Companies play an important role in today’s society. Sustainable action and social responsibility are therefore part of modern entrepreneurship.
There are now many opportunities for companies to become socially involved. What is the most appropriate form depends on the available resources on the one hand, but also on the corporate philosophy.
In the following you will find a summary of the options you have to get socially involved as a company in society.
Probably the most classic form of social commitment is a donation. By donating money, you give organisations the opportunity to choose freely what they can do with the money. The variety of donation organisations is also very large.
Advantages of monetary donations:
- Monetary donations are possible even for small contributions
- (often) tax deductible
- Diverse donation organisations
Examples of topics for which you as a company can donate
- Development work (e.g. Doctors for Madagaskar, UNICEF)
- Political (e.g. Amnesty International)
- Umwelt (e.g. Greenpeace, WWF)
- Sport (e.g. Sports Aid)
- Culture (e.g. Museum of the city of New York)
- Science (e.g. Cancer Research)
- Social associations (e.g. Shelters, hospices)
- Regional & local (e.g. voluntary fire brigade, music and sports clubs)
2. Fundraising campaigns
As a company you have a network of customers and cooperation partners at your disposal. In addition, companies often have very good public visibility.
This can be used to initiate fundraising campaigns as a company. There are many possibilities for this:
- Installation of a donation box in the business premises
- Sending a fundraising campaign to customers & cooperation partners
- As a company you double the donations of your customers
- At the checkout, customers have the option of rounding up the payment amount. The difference will be donated to a good cause.
Advantages of collection campaigns:
- You give the charity a stage to advertise
- High visibility
3. Donate to a good cause based on success
There are many ways to generate monetary donations. One option is to link the donations directly to the success of the company. Here too, there are various possibilities:
- Fixed percentage of the selling price is donated
- For each order/sale you donate a fixed amount
Advantages of this form of donation:
- The donations are linked to the success of your company
- With this type of donation you can give your customers the feeling that you are doing something good on the side with the order/purchase
4. Material donations
Material donations are very diverse, just like monetary donations. The exciting thing about this form of donation is that you can make a very concrete difference with your donation, which you can then in many cases show publicly.
Here are a few examples of donations in kind:
- Building a school in a developing country
- Food donations
- Donate a new playground in your town
- Donate vaccine material for disaster relief
- Donate new jerseys for the local handball team
Advantages of material donations
- There is a suitable solution for every company wallet
- You have something concrete to show off. This can bring you many advantages, especially in public relations
- As a rule, material donations can also be tax deductible
5. Award free services or products
Many companies manufacture products or sell services. One way in which they can become socially involved is by providing labour or their products.
A few examples:
- Agency develops free advertising campaign for charity organisation
- Clothing company equips local football team with new jerseys
- The management consultant helps a museum to optimise its finances free of charge
- An office supplier equips the offices of an aid organisation free of charge
- The web space provider offers NGOs free web space
- A training provider provides free sales training for fundraising to NGO staff
6. Release employees for social commitment
A different kind of social support than entrepreneurs is to release employees who want to be socially involved. In this way, social thinking is also motivated among employees, which is probably reflected positively at work in many cases.
A variation of this idea can also be to give employees a certain number of hours per week/month to implement a charitable project.
7. Participation in microcredits
A relatively young but interesting opportunity to become socially involved as an entrepreneur was generated with microcredits. On platforms like kiva.org, microcredit can help small entrepreneurs in developing countries. From 25 USD, for example, one can grant a loan to an entrepreneur at KIVA and thus give him a chance. The entrepreneur then pays back the loan in instalments.
In recent years crowdfunding has become popular worldwide. On crowdfunding platforms artists, start-ups and many other committed people are looking for a financing opportunity for projects. The projects are very diverse and range from cultural projects to start-ups looking for initial financing for an innovative product.
Interested users of these platforms can finally support these projects with a freely selectable amount of money.
As a company you can get socially involved by supporting suitable projects. For example, it would be conceivable to finance projects that focus on a certain topic (e.g. innovation, education) or there is the possibility to support only national/regional projects.
9. Provide premises or infrastructure
As a company, you usually have a company infrastructure that can range from transporters to copiers. You may also have meeting rooms or offices that are not always in use.
As a company, you can become socially involved by making this infrastructure available to charitable associations. This way these organisations can save money and you pass something on that you already own.
10. Use social companies
There are now many charitable organisations that also provide commercial services. The spectrum of services ranges from catering to the manufacturing of products.
Here are a few examples of how you can make use of these services as a company.
- Have catering for your next corporate event delivered by a charitable organisation
- Organise the next customer appointment in a social restaurant/café
- Have customer gifts produced by a social institution
11. Recruit disadvantaged people
There are many people on the labour market, having difficulty finding a job. Disadvantage is often one of the causes:
- High age
- Physical or psychological limitations
- Lack of school education
- Life crises and bumpy resumes
For a company, social commitment can mean creating jobs for these disadvantaged people and thus giving them the chance to (re)start a career. In many countries there are also state subsidies which can be used to employ disadvantaged people.
12. Buy fair and sustainable products
A very simple form of social commitment is to pay attention to sustainability and fairness when buying products.
Here are a few examples:
- Buying fair trade coffee
- Buy organic apples from the region
- Use recycled paper
- Buy company mobile phones that have been fairly produced and can be easily repaired if necessary
13. Discounts for social organisations
If you cannot offer completely free services or products for charity yourself, you also have the option of granting special discounts to social organisations. This can relieve the organisation itself or its employees.
Any other ideas?
Do you have any other ideas on how a company can become socially involved in society? Then simply write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: David-W- / photocase.de