CSR pr
CSR pr

Being a valuable and known supporter of the community became increasingly priceless during the pandemic because of the many people who were either furloughed or laid off from their jobs. What also arose from the pandemic was a heightened consciousness largely brought about by some major events and leading to movements like increased diversity and inclusion in the workplace, to name just one of several.

An earlier article also pointed out the elevated importance millennials and Gen Z had for brand CSR. Indications point to this only increasing among more people in the future. How can brands help and also benefit from this?

Employee involvement is a major factor that will not only instill more loyalty within an organization but can also be empowering. Companies that encourage volunteering for local nonprofits demonstrate their citizenship but also make employees proud ambassadors. Some even permit time off from work to do this.

Where appropriate, it’s also valuable for employers to recommend volunteering at nonprofits whose mission aligns with theirs. For example, a beverage manufacturer might recommend a nonprofit whose mission is recycling. Grocers or food suppliers might recommend a food bank or community kitchen.

Closely associated with encouraging volunteering is matching employee contributions to those nonprofits and their workers’ support. A majority of employees who volunteer at charities also donate to them. Knowing their employer supports them and a cause they embrace further cements employee trust and loyalty. The match can be several cents to every dollar. Some employers match dollar for dollar.

Data from donation platform Double the Donation revealed that the top ten matching gift companies in the U.S. matched an average of up to $47,500 per employee each year. It also reported that 40% of the Fortune 500 companies extend volunteer grant programs and that the top ten American companies donate more than $2 billion annually. Double the Donation said most of that is due to employee matching donation programs.

The budget for many companies that match employee donations or offer volunteer grants is often based on a percentage of the company’s annual net income. This serves to not only fund the matching of volunteer grants but also creates greater awareness among employees of the importance of the success of their work efforts.

Brands just getting started might form a committee of known employee volunteers as well as reps from other departments to identify priorities and guidelines. Chief among them is agreeing on a niche that fits both the brand and one or several nonprofits.

That list should be narrowed down after more research. Included in the research should be how the nonprofit acknowledges any partnership with companies. If their corporate supporters are well-kept secrets, is it still worth partnering?

If an employee is already engaged with these shortlisted nonprofits, he/she can set up a meeting to further discuss the possibilities of collaborating. What’s important to determine is what each organization’s responsibilities will be. From there. It’s a matter of publicly launching the partnership and tracking the results.

Integrating these strategies into the company’s CSR plan will not only improve the community but also deliver stronger employee loyalty and trust while building a brand reputation as well.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.