Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility
It’s that time of the year where we “make it count” by showing people that we care. As a franchisee, you can make this festive season extra special by embracing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.
Doing good pays off
Doing good can also be great for business; a growing body of research indicates that socially responsible companies can expect to see an increase in sales, profitability and value. Having a well-defined and active CSR initiative can help a company achieve the following:
- Attract and retain qualified personnel
- Enhance employee engagement
- Increase customer loyalty, sales and profitability
- Bolster community goodwill
- Safeguard corporate reputation
What is CSR?
Business is never divorced from community and the origins of corporate philanthropy stretch back to ancient times. The modern concept and term ‘corporate social responsibility’ emerged in the 1950. In this decade, society began to hold companies responsible for social problems and called on business to play a role in resolving these.
In the decades since then CSR gained mainstream acceptance around the world. In the 2000s, CSR was considered an important strategic issue for business. Today, being a good corporate citizen is arguably more important than ever.
Here are some of the factors that drive the adoption of CSR:
- The rise of Generation Y: This generation is one of the most socially aware – they want to make a difference and they want to work for companies that care. They believe
that brands should create value for society by addressing its needs.
- A world under pressure: Climate change, pollution, extinction, inequality, terrorism and unemployment. We face huge environmental and social challenges. Business with its motive of profit above planet is often viewed to be the villain. Savvy companies must counter this with an active social drive.
- Insurance against corporate fall-out: The world is increasingly connected. This means that poor corporate behaviour in one jurisdiction is shared elsewhere. But companies and people aren’t perfect. Having a good record of giving back protects companies should a reputational crisis emerge.
Purpose above profit
Many experts predict a growing movement towards a ‘purpose economy’ as the fourth economy in history and evolving out of the information economy. Aaron Hurst’s The Purpose Economy describes this as an economy that this driven and organised around the creation of purpose for people, not just information, goods and services. In this economy, meeting society’s needs and addressing social problems comes to the fore. In the franchising sector, this can be seen in the rise of social franchising, which is franchising with social rather than profit-making goals.
Local franchising heroes
The franchising sector grasps the importance of CSR with franchises involved with a wide range of initiatives. Here are a few well-known programmes:
KFC Add Hope is a national feeding initiative, which runs all year round, allows you to purchase ‘hope’ or a meal contribution off the menu for just R2. Since the project launched in 2009, KFC has raised an incredible R183 million.
Spur, through the Spur Foundation, recently collaborated with not-for-profit social enterprise Relate Bracelets. The initiative plans to raise R750, 000 in order to set up micro franchises run by single mothers. Spur patrons can get involved by buying a Relate Bracelet for R30 from the Spur family of brands; Spur Steak Ranches, Panarottis and John Dory’s.
Leading water purification H2O International SA supports The Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF) an organisation dedicated to bringing clean, safe drinking water to disadvantaged areas.
Not just for big players
You don’t need to be a large player to be involved in a CSR project – many franchisees do great things in their communities. Here’s some tips to get going:
- Speak to Head office – your franchisor will be able to share advice and ideas from other initiatives in the network.
- Involve the team – having your employees involved can be an impactful team building exercise.
- Be strategic – where possible link the activity to your businesses core activity.
- Exercise caution – chose your non-profit partners carefully. Some unscrupulous characters run scams through an NGO front. While this is rare, ask to check registration.
- Alert the press – local initiatives will get covered in the local paper and community radio stations. Take pictures of your team at work and share with the local newspaper. Please note that there are laws in place regarding children and photography including written permission from parents.
Get in touch!
Involved with a great CSR initiative? Share your story with us. Alternatively, speak to one of our franchising experts regarding getting started. Remember that doing can also be good for business.