Great things can happen when companies choose to support causes in their local community. There are clear and well documented advantages for the companies as well as for the beneficiaries. Not only does your support make an important difference to the chosen cause, it could improve your bottom line!

And when it comes to small, independent charities or not-for-profit organisations like Charter House Resource Centre and Sensory Room, a little support from companies, clubs and committees really can go a very long way. Whether it’s sharing skills, volunteering, fundraising, or simply raising awareness of our facility by spreading the word – we appreciate it all!

Setting a good example

One company that lives and breathes corporate social responsibility (CSR) is The Calico Group and its construction arm Ring Stones. The Charter House team were extremely lucky to work with the Ring Stones team throughout the renovation of Charter House Resource Centre and Sensory Room.

Ring Stones, is committed to championing local communities, becoming part of their story and helping them to grow. The team are driven by a desire to make things better, improving the lives and futures of communities they operate in. They volunteered time and skills to help with all aspects of Charter House’s construction and renovation, making the brand new sensory room possible, where previously – there had just been one big open space.

Jason Smith, MD of Charter House Resource Centre, recently attended a Calico event where he was able to say thank you once again, and reiterate just how much small organisations value support like this.

Jason discussed how small organisations are so appreciative of the support of local businesses because it can make a crucial difference to the way they operate. About Charter House, he said: “We’re only a very small organisation, we’re not Oxfam or British Heart Foundation or even Burnley FC in the Community, we’re very very small. And [that means] that if anyone comes forward and helps us, even just for one day of volunteering, it makes a huge difference to what we’re doing. It makes a huge difference to the people we support.

“When we got support from Calico and Ring Stones it was like winning the lottery for us. It really makes a huge difference, not just to us and the staff but, more importantly, to our end users.

“We got the keys [to the new building] in January and we were in the building by March. Without the support of Calico and Ring Stones it would have been impossible for us to do that.”

What is corporate social responsibility?

CSR aims to ensure that companies conduct their business in an ethical and considerate way, taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact. It might include a range of activities, such as: working with local communities, socially responsible investment (SRI) or focussing on environmental protection and sustainability.

Don’t ignore the little guys

Support for any good cause is a joyous thing, and more and more companies are committing to charitable donations and volunteer projects as a matter of course. Which is wonderful.

It is worth remembering, however, that if your company, club or committee has the ability to contribute in some way to a small, independent, local organisation, your help won’t just make ‘a’ difference – it might make ‘all the’ difference – compared with donating to bigger, better-known names.

What’s in it for you and your business?
Any donation of time, money or advice etc has at least a two-fold benefit: not only would it be incredibly appreciated by organisations such as Charter House, but it also reflects on the reputation of your business.

CSR is becoming increasingly linked to business success and brand awareness. So, if your business chooses to contribute in some way to local schools, charities or non-profit organisations, as well as ‘doing the right thing’ for your community, it’s clear you’d also be doing the right thing for your business.

According to Ellie Collier, writing for The Hub, “consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of social responsibility, and actively seek products from businesses that operate ethically. CSR demonstrates that you’re a business that takes an interest in wider social issues, rather than just those that impact your profit margins, which will attract customers who share the same values. Therefore, it makes good business sense to operate sustainably.

“Social responsibility and ethical practices are vital to your success. The 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR study found that a staggering 91% of global consumers expect businesses to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.”

Elina Tang wrote in Adweek that CSR can have a direct impact on business success: “In today’s socially conscious environment, customers are willing to spend more of their money with businesses that prioritize corporate social responsibility. Improving CSR business practice and CSRPPQ not only help build a positive brand image, but also have a positive impact on improving customer loyalty and contributing directly to the bottom line. […] Overall, communicating your core CSR values and your related actions will help build a more loyal customer base.”

Where to start with CSR
Making a commitment to CSR and boosting your company’s public image doesn’t have to be complicated or laborious. Ellie Collier also said that “Something simple, like staff members volunteering an hour a week at a charity, shows that you’re a brand committed to helping others. As a result, you’ll appear much more favourable to consumers.”

Here are just some of the main benefits that come with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

– A warm, fuzzy feeling of doing good! (Boosts staff morale)
– Making a real difference to causes in your local area, particularly smaller organisations with tighter budgets.
– Forging networks within your community.
– Supporting worthy causes reflects well on your business (positive brand awareness).

– Given the choice, customers are increasingly keen to buy from socially responsible businesses.

– Builds trust with customers and employees.
– Increases customer advocacy and loyalty.

– It’s proven that employees enjoy working more for a company that has a good public image than one that doesn’t.

– By promoting things like volunteering, companies encourage personal and professional growth for employees.

When it comes to brand awareness, Bugsy Malone and his pals knew the score: “You give a little love and it all comes back to you … you know you’re gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do”.

If your company’s interested in the volunteering opportunities at Charter House, we’d love to hear from you! Just drop us an email or give us a call.