At Market Mentors, we know the value of a worthy cause. Beyond the feel-good factor, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an excellent way to build teamwork, enhance employee engagement, support your community, engage your customers—and yes, even provide benefit from positive public relations.
According to Deloitte’s “2017 Volunteerism Survey,” 70 percent of employees would volunteer if they had more time. The survey also found that 89 percent of working Americans believe companies that sponsor volunteer campaigns offer better working environments than those that don’t.
With that in mind, here are some of the things we’ve learned over the years:
1. Make volunteering fun.
At Market Mentors, we all enjoy being around each other, so we don’t mind volunteering outside of work hours for worthwhile events. Our volunteer time allows us to practice what we preach—promote good deeds and have a good time doing them.
For example, this year marked our 9th annual Kids Safety Expo at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Free and open to the public, the event provides families with invaluable services to protect children. Our team, along with our event sponsors, brought games and fun attractions to each booth to make the event fun. More importantly, we brought energy to make sure the event was memorable for people of all ages.
As the Expo continues to grow, we see how it brings out people and local businesses who just want to be a part of it and help make things happen.
2. Pick causes that hit close to home.
Selecting causes closest to our hearts is a top priority. We look for volunteer opportunities that we’d be involved with regardless of our work.
That’s why we created in the annual Pink Day Initiative to raise funds for the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research. The effort had deep meaning to everyone, and it was a big hit with the community––many of our clients and partners gave generously. Over the course of four years, we raised more than $25,000 to support breast cancer services and research for the Rays of Hope Center.
This year, we were stunned by the devastation we witnessed after the hurricanes in our country, so we turned our focus to raising funds for the Salvation Army for hurricane relief efforts. Stay tuned to learn how much was raised!
3. Volunteer for things you can do.
Inspired by National Volunteer Month, we found a way to volunteer as a team by preparing a meal for the children and families at the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield. We decided to make a Mexican-inspired meal, including a taco bar, rice and beans, guacamole, fajita-style vegetables and assorted frozen treats. And it turned out to be a smash hit.
The key was to be realistic about what we could bring them and what they would want. Even a simple idea like a taco bar turned into unique meal, and experience, for everyone involved.
4. Pick your spots.
To paraphrase best-selling author Tom Peters, if a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade. At Market Mentors, we’re always on the lookout for new CSR opportunities, for ourselves and our clients. That’s why when we were offered the chance to work with the Salvation Army’s “Coats for Kids” program, we seized the opportunity.
One of the most renowned charitable drives in western Massachusetts for 30+ years, “Coats for Kids” has given tens of thousands of coats to needy children. After we got involved with the revival of the program, we were effectively able to collect more than 3,000 coats over the past three years.
You can do it!
There are many sources of pride we’ve had as a company, but none have been more powerful than these experiences that help our communities, bring people together, and even result in positive press for our partners.
If you are looking to launch your own corporate social responsibility program, you can start small. There are many local agencies and organizations who appreciate having volunteers to help with their endeavors; their websites often offer ways you can help.
If you need help organizing your efforts, give us a call. A CSR plan might just be the one thing you need to push your marketing strategies to the next level.