7 Tips to Make CSR Count for Your Firm

by Jessica L. Levin, MBA, CMP, CAE, president of Seven Degrees, LLC | May 30, 2019

CSR, or corporate social responsibility, is another acronym that matters. Quite simply, it encompasses more than only donating to a charity or fundraising on their behalf. CSR embodies the culture of a company.

There are many ways that a firm goes about choosing a charity organization in which to get involved. Sometimes it is because of their clients. In other cases, it has some meaning to a partner or a staff member. But in other situations, it’s a good cause, but no one can remember how you got involved with that particular organization in the first place.

Blackrock CEO, Larry Fink, in a letter to his shareholders said, “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose.” Moreover, in a recent survey by Deloitte, millennial workers were asked what the primary purpose of businesses should be — 63 percent more of them said “improving society” than said “generating profit.”

Creating programs that benefit society and your local community is no longer optional. Both your clients and your staff start to demand that accounting firms are socially responsible and proactive about giving back. So how does a CPA firm go about deciding on how to implement a CSR project that works?

Here are some tips: 

  1. Decide CSR matters. The studies all point to the fact that social good has real value to the bottom line. However, to be successful, you must determine why it matters to your firm and its team members.
  2. Identify Champions. Someone needs to own CSR. Committees often contain members of various levels of experience and departments.It’s common to include HR and Marketing who can boost employee involvement and communicate your message.
  3. Create a Plan. Identifying causes and activities that matter to your firm is key to buy-in. Having action items, timelines and reporting mechanisms matters to CSR as it would any other firm initiative.
  4. Start Small. Your CSR program doesn’t have to change the world overnight. In fact, by creating bite-size goals, you’ll feel progress sooner, which is motivating to everyone involved.
  5. Measure Impact. From dollars raised to resources saved, as accountants, you understand that numbers matter. Track your progress and use the results to keep the momentum going.
  6. Talk about it. There is nothing wrong with getting some publicity for your firm. Tell your clients, prospects and the media about the good you are doing. When people see others making a positive difference, it’s contagious.
  7. Adjust and grow. Your CSR strategy will change and evolve.  Having internal champions assigned will help to keep our programs alive and increase your overall impact exponentially.

Like anything else when you have a strategy, your results are going to be better. Whether it’s obtaining new clients or retaining staff, planning helps. Social good is not just a fad, it's a shift in the way we do business.  Are you ready to make a difference?

Jessica  Levin

Jessica Levin

Jessica L. Levin, MBA, CMP, CAE is president and chief connector of Seven Degrees, LLC, specializing in marketing, public relations, events and technology.

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