Small yet Responsible – Corporate Social Responsibility in Small Business
February 19th, 2017
by Steve O'Connor
One of the ways you can demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an established small business owner is to utilize a business loan in a way that benefits your community. For example, if you are in the food service business and receive funding for your restaurant, it is fine to share with your lender that you are using the loan in a way that increases goodwill for your business.
You can show you are committed to CSR in a number of ways: promoting environmental sustainability, joining with advocates for a cause or solving a problem. CSR can involve raising awareness for a cause, encouraging employees to volunteer or providing equipment, labor, supplies or a percentage of profits to a charitable organization. You may also form a network with other business owners who have the same goals.
Develop Long-lasting Personal Connections
You can start small by participating in national giving events like Giving Tuesday, which allows you to partner with local nonprofit organizations or other causes that could use your help. The networking process should lead you to do some introspection about your potential partners and where you want to concentrate your efforts.
As a business owner, you are likely to know the local area well. You may also want to stay there for some time. You should increase your level of CSR with nonprofit organizations, schools, other business owners and individuals who you trust. Also, get feedback from your employees and customers about where they feel help is needed and how you can do the most good.
Business loans and business capital advances can fund the events, promotions and publicity that fall in line with your CSR policy. Ideas include using money obtained from a lender to rent a booth at a sustainable living fair, to support the fair itself and to showcase your business as environmentally friendly. You could also use business funding to purchase supplies that you donate to a fundraiser for a homeless shelter, requesting that your business be named as one of the shelter's supporters.
Another idea is to donate time, labor and the use of equipment purchased with a business loan to an organization that supports your business mission. For example, if you run a carpentry business, you could offer a free woodworking class, utilizing the machines and supplies in your store, to children of low-income households.
How you showcase your CSR is up to you. Just as it does in your for-profit work, your creativity and innovation will make you stand out in the crowd.