Louise Gilbey explains why corporate social responsibility is about more than just giving to charities and how small businesses can benefit.
Safe in Sussex is a West Sussex-based charity providing a range of services for adults and children experiencing domestic abuse. These include refuge accommodation, a helpline, community support groups and healthy relationships educational programmes. We might only be a small charity but we make a big impact in the community and our work truly is life-saving.
Like most charities, we are constantly seeking ways to ensure our services continue, one of which is through corporate partnerships with businesses.
The term ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) is often bandied around and can make us think of big companies doing their bit for the environment or for charities. In part it is, however there is much more to it. Corporate Social Responsibility is something that even the smallest of businesses can engage in and benefit from while giving back to charities and your community.
Benefits of CSR activity
A core benefit is that CSR allows businesses to build a positive brand position, one which clearly demonstrates a sense of ethics and values to your customers.
It also opens up opportunities for partnership working and helps businesses to expand marketing reach with the inevitable promotion from the charities they are supporting about the help they are gaining from the business. This has knock-on benefits including SEO gains and a boost in visibility.
Another benefit of CSR is that it provides opportunities in personal development. If you have employees, it can give them opportunities to gain new experiences and enable personal development. If your staff have the opportunity to help a charity via their employer it can enhance job satisfaction, raising staff morale and leading to greater productivity and higher staff retention. After all, a good deed has its own reward.
Showing your customers that you have a set of values and ethics and are engaging in the community helps to build a positive brand around your business, you’ll stand out in the crowd, retain and grow customer loyalty. Additionally, CSR is a way to compete with larger or national companies, as you are showing you are a valuable community member and there is a ready customer base who want to buy local and align themselves to an ethical business.
At Safe in Sussex, we value our partnerships with businesses no matter what the size. For a charity such as ours, we rely on the goodwill of the community to enable us to provide vital and often lifesaving support to those experiencing domestic abuse. We love being part of the MNC community for many reasons, including the fabulous partnerships we have developed with members.
We love promoting our partners through our social media, press releases and when networking. Other ways we can support is through providing domestic abuse awareness training and help you develop a domestic abuse policy for your business if you have employees.
How to engage in CSR
There are several ways you can engage in CSR with Safe in Sussex:
1. Financial donations: no matter the size of the donation every little really does help!
2. Material donations: donate items on our wish list, to our charity shop or perhaps you want to give something from your business for example we have business who donate cakes to the refuge’s birthday.
3. Time donation: perhaps you or your staff want to give up some time to help, we have had a photographer give their time at our events, a beautician give treatments to women in refuge, a hair salon which gives free haircuts to women in refuge.
4. Event participation: We love businesses and individuals getting involved and supporting our events. Events can be a great opportunity for team building, stepping out of your comfort zone and for personal development.
5. Sharing our social media posts: This is easy to do and really helps raise the profile of the charity and gets our message out there to a wider audience.
We would love to chat and find out how we can work in partnership.
You can contact Louise, Debbie or Tash on 01903 896210 or email us at [email protected]