So, you’ve made a commitment to do social good as part of your CSR or ESG initiatives. Great! Business social impact is key to helping local communities, and it also creates a lot of mutual benefits for your business. Supporting community action:
- brings your company’s mission to life
- increases brand awareness and reputation
- boosts employee engagement and satisfaction
- improves customer loyalty and retention
- attracts investment opportunities
- the list goes on…
To fully reap those rewards, people have to be aware of your efforts. If no one knows about the impact you’re creating, you won’t be able to inspire your stakeholders and push for push for further positive change.
Importance of sharing your ESG social impact
At ActionFunder, we make it easy for businesses to fund community action. We’ve connected businesses of all shapes and sizes with non-profits across the country. And we’re often surprised by how many companies don’t talk more about the great work they’re doing as part of their ESG social impact initiatives to support their local communities and environments.
Customers, investors, and team members alike all want to know that your company is walking its talk. Here are a few powerful facts to back this up:
- 91% of global consumers expect businesses to be responsible, and to address social and environmental issues.
- More than 80% of investors now consider ESG factors when making investment decisions.
- And 78% of employees want to work for a company that leads with purpose.
That’s precisely why more than 90% of the world’s top companies now produce an annual CSR report (thanks to KPMG for that stat.)
It’s one thing to do good; it’s another to prove your impact.
6 tips for sharing business social impact
With many big brands getting called out for greenwashing and purpose-washing, it’s important to stay far away from the line between sharing and exploiting.
Patting yourself on the back for the world to see without taking real action can quickly backfire and have quite the opposite effect. Cancel culture is real. 81% of UK consumers say they may stop using a brand if they find out it made misleading pledges about environmental or social issues.
To this note, we’ve put together a few tips that will help you share your business’s social and environmental impact without falling into greenwashing, community-washing or self-aggrandising.
1. Plan a communication campaign.
Chances are, your marketing team is well-versed in creating comms campaigns. Get them involved in your ESG social impact initiatives. Share your goals, actions, and outcomes. They’ll bring some great ideas to the table about how to communicate your efforts with style and class.
2. Shine the spotlight on everyone else.
Part of doing social good is lifting others up. If you carry this thinking through to your communication efforts, you’ll be in good shape. Make sure your message is more about the groups and people you’re helping than about your role as the helper.
3. Think organic.
This isn’t the time for big ad campaigns. Aim for organic promotion, rather than paid. You should never spend more to promote your business social impact than you invest in creating it.
Think about how you can tap into the channels where you already have an audience. Here are some avenues to consider:
- Your blog and website
- Internal and external newsletters
- Social media pages
- Press and media outlets
- 1:1 communications
4. Get your executive team involved.
Carol Cone’s Purpose Under Pressure report shows that 84% of managers and 95% of executives take pride in their CSR efforts. Combine this with the fact that executives are an extension of your brand and it becomes a no-brainer to leverage their reach as part of your communications plan.
Keep execs informed about your community action work and impact. And make it easy for them to share results with their networks.
5. Make your impact tangible.
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Photos, videos, stories, and data are great ways to bring your impact to life. Think about how you can capture real-life examples of your community action work.
The ActionFunder platform makes this easy. When businesses fund community projects through our platform, non-profits post multiple updates showing how funds are applied. This results in a great stream of photos, videos, and testimonials that funders can use in their communications. Plus, you get a detailed report when a project is complete so you have real data to prove your impact.
6. Be sure to walk your talk.
We’ve said it before. Doing good is about more than just a marketing campaign.
Businesses can’t just fund a couple of local projects and expect that to mitigate negative outcomes from the way it operates, the decisions it makes, or how it treats its people. To reap the rewards of social good, your efforts must be genuine and transparent. This article contains some great tips to help you put your purpose into practice.
How (and when) to communicate impact – your checklist
Communication is an important part of CSR and ESG social impact work. If your business is doing meaningful work to support local communities, we encourage you to share the results.
We’ve put together a checklist to help you communicate your impact in the right way. It covers the when, why, and most importantly, how to share your community action projects with the outside world.
You can grab a copy of it here.