An arm of Public Relations
that has attracted much debate is Corporate Social Responsibility, (CSR). It is the believe that organizations should give back to the society that it has benefited from. This time, the giving should not be with the motive of making profit, but it is a way of saying thank you for the patronage that it has been generating.
|Corporate social responsibility is not Charity | Image credit: Itsfoss.com
This giving could take different forms. Sometimes the organization gives scholarship programs to the indigent residents of a community. They can also build schools or refurbish and equip existing ones. Sometimes, depending on the organization, they go as far as building roads or any other capital intensive projects.
Some PR managers believe that organizations should not be obliged to undertake such roles. To such ones, organizations are setup primarily to make profit. Any who has money should therefore, patronize the organization. After such customer has been given quality product or service, the organization does not have any obligation towards them again. This school of thought believes that PR is a waste of time and resources.
The second school of thought has a contrary believe. These ones think that CSR is a prerequisite, if any organization wants to succeed. This article will take side with this school of thought and dwell on some of the benefits that could be derived by organization when they do effective CSR.
Gives The Organization Positive Image
Even if an organization is rendering quality service and is selling a product that is of high quality, the public that buy from such organization can project it in a positive light when they are aware of its CSR activities. To the people, the organization is not just out to make profit, they bear the interest of the public at heart. They will not be perceived as being selfish, they will be seen as getting something from the public and giving back to such public that has helped them grow thus far.
The people will therefore become aware of the selfless efforts that the organization is putting forward to ensure that the customers are happy. This happiness does not come from getting a high quality product, it does not come from getting discount for buying, it does not come from the after sales service that comes with the sales of the product. It is purely an act of responsibility that has nothing to do with how the organization will make more money, it is CSR!
Encourages Better Community Relations
When an organization is socially responsible, it does not need to fear disapproval on the part of the people in the community that is hosting it. If there is a form of rioting, for example, an organization that is obviously responsible will develop no fear of having its property vandalized.
Community leaders, youth leaders, and even the monarch in the locality will come to reckon with the organization and get to help it whenever the need arises for expansion or any other activity. When compared to any competition that has not been so responsible in the past, the organization doing CSR will be given priority in the community.
Creates Better Governmental Relations
CSR that involves a capital intensive project cannot be carried out without the notice of the government. This does not mean that the government has to be involved each step of the way. But the obligation of the company carrying out the CSR is to blow its trumpet. This can be done by publicizing such activities through the mass media. It can also be done by inviting key governmental officials to CSR endeavors that are launched as they get carried out. At any rate, the government should be formally notified so that terms of legality will not constitute any issues.
When it is time for the legislature or the other arms of the government to make laws that may not make the environment conducive for effective business transactions, this organization will be put into considerations as they will not want to bite the finger that has been feeding them. Please note however that CSR is not intended to bribe your way through the law makers. Its intention is simply to give back to the society what you have made from them. If eventually the governmental officials now favors you because of such activities, it is an added advantage, not the main reason for engaging in it in the first place.
Fosters Smooth Press Relations
It is not possible for organizations to do effective CSR without the help of some crops of journalists. When such journalists are repeatedly called upon to cover events that are not just related to launching of a product, they come to see the organization as a responsible one. They tend to report the laudable achievements being recorded especially when they are aware that it is void of selfish interests.
Even when there is a form of agitation against such organization on the part of the people of the community or from other sources, they will be reminded by the press that they are responsible as they make references to earlier reports of their CSR achievements.
They Make More Profit
Again, we need to be reminded that the primary aim of being socially responsible is not so that organizations can make more money. However, it is automatic this case that the more the people perceive an organization in a positive light, the more they identify with its products and services.
A poor mother whose son has been given a scholarship may make a non-verbal resolution that she will buy the product of the organization giving the scholarship for the rest of her life. If she comes across another of her relatives doubting such organization’s product, she will stand her ground as she keeps recommending the products and services.
The more responsible such an organization is , the more they will get to be seen in a positive light and the more they will get to be patronized by the people. This means more patronage and more income.
Whether your organization is old, big or it is still struggling to survive, there are things, big and small, that could be done to remind your customers and the public that you care much more than making money. That you bear their interests in mind. Whatever you have decided to do, do not go out of your way to the extent that your operations will be affected negatively. Stick to your budget, and execute your CSR activities when it is time. Eventually both you and your customers, as well as the public at large will have reasons to smile as you carry out planned CSR activities.