It’s the season of giving, and there’s no better time than now to plan how your company will continue to give back to its community this coming year. Not only does giving back feel good for the soul, but nearly 7 in 10 peoplehighly value companies that give back to their local communities in some way. There’s a variety of easy ways that organizations can give back, but finetuning where you should invest your company’s time and money can be a bit trickier. Read on for tips on how to maximize corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Spread the Love Locally

Before we get into ways your organization can give back, keep in mind one of the most important aspects is giving back in your community. This could mean the area where your business is headquartered, or even the smaller communities throughout the world in which your company has a presence. For example, at ABCO, we’re headquartered in Miami, and we also have a strong presence in Latin America where our production facilities are located. For this reason, we strongly invest in local communities like Choloma, Honduras.

Consider the following examples of how your company can expand its CSR efforts in your community:

  1. Partner with a local charitable organization. A key benefit of partnering with a local charity is the opportunity for both your business and the organization to tap into a new audience. For instance, stakeholders of your business may have never interacted with the charity you select, which opens the doors for that organization to increase its brand awareness within your audience and vice versa.

  2. Dedicate time to volunteering. Employees, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, want to feel good about their employers’ efforts to do good. Research by Achieve found that over 50% of Millennials accepted a job offer in part because the company’s charitable work influenced them. Make it easy for employees to volunteer by organizing a volunteer event like packing lunches for local kids and hosting a food drive or planting trees to beautify and improve local communities. You can also consider giving employees paid time off specifically to volunteer their time.

  3. Offer your goods and services to those in need. If you’re interested in ways you can help your community, look no further than offering your own company’sservices or products for free or at a discounted rate. Helping people or organizations that may not have the necessary funds to collaborate with your company is a fantastic option that many businesses can partake in. For example, PwC has hosted virtual events to help nonprofits understand the root causes of their organizational challenges while Microsoft signed the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge to help organizations and individuals secure legal guidance.

  4. Raise money for a meaningful cause. In some instances, it may make more sense to offer financial support. For example, local food pantries often have a better sense of the types of food and necessities that are most in demand in their communities. Consider raising money to donate to an organization that will know how best to leverage the funds. Your donation can be an annual occurrence, a recurring gift that is provided several times per year or even in response to an unplanned event, like a natural disaster.

Creating a Strong Commitment to CSR

Ultimately when choosing to execute any of the above CSR strategies, it’s best to select a cause that aligns with your company’s values and goals. These values could range from nonprofits having a core focus on sustainability to public health and safety to diversity and inclusion. Research the mission of each organization you are considering partnering with to determine how your time, goods and services and funds will be allocated and who will benefit from your contributions. Investing in your organization’s community or other communities in need is beneficial for all those involved, from your employees to customers to those who rely on these generous donations. With the above best practices in mind, you can get started on creating a meaningful CSR action plan today!