Corporate Social Responsibility
What is CSR?
When a private company or corporate business provides practical support to voluntary organisations and community projects to help them improve facilities or services, or help to improve society, and contribute to sustainable development, this is known as Corporate Social Responsibility (or CSR).
CSR can come in many forms, whether that’s working with a community garden to tidy up and improve an area, helping serve meals in a local soup kitchen, or bag-packing at a supermarket to raise money for a cause. Many companies also choose to fulfil their CSR objectives by providing materials, equipment, sponsorship and donations, pro-bono advice, or some other kind of support. And that’s okay, it’s all CSR and it all helps. It’s what Totally Stoked is all about: communities giving together.
Finding a CSR opportunity through our CSR Brokerage Service
This can be a difficult task for corporate businesses, especially if you’ve never looked into CSR before. But that’s what VAST’s CSR Brokerage Service is here for. To help support voluntary and community groups in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, we act as a broker for CSR opportunities in the area, matching businesses with projects based on interests, skills, and goals.
The first thing we’ll do is ask you a few questions to find out more about what you’re looking for, things like what you’d like to do, what you want to achieve, and what skills and resources you can bring to the opportunity. We’ll also want to know what your goals are when it comes to CSR and staff volunteering days, whether that’s anything that aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a cause that is close to your heart as a company or a team, a particular area that you would like to help improve for the community, or an issue you would like to help address in a specific area (for example, you might like to help reduce loneliness in Burslem, or you’re looking to help homeless people in Hanley). Your goal could also be something as simple as a day away from the office to build staff morale and do something good for your community.
The Benefits of CSR
There are a lot of benefits to CSR, for your employees as well as your business. It also has a huge effect on the voluntary sector and projects you support, and in the local community.
Having your employees working together on something new and exciting will help to boost team morale and will provide an opportunity for them to bond outside of the workplace, which very often results in improved productivity and increased output. These activities often also create excellent networking opportunities for your business, forming new (and building on existing) professional relationships. And, of course, it will boost your business’ reputation.
Just getting out of the workplace can make a difference to your employees’ wellbeing, and CSR projects are a fantastic team-building opportunity, giving them the chance to work together outside of their usual work environment. CSR activities usually involve some kind of practical work with an end result which will give your employees a mental boost, with a sense of achievement and fulfilment. This kind of activity will also improve skills that aren’t necessarily used in their usual working day and working with community projects in this way will help them create or renew a connection with their local community.
Community projects work tirelessly to support the people they serve, and most don’t have the time or the funds to complete certain tasks themselves. So, by working with voluntary groups in this way your company will help them to achieve more in a single day than they could achieve on their own over the course of a few months! CSR opportunities like this, and the positive effects they have, will create more publicity for the community group you’re working with and raise awareness of the fantastic work they do with the people in their community. You never know, you could even form a new partnership, arrange further volunteering work, or find other ways to help residents and other community projects.
How we’ve helped businesses like yours
We’ve helped many businesses and projects to work together on CSR opportunities across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. Following a successful opportunity in 2021, we recently secured another opportunity for Vodafone’s Customer Experience Team to help revive a garden for older people, and The Hub Fenton getting a helping hand from Galliford Try and Keble Heath Construction with their garden following a break-in. Other examples include Walk Talk Action getting an improved safe space for their service users and St James Place getting the city-based ‘Peace Garden’ ready for all to enjoy.
If you have any questions or would just like an informal chat about CSR opportunities and how we can help you, you can contact us on 01782 683030 or email [email protected].