3 Methods to Transform into a Socially Responsible Organization These three methods will help you turn your organization into a company committed to making a positive impact.

By John Rampton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


How awesome do you feel when you do a good deed? Whether it is holding open a door for someone or volunteering at a non-profit, nothing beats giving back to the community. But, what if you could do those types of volunteering on a larger scale by making your organization more socially responsible.

Sure. It could make and your team feel great about yourselves, but you would also be helping your business as you help others. Nielsen found that "Fifty-five percent of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact."

Related: Why Should Your Business Care About Social Responsibility?

This sounds like a win-win situation. So, here's three ways that you can make this transformation within your organization.

1. Crowdsource ideas.

"A top-down, command-and-control type of company hierarchy is a bad match for inspiring a truly vibrant corporate social responsibility program" says Lain Hensley, Odyssey Teams COO. Instead, gather ideas from executives, team members, and customers on how your organization can and should give back to the community. Hensley adds, "use those ideas to create a corporate social responsibility culture that is more inclusive, democratic and participatory.

A study conducted from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found that 44 percent of companies have used crowdsourcing to generate ideas for the company's social responsibility programming and that 95 percent of those who did so found it valuable.

2. Go beyond corporate responsibility.

"Traditional corporate social responsibility (CSR) is failing to deliver, for both companies and society" proclaim John Browne and Robin Nuttall for McKinsey & Company. Instead, "Executives need a new approach to engaging the external environment" like being able "to integrate external engagement (IEE) deeply into business decision making at every level of a company."

In other words, these would be the "efforts a company makes to manage its relationship with the external world." This includes "not just corporate philanthropy, community programs and political lobbying, but also aspects of product design, recruiting policy and project execution."

Related: 7 Steps to Up Your Corporate Social Responsibility Game

For those looking to make IEE a reality, implement the following policies into your company;

  • Clearly define what you contribute by "being explicit about how fulfilling that purpose benefits society."
  • Possess "detailed knowledge of the preferences and resources of stakeholders" in order to develop goals and strategies.
  • Follow "the three core tools of great management: creating capabilities, establishing processes, and measuring outcomes."
  • Provide your employees external-engagement skills with on-the-job experience and formal training.
  • Incorporate external-engagement into all business processes.
  • Make sure that you "set targets, measure progress against them and link incentives to their achievement."
  • Also engage stakeholders, early, often and build trust with them.

3. Ways to turn a profit.

There are a number of ways that you actually incorporate a cause into your business model so that you're not only giving back to the community, but also turning a profit.

One example would be the BOGO technique. With this method you would donate a product every time someone made a purchase. TOMS Shoes is one of the better known buy-one-give-one companies out there who have made this a part of their business model.

Another common tactic is to donate a portion of your sales or profits to a charity. Back in 1983 American Express donated one cent for every dollar spent on funding for the preservation of the Statue of Liberty. The company was able to raise $1.7 million.

Companies have also opted to be transparent with their social responsibility. Timberland, for example, launched the the Timberland Nutritional Label which contains information like "where the footwear was made, the amount of energy that went into making it and the amount of renewable energy Timberland uses" on every box. This backs-up the claims that this is a company that cares about the environment.

Related: 3 Tips for Embedding Social Responsibility Into Your Company

Finally, you can get your employees involved by offering them paid-time off or incentives for volunteering their time. This is something that I feel is one of the biggest ways I can help with my busy schedule. Also, volunteering together, at the same time in the company helps bring the teams together for a common cause which has become one of the best ways to bring camaraderie to your team building exercises.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

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