By Kalpana Arya
Modern-day businesses are busy finding out ways to make an impressive social impact. Social impact strategies give impetus to their branding efforts and help in boosting loyalty. The ideal approach towards making a social impact is doing it with the intention of ‘giving it back’ to the society. However, most companies end up committing the mistake of linking social impact efforts only with revenue generation opportunities.
On the contrary, social impact efforts can do wonders only when they are made an integral part of a company’s growth strategies, culture and values. Any growth-centric decision should be taken only after considering its social impact. If you are serious about your organization making a social difference for good, here are the tips to make your efforts successful.
1. Understand the Unique Assets of Your Company
After having an in-depth understanding about the unique assets and offerings of your company, you can find the best way to help people across different communities. For instance, Deloitte launched the five-year social impact strategy after considering the skills and experience of its employees as the biggest asset. It aimed towards supporting education and employability charities in the UK. With its employees willing to dedicate 250,000 hours to this social cause, the company was successful in making a remarkable difference in the life of those who were deprived from the basic right to education.
2. Generate Social Impact & Promote Company’s Growth Simultaneously
Fulfilling the social responsibility of your business should be as critical as generating more revenue. By integrating these two strategies, your company can generate a sustainable revenue while executing social impact programs.
Here, you can take the example of Warby Parker, an American social enterprise, which creates economic value for customers by making available the best of sunglasses and prescription glasses. At the same time, it supports a non-profit organization, which runs free eye check-up programs in developing countries. In association with this organization, Warby Parker provides glasses to people with limited resources at affordable prices.
3. Assign Adequate Resources to Social Impact Programs
If you are as serious about a social impact program as the profit of your organization, then you should assign adequate resources to all your CSR activities. Make sure that your employees take CSR activities seriously, and pay much heed to the successful execution of social impact programs. You need to put a team in place which is responsible for creating and executing social responsibility tasks, and measuring their outcomes.
If your product is one of the biggest assets of your company, then the social impact team can be created after selecting volunteers from the product and supply chain departments. This way, the social impact team can work in alignment with the goals of product development team. In case, your company’s brand identity is its biggest asset, then rely more on your marketing team for aligning social impact activities with growth campaigns effectively.
4. Set Goals & Measure Outcomes
Set goals for social impact programs just the way you do it for any other business activity. This way, your team can stay focussed on the success of these programs and strive more towards achieving desired goals. If you measure the success of your social impact programs on a regular basis, then you can have better idea about which strategy works and which doesn’t. Companies like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter are already using the objectives and key results (OKR) system to measure the success of a social impact program and its impact on company’s objectives.
5. Use Social Media to Push CSR Activities
Digital media has become the direct link of communication between an organization and its customers. Organizations are using different social media platforms to share the word about its CSR initiatives. By integrating CSR with social media, companies can take a stronger step towards sustainability and enhanced brand recall value. Social media can act as the voice of a firm and help it in achieving increased customer engagement without being overtly promotional about it.
6. Take Out Time to Celebrate the Success
Social impact programs bring with it a sense of satisfaction. After all, your company has fulfilled one of its social responsibilities successfully and has made a positive impression on people from different arenas. Before moving over to the next CSR initiative, take some time to celebrate your accomplishments till now. By celebrating wholeheartedly about the success of your CSR initiatives, you can also inspire your employees to participate actively in the next social impact program.
Marc Gutman, Founder of Lighthouse Conferencing once said:
“My biggest piece of advice to start-ups looking to do this is do it for the right reasons. Do it because it is meaningful to you and your team. Do not enter into it as something that’s going to be monetized or to bring you business. If it does, that’s a bonus, but you’ll most likely be disappointed if this is your main reason for starting one of these programs.”
In other words, don’t develop a social impact strategy for the sole reason of generating revenue. It is not likely to work, as people can easily see through your intentions. Try to create a positive social impact that best utilizes the assets of your organization, and also analyse its long-term impact on your company’s brand building initiatives. When you stay authentic about your social impact, you are likely to get positive response from customers and other concerned individuals.
Kalpana Arya is into Technical Writing both as a profession and as a passion, and is presently working with Techjockey as a Senior Content Writer. She tries to keep her blogs informative, and helps readers learn new tricks of technology.