Social responsibility is the accountability to work towards the benefit of society as a whole. According to this ethical theory, while the goal of increasing shareholder value is important, businesses should ensure their work and operations have positive impacts on society. If you want to incorporate philanthropy into your business model, here are a few ways to become more socially responsible.
Establish a System
For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, aid is given to people in need. This aid includes water, safe birth and bullying prevention services, sight, and (not surprisingly) shoes. This has been the company’s business model from the beginning, and the philanthropic system has defined the company’s culture and image. While your law firm may not be able to supply shoes to school children around the world, any company can establish a philanthropic system. Consider your company’s offerings—products and services—as well as your company goals. Such goals almost always reference the needs of a vulnerable group, being your target audience. How can you impact other community members beyond those individuals?
Partner with a Charity
Imagine you’re a pet food manufacturer and distributor, a perfect way to practice philanthropy could be by partnering with an animal-based charity such as the Humane Society or SPCA. Partnerships create mutual benefit, create a good company image, and offer new avenues for growth. While a monetary donation is always a great way to start, businesses should consider other options for a partnership, such as donating services or offering promotions. Such activities can facilitate tremendous growth, and the positive relationships bode well for any future partnership negotiations.
Interact with the Community
The best way for individuals to get involved in their communities is by rolling up their sleeves and diving in. The best way for businesses to get involved in their communities is by doing the exact same thing. Businesses that actually go out of their way to interact with those in need and offer assistance demonstrate true philanthropy. It’s one thing to say your business is society-minded but, without proper action, such claims will be disregarded, and you might actually attract some negative attention. Set up monthly or semi-annual volunteer days, during which employees go out into the community. Maintain transparency in communicating with your community, and don’t be afraid to share the fruits of your labor!