Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has several definitions but there is a common thread connecting them- the social and economic benefits of giving back to the community and protecting the environment. Small business owners may think the costs of implementing a CSR are too expensive, especially when corporate governance and CSR reporting are considered. However, the short-term costs pale in comparison to the long-term gains. Here are some things that you should pay attention to as an entrepreneur when trying to determine the right CSR strategy for your business. Our focus is on the social impact a strong CSR strategy brings.
The Psychology of Giving Back
Philanthropy is good for both the community you serve and the people within your organisation. Being charitable allows people to feel a form of pleasure. Psychologists have many theories about the reason giving makes people feel happy. William Harbaugh, a University of Oregon Professor, determined that there are three main theories on the psychology of giving back.
Nobility acts upon your conscience. Some individuals give out of genuine concern for others. Selflessness is a choice. When you are able to personally relate to a charitable cause, it triggers that aspect of your mind that feels the need to oblige.
Doing the right thing is always a good reason to give back. You will feel a sense of satisfaction knowing you have done the right thing even if your donation may not make a huge difference.
It is also important to be mindful of the words you speak while giving. First impressions last and your words can either encourage or discourage potential prospects. According to Jen Shang, it is important to choose your words wisely. He recommends 9 words that tap into the psychology of giving
Recognition is often an outcome of being generous and this recognition can increase their social value. Some people engage in philanthropy solely for this purpose. This may be deemed unethical but that’s a story for another blog post.
Giving Back is Good for Business
Giving back to society is a good way to support the growth of the community and keep the doors of your business open. Here’s how giving back supports business growth.
Good publicity brings in new customers and maintains a strong foundation with old customers. Your significant contribution to community activities will remain in the minds and hearts of those impacted and shine a positive light in your business.
New Business Opportunities
A charity event is a good way to network. Different businesses coming together at a corporate charity function creates a pool of opportunities for small business owners to create potential business collaborations. It’s wise to donate and attend these charity events.
Charitable Deduction on Income Tax
Tax deductions for charitable donations do exist. Be cautious though because there are specific requirements for a business to be eligible for this tax deduction. Speak with a Tax Association of Jamaica (TAJ) representative if you are unsure about the requirements.
The Art Of Giving Back
The act of giving back can take on many forms, from fundraising events to sponsorship. Donating money to a local charity isn’t the only way to give back. Here are four charitable donation strategies that you could consider for your business.
Sponsor our Youths
Schools operate with limited resources and will never turn away a donation that can help develop their students. You can assist through scholarships, sponsoring school feeding programs, providing book grants or giving your time to mentor youth at risk.
Scholarships and grants are usually offered to youth who are performing well academically, while neglecting those who have the potential but may be hindered by circumstances. Your business can make a difference in these young people’s lives by not limiting scholarships to those doing well academically. Invest wholeheartedly in these youth who have the potential to perform, but are hindered due to circumstances.
Donations don’t have to be in monetary form. Your business’ product or services can be of major contribution to society. For example, some businesses, like island eyewear may off free eye testing.
Sponsor a Charity
Charities are for an extremely good cause. Some businesses create their own charities for something that their business believes in, such as education, health care or retreat programs for the underprivileged. The Digicel Foundation, for instance, has invested in education.
Your business may not be large enough to facilitate a charity division. However, you can donate to existing charities so that they can keep doing their work. Whatever charity your business decides to invest in, it’s always good marketing strategy to invest in a project that may help further define your business and what it represents.
There is a common Jamaican saying that goes, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”. There is something therapeutic about volunteering. Chief among the benefits of volunteering is its ability to reduce depression. The workplace can be very stressful but encouraging your employees to volunteer can make them happier and better able to cope with the unavoidable stress of running a small business.
Let’s Get In Gear!
Make your business a product of change. Your business has a social responsibility to make a difference, not just increase profits. Starting a business in Jamaica can be tough, but becoming more involved in the community helps ease some of the burden. If you present your business as a product of change and hope, you will attract loyal consumers.