Many organisations invest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, but not all of them have a big impact on employees and the community. So what’s the secret? In this article we look at how to succeed with social good.
The secret to success…
We’ve enjoyed some great conversations with businesses who have had a lot of success with their social good strategies, and they all had one thing in common: a Social Good Champion.
A social good champion is someone within the organisation who is responsible for driving forward social good outcomes and reporting on progress. Depending on the business, this might be a full-time role or simply an additional responsibility alongside an existing role. It could even be split between a few employees.
Having a social good champion helps to create accountability and embed social responsibility into a company culture. Securing the right person has countless benefits for the company, the employees, the charities you are supporting, and for the social good ambassador themselves.
How to get started?
Consider your wider social good aims. What could a social good champion achieve for you?
In larger organisations, the role of a social good champion would be to support the CSR Manager and work more directly with their peers, collecting feedback, chatting to employees about any ideas they may have, and working with internal comms team to promote social good initiatives throughout the workforce.
A social good champion we spoke to at financial services firm Curtis Banks said that a large part of her role was sounding out levels of colleagues’ general attitudes towards social good. ”It’s a great way to understand what activities people are passionate about, as well as those that don’t work so well, and why.” . These casual chats often uncover previously less vocal colleagues who are brimming with great ideas that she can then promote and act on with the support of the CSR manager.
In a smaller organisation, the social good champion may take the lead on all CSR activities. This would be a more strategic role that would involve an element of planning and reporting on social good initiatives as well as tactical delivery. Some firms choose to split the role between two or more employees who work well together so as not to overwhelm existing workloads.
Brainstorming what you need from the role will guide your approach to taking on a social good champion and how the role can help your organisation to achieve its wider CSR goals.
Where to look?
A good social good champion should be personable; they’ll need to work with and engage managers across the organisation to get employees motivated to get involved with volunteering. They should be organised, creative, and driven.
You could try approaching employees directly about the role, or asking for nominations, as well as advertising for it internally. In our experience the best social good champions are often the employees who are already engaged in social activities between teams: those proactive, energetic individuals who organise the annual bake sale or encourage peers to get involved with sponsored cycle rides and other charitable activities. For other qualities you might look for a in a social good champion, look here.
In your efforts to recruit your go-getter, be sure to highlight the personal development benefits. They’ll gain strategic cross-function communication experience, the opportunity to develop new skills, and, ideally, they’ll enjoy a more developed sense of purpose that comes with contributing so tangibly to the company’s social good ambitions.
The key to success
In order for your social good ambassador to make a real impact, you’ll need company-wide buy-in.
If yours is a larger organisation with many different department managers, it’s a good idea for your social good champion to meet each manager individually to discuss pain points or reservations, and consider how engaging with social good could help their team specifically. Setting internal benchmarks and creating competitions between departments can encourage employees to get involved!
If you’re adding the role of social good champion to an existing employee’s responsibilities, they need to be clear about what is expected of them, how many hours should be committed to these duties each week, and if there’s a pay rise attached to the role.
In order to create real and meaningful social impact in your community, your CSR manager, or who-ever the social good champion is reporting to, must be willing to be challenged by them and open to implementing new ways of working. They need to know that their queries, requests, and ideas will always be heard and that they will be provided with the resources and support necessary for success in the role.
Ready to go
Recruiting a social good champion is pivotal to increasing your social impact, embedding a culture of giving, and ensuring your organisation’s commitment to CSR is backed up with long-term action.
To find out more about how Social Good Connect can help your organisation get involved with employer-supported volunteering and secure a great internal ambassador – please get in touch!