5 out-of-the-box ideas for your CSR spends to work smarter

Treat your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget like an extension of your Marketing Communications (Marcom) budget – Design the program to ensure real, measurable gains to the brand

Identify the brand values that should resonate from your CSR initiatives. Make sure these, come through very clearly, while designing the program. Align with partners who can help you reinforce these values

Example – An automobile company earmarks a very large proportion of its CSR spends on road safety awareness initiatives. If the program could attract its current and future customers as volunteers, the CSR spends can double up as Marcom spends – with a much higher ROI

Crowdsource the delivery through charged-up volunteers

Going to the grassroots for your delivery, and deploying honest sweat – can get you immense coverage, higher penetration, larger output. Using youth, students, employees, their parents could build a lot of momentum and visibility for your CSR programs and ensure a higher bang

Also involve employees – for high returns on employer-of-choice positioning

Create opportunities for employees to choose certain initiatives that align with larger corporate CSR mandates. The engagement, bonding, fulfillment and synergies generated can have immense payoffs in retention, satisfaction and productivity

Organizational mandate through coordinated Internal Communications program

Coin a war-cry that has potential to build a shared buy-in among stakeholders. Create a motto  that aligns with brand ethos and communication. Wet your feet – choose programs that have high emotional connect with your target stakeholders, though they may demand a little more involvement and planning,

Use an online platform for real-time reporting and transparent deployment

Real-time dashboards that showcase the program, its impact, deficiencies can allow quick course-correction

Sameer Sikka is the chief Mentor and volunteer at www.volunteer4india.org, that works with organizations to maximize ROI from their CSR spends.

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