How to plan a successful CSR day

The importance of providing employees with an opportunity to get stuck into meaningful work – to feel like their job connects them to a higher purpose through social impact – can’t be downplayed. The results are higher levels of productivity, improved retention and better engagement.

This is why more workplaces are offering their employees with corporate social responsibility (CSR) or corporate volunteering days. Our own studies also show that strong CSR practices are valued by employees and job seekers.

But before you leave the confines of your office or worksite to get stuck into a CSR activity with your team or wider company, there are several factors to keep in mind for it to have a positive impact and a success – for the charity but also for your team.

Here are some key considerations.

RELATED: Why CSR and corporate volunteering helps retain staff

Valuable CSR planning tips

  • Allow everyone to contribute ideas for potential CSR initiatives. It is a team day, after all, so ensure each member gets an opportunity to have a say. Plus, including more voices at the beginning stages means you might get some interesting suggestions that you otherwise may not have thought of. Sponsoring local events that align with your company values is also beneficial.
  • Environmental sustainability and community engagement are popular options. However, try to identify local charities or causes that are “under the radar” or don’t get as much love as some of the bigger organisations. They often struggle with volunteer numbers or frequency of volunteers, whereas well-known ones can have long waiting lists or prefer that you commit to a roster rather than visit as a one-off.
  • Ensure everyone is on board with the final idea. Again, CSR and corporate volunteering is a team day so if one person is dominating the planning or insisting on a specific activity without the support and genuine interest of your team, it’s not going to make for a very enjoyable day.
  • Have all questions answered beforehand by the potential charity or organisation. For example, what sorts of tasks will you be participating in? If there are physical labour elements to it, does anyone in your team have a condition or injury that would prevent them from helping? Are there other jobs they can do instead? Check back with your team on these factors.
  • Assign a team member (or two, for a bigger team) to lead the activity i.e. being across the day’s agenda and timetable, directions, your point of contact, orientation, and what to bring such as hats and sunscreen. It will give them a sense of responsibility as they will oversee all the touchpoints, and keep the team updated and excited as the day gets closer.
  • Find an additional way to give back or say thanks. For my team’s CSR day, when we noticed the food supplies at Greyhound Rescue were running low, during our lunch break we purchased a large bag of rice to donate.
  • Provide a testimonial. Many charities are grateful for some feedback they can use to further promote and encourage more corporate volunteering. Your unique experience and insights can inspire others to get involved in CSR programs.

An opportunity to showcase other qualities and skills

Your chosen activity will likely put you and your team in new or unfamiliar scenarios. The benefit of this is that it allows for other aspects of our personalities to shine, particularly as most CSR days revolve around charity and compassion.

For example, being outdoors with rescue dogs for our company Giving Back Day meant that our team could showcase:

  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Patience
  • Open-mindedness
  • Pro-activity

These are great qualities to take back to your job after your CSR day. And if you’re the manager of your team, you may be able to better identify the suitability of a team member to a specific project because they possess a certain quality required for the tasks involved.

Following the planning considerations above will help ensure your CSR day is a success.

Making a positive impact

Socially responsible businesses not only benefit the community but CSR also benefits the people side – team building, employee engagement and boosting team morale – greatly contribute to creating new relationships or reinforcing the bonds in an already well-established dynamic.

Having CSR strategies in place fosters a positive reputation with employees, customers, partners and the community. It creates a sense of purpose and pride among employees, leading to higher job satisfaction and increased loyalty. Furthermore, customers are more likely to support and engage with a company that prioritises social and environmental responsibility, while partners and the community view the organisation as a trusted and valuable collaborator.

More CSR initiatives

Implementing other sustainable practices can also have a positive impact on reducing employee turnover. By prioritising initiatives such as work-life balance, flexible schedules, and eco-friendly policies, organisations can create a healthier and more fulfilling work environment, leading to higher employee satisfaction and lower turnover rates. This alignment of sustainable practices with employee well-being ultimately contributes to a more stable and motivated workforce.

This article was based on Why our CSR day strengthened our team dynamic and left a lasting impression, published on LinkedIn.

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