Corporate social responsibility or CSR is encouraged as companies’ fair share of contribution in efforts towards social welfare. It is essentially seen as something one-way, that is; benefitting only those who are direct beneficiaries of the CSR programs. This is a common oversimplification of the nature of CSR, and frankly, CSR can offer a lot more than that. CSR done thoughtfully and meticulously can serve as a win-win for the firm and the beneficiaries. The upsides to taking CSR seriously are plentiful and among them include benefits to the society, employee morale, public image and many others, therefore, there is a case to be made that firms might want to put more thought and effort into their CSR programs.
In “The Marketing of Employee Volunteerism” by Peloza (2009), he discussed different ways on how firms heighten their investments in CSRs and how it yields a positive impact not only to the communities being served but also for the volunteers and the company as well. First, companies that present commitment to the causes they select, exert effort into participating in their own projects. Whenever they engage in volunteer work, people develop a deeper understanding of their advocacies which is the essence of CSR. Aside from this, the social impact of a company’s CSR volunteer program often leads to higher returns from their investment. Firms are expected to “receive increased rewards from the market” as a sign of support from those who also stand by their cause. It is a good mechanism that generates strong public trust and builds up a good image for the company. Moreover, companies that integrate their employees into CSR programs, appear to be “more desirable to potential employees and report lower turnover costs.” This is because the employees are motivated by their ego, altruism, and organizational citizenship. Volunteer work is far different from the everyday mundaneness of the office life. Given participation in company CSR projects, employees are given the chance to engage with other people in their company outside of the workplace setting. Boosting their morale, they are given the opportunity to meet new people, represent their company, and satisfy their craving for new learning and social interaction. It also enhances the employees’ capacity for social exchange as they recognize the organizational citizenship among themselves, creating a mindset of working voluntarily for others.
Moreover, Peloza suggests that in order to craft an effective CSR program, firms must align it to their business model. He proposes that “firms can increase the value, and ultimately the competitive advantage, of their philanthropic investments through increased alignment between the charitable cause and business strategy; a more long-term partnership focus; and providing ‘in-kind donations’ such as equipment, expertise, and employee volunteers rather than more cash donations.” CSR programs that are in the same field where their business operates, allows a better communicative relationship between the company and the community. Given these, companies are encouraged to integrate their employees in their CSR programs through intra-organizational volunteerism wherein “an employer who develops the volunteer opportunity (including the selection of the charity partner) offers these opportunities to its employees.”
Companies that reach out to those in the grassroots and implement programs that are also in line with their businesses, create a nourishing process of development. It is suitable for the companies and communities to engage in long-term partnerships to form a more fruitful alliance geared towards sustainable development. Integrating employees into CSR activities is an ingenious way not only for companies fortifying public trust but also for the general public to gain consciousness of social realities.
It is clear that CSR is not just for the beneficiaries, nor is it just for the firms or employees. Under the right circumstances and direction, CSR can be for everyone involved. There is something positive to take away and to give on all sides and that is what is sometimes left out of the common conversation on corporate social responsibility.