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For many in the home service industry, giving back to the community is just what you do. It’s baked into your connections to your service area and personal altruism It’s also something many business owners have never considered publicizing.
But publicly feting your corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer considered taboo. In fact, it’s encouraged and can help you establish your company and its brand, as well as attract new customers and employees.
Research shows that 84 percent of consumers say it is important that a company supports charitable causes. Half of all Americans say that they would switch to a company that supports a cause they believe in (https://bit.ly/3M5sDqO). Those figures are even higher among younger Americans who consider CSR something all businesses should be doing.
It’s a fact that socially responsible organizations achieve a greater positive image, loyalty and customer trust. Your charitable giving also differentiates you from your competition.
But learning the right way to incorporate social responsibility into your public relations campaign can sometimes be tricky for someone new to publicizing their charitable giving.
Consumers are a pretty shrewd bunch. They know when a company is simply creating a publicity tool, which can present a bad image for your business.
Chances are, however, that your home service business has been donating to or volunteering for charitable organizations for years — but you’ve never publicized it. If it’s something your company has been doing for years, it’s likely you already have community and employee buy-in for your giving or volunteering because the cause is something you and your team honestly believe in.
But if you are starting to look into giving back to the community, your participation needs to be genuine. Sure, you can post a banner supporting a cause to your social media channels, but unless you show some real action, you will come across as insincere.
When it comes time to publicize your activities, you should be able to show how your initiatives benefit the organization or organizations you choose to support. Drawing a line between your donation or activity and its impact on the charitable organization is important in letting potential customers know your real support.
Ask your staff
While most charitable organizations are truly deserving of support, donating for donating’s sake isn’t helpful in the long run. If the charitable organization isn’t popular at your company, donations will be down, volunteers may be nonexistent and your company will be seen as less than truthful about its support.
If you are not already supporting an organization and want to know where to begin, a way to start is to poll your employees. Your employees are the most important part of your company’s culture; their buy-in establishes how successful your corporate social responsibility program will be. This is not a top-down decision that should be determined from on high.
If your staff agrees with your choices of charitable organizations, the entire company “owns” it and it is reflected in the way your employees conduct business. It becomes ingrained in your business practices.
One of the most successful examples of a well-done CSR campaign that has become the face of a company’s culture is the series of Dawn dishwashing liquid commercials addressing oil spills (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysTFRcBqFpE). The campaign showing how its soap was effective at cleaning animals who had been contaminated by oil spills and the company’s continued donations to animal rescue efforts is ingrained in our psyche.
Now, when we see Dawn in the stores, we associate it with helping distraught animals. After all, if it can gently and effectively clean up oil-drenched ducks, it can certainly clean up messy dishes without harming your hands — and a dollar of your purchase price also helps rescue efforts, to boot!
Good company credit
Once you have determined the causes your business supports and have employees excited about your efforts, then — and only then — should you begin reaping the benefits of your initiatives.
You don’t have to wait for the news media to catch up to your work. You can start publicizing your donations and events on your website and social media channels. A well-written press release can also draw the media’s attention to the event and put it on their radar, as well.
Your social responsibility program can go a long way toward building your “good company credit” with employees and stakeholders. Potential customers want to work with and buy from a company they feel works for the betterment of the community. Your staff will appreciate that their work in supporting a cause isn’t going unnoticed.
With so much bad news in the world today, corporate accountability initiatives offer your company a chance to show it cares about the community and about affecting real change. Remember to first be genuine in your efforts and get your employee’s buy-in when choosing a cause. Once you’ve achieved that, publicizing this positive company culture is a win-win for both the charity you choose and your business’s public image.