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The European Commission defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as: The responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society.

For large businesses there should be an official policy in place. They might donate to charity, give some of their workers’ hours for charity projects or support one charity throughout everything they do.

With small businesses, a CSR policy is likely to be a lot more relaxed and informal. The relationship of an SME with the local area is very important and it’s for that reason that local charities are a good choice if you want to find one to support.

Your responsibility

Even the smallest businesses have some authority within the community. This becomes even greater if you put on regular events and are quite active in the press. With this sort of exposure you could do great things for a small charity.

It’s likely you’re already participating in activities that would count towards your CSR policy. These could be attending charity events, putting on free training courses, reducing your carbon footprint or simply involving charities in any promotional work you do.

If you run a business with any degree of success then it’s your responsibility to do something for the local community or a charity

What do you get out of it?

CSR activities aren’t one-sided. Just having a CSR policy can change your business’ image. It shows that you care about your impact on the environment and your place the community. This is especially important for any business, especially in a world where more and more businesses are trying to give back.

A lot of businesses adopt a CSR policy simply for the public relations opportunities it brings. Of course, your first and foremost thought should be who you can help but if you can build your profile and that of a charity, you should.

Don’t be afraid to let people know what you are doing and how you are doing it. But remember to focus on your cause. Sing the praises of your chosen charity, let people know how they can get involved in a community project, or offer ways in which people can get involved. Don’t just talk about how wonderful your business is for planting trees or donating money.

Mutually beneficial relationships

When partnering with a charity don’t just think about what you can do for them but also what they can do for you. These relationships don’t need to be one-sided but a lot of charities don’t know how to give back.

Talk to your chosen charity about what they can offer in return. Perhaps they can send an invitation to your latest charity event out to their email subscribers. Maybe they can do a bit of a PR push to announce your new partnership.

Not only does this help to boost your profile but also your charity’s too.

Working together in this way means more interaction with those working at the charity. The relationship can seem more like a partnership and that means it’s more likely to last.

If you’re interested in a mutually beneficial relation ship with a charity, take a look at the CSR Speed Dating event we’re holding in Norwich.

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