network of contacts
  • More creativity with diverse perspectives helping to generate solutions
  • Better communication as people get to know each other
  • Connection to the community around your business
  • Employee happiness and retention

CSR ideas for small businesses

As a small business, you may wonder whether CSR is possible for you (we actually wrote a blog post about this back in 2018 which you can read here).

You can start small by picking a local charity to support (even better if you can get your employees to choose causes close to their heart) or doing something simple like a cake sale, but we also recommend taking a look at upcoming charity events in your community. Another really simple step is introducing company recycling facilities, ethical packaging and eco cleaning products.

If you’re looking for specific activities, we’ve listed 5 ideas which you can incorporate into your business pretty quickly:

  1. Enter a team in the Barnsley Hospice Accumulator Challenge

Barnsley Hospice is located just a mile up the road from The Business Village and is our adopted charity. During May 2021, they’re running an accumulator challenge where they get you started with a loan of £30 which you and your team then turn into as much money as possible. You can auction, invest, run and fundraise to make the biggest profit during the month!

When: 1st to 31st May 2021

Click here for more information.

  1. Be a litter hero and pledge to clear litter from your local community

Keep Britain Tidy are running a Great British Spring Clean which you and your team could join, spending a day picking up litter from the streets, parks and countryside in your area and helping to improve your local environment.

When: 28th May to 13th June 2021

Click here for more information.

  1. Get in touch with local charities to volunteer your team for a day

You could pick a local charity close to your heart and offer a small team of people to volunteer for a day. Ideas include helping out at a homeless shelter or working on a new path for a conservation charity.

When: Any time

More information: Barnsley CVS contact page and Sheffield Volunteer Centre PDF document

  1. Run the Barnsley Boundary Relay Race for your nominated charity

The Barnsley Boundary Relay Race is a multi-terrain race of 73 miles in total, following the route of the Barnsley Boundary Walk. Teams of 10 enter, with each person running a leg of between 4 and 11.5 miles on roads, tracks and footpaths. You can nominate a charity which your team members then raise sponsorship money towards.

When: 19th June 2021 (Covid permitting)

Click here for more information.

  1. Support wild animals via team building events at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster hold team building events which are actually workshops to create items for the animals. The workshops help the Wildlife Park to provide the “best possible animal welfare, creating enrichment items for the animals”.

When: Any time

Click here for more information.

Final thoughts

CSR is becoming an important factor when choosing who to purchase from and businesses implementing good practices will secure their reputation with customers and employees alike.

You may prefer to allow paid time off for staff members wanting to undertake charity work rather than setting up team events, or you may wish to adopt one of the ideas we’ve mentioned in this blog post.

Whatever you choose, make sure you promote your CSR policies and results in a visible place on your website and share what you’re doing on social media so that people are aware of how you’re helping.

Get in touch to chat about our CSR policy and find out how The Business Village can help you and your business grow, email ksteel@barnsleyBIC.co.uk or click https://www.barnsleybic.co.uk/