At a small business, leaders and their teams are focused on making sales, delighting customers and improving upon how business is done. The most successful businesses, however, build a sense of responsibility for social causes into their company culture.

What is social responsibility, and how can you establish it at your business? Social responsibility is the idea that businesses should focus on giving back, often in the form of charitable donations and volunteer work, rather than just focusing on profit. When a team comes together to help a cause, it can dramatically improve the community. The experience can also boost team bonding and morale.

Starting Early

The best way to build social responsibility into your business is to start early, building it into your company's foundation. When you're drafting your mission statement or hiring your first employees, think about ways you might be able to prioritize giving back as part of your normal operations.

If you've already established your business, begin planning for the current year. For example, many businesses run food drives for local pantries or accept clothing donations for a local children's organization. These events can be written into the company calendar at the start of the year or added midyear.

Choosing Causes

There are many ways to give. Choose causes that align with your brand and passions, and make sure they're inclusive to all your employees. Causes that are religious or political in nature are often not the best idea for workplace giving. Some businesses can offer their services to those in need. For example, hair salons might give hair cuts to the homeless or restaurants could work with a food pantry.

Here are a few common causes:

  • Education and schools.
  • Helping the homeless.
  • Feeding the hungry.
  • Animal activism.
  • Environmental causes.
  • Causes aligned with current events, for example, helping natural disaster victims.

There are many causes that may resonate with you and your team. When you're choosing a nonprofit organization to support, do some research. Articles such as How to Evaluate a Charity on Forbes.com can help you assess strategies to maximize your giving.

Encouraging Employee Involvement

Your team may be hesitant to get involved with your social initiatives, but all it takes is a bit of encouragement. Here's how to encourage your employees to get involved:

  • Educate them. Explain why you've chosen a certain cause, how it relates to the company's overall mission, and what difference can be made with their contributions.
  • Make it easy. Don't make your employees jump through hoops to participate. Run charity drives, such as a bin that accepts toys for children or socks for the homeless.
  • Hold Events. Hold volunteer days, charity days and other events during the work day to make it easy for employees to participate.

Social Responsibility for a Better Business

Small businesses with tight-knit teams can make a big difference in a community or cause. Adding social responsibility into your business is good for your team, your company and your community.

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