How can a company successfully develop a social impact program?
1. Stand for Something
Many CSR programs fail to make an impact because they don’t make their purpose clear. Donating a percentage of your sales to a random charity that you picked out of a hat won’t mean anything to your consumers. Any give-back program you develop needs to align with your company values and your brand mission.
2. Communicate Your Efforts
Six years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the corporate offices of Johnson & Johnson and sit with the Chief Procurement Officer for lunch. He shared with me all the programs that Johnson & Johnson have in place, but I had never heard of them. They were clearly written in their annual report but not explained, promoted and delivered to the public.
Taking care of the community has, in the past, been more of a private endeavor for many large and small companies and it is now rising to surface.
If your company has a social impact program in place, support it with PR and get your message out there! For and CSR program to make any difference to your business reputation and your sales, people need to be aware that it exists.
3. Don’t Forget About Profit
A few years ago, I read a book called Evolved Enterprise by Yanik Silver. It outlines 11 social impact models and talks in detail about why purpose-driven business models are not only growing in popularity but are becoming a necessity to connect with consumers. I highly recommend that you read it.
The book inspired me to create an initiative called Labels4Good, which I launched at the Global Sustainability Summit last summer. The program was designed to give grocery packaging a purpose by donating food and resources to community food pantries around the country with every box sold. Companies could opt into the program and promote their involvement with a label on their packaging.