Your Best CSR Initiatives


In recent years CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility, has gained prominence and support among management. Organizations no longer see themselves as profit-making machines but as contributing and conscientious members of the community in which they operate. According to the Employee Motivation in the MENA survey - January 2013, six in ten MENA companies engage in CSR activities. The top CSR causes that professionals feel their organization should be involved in are: providing job opportunities (35%), preservation of the environment (30%), supporting orphans (28%), providing training and job opportunities (27%), medical support programs (such as blood donation drives) (26%), and human rights support (25%).


In light of the above, here are four questions HR experts at recommend you ask in order to find a social cause that will be both enriching and enhancing to your corporate image:


1. What are your organization’s values?


While there are a range of CSR initiatives for your company to pick and choose from, the best match should be the one that fits in well with your corporate mission, vision and values statement. By choosing a CSR cause that marries well with the organization’s values, companies can create value for both the business and society simultaneously. According to’s poll on the ‘Impact of CSR in the MENA’ (August 2013), nine in 10 professionals see CSR as a ‘moral responsibility’ that companies have towards their community. Every organization has its group of stakeholders (both internal and external) that share the business’s core objectives. A strong CSR program takes into account these objectives. Thus, a well-aligned CSR program can potentially help businesses win new customers, save costs, and significantly enhance their brand image and reputation.


2. How much are you willing to invest in time and other resources?

While all causes are noble, your company’s resources are limited. If you have zeroed down on a list of options for your potential CSR initiatives, run a feasibility study for each. Can you afford to lose the man-hours required? Do you have the financial resources to back this project? Is it logistically feasible? A good idea would also be to approach this the other way round: first define the resources available (financial, man hours, skills, etc.), then select the CSR projects that fall within these limits.


3. Do your employees feel strongly about the cause?


For your CSR program to be successful, it is important that the cause you select is one that your team is passionate about. After all, it is their enthusiastic participation that will make your effort a success. A good idea would also be to associate with a cause that is timely, such as a flood relief drive. The ‘Impact of CSR in the MENA’ poll reveals a wish-list of top CSR causes professionals in the region would like to be involved in, those topping the list include assisting the underprivileged and physically challenged (51%), providing education (20%), and protecting the environment (11%).


4. What will your team gain?


While this may not be a deciding question, it is important to consider the answer to this. CSR activities definitely boost your corporate brand and your team’s motivation levels, but what does your team truly gain? Does this initiative give them valuable project management skills for time-sensitive projects? Does it offer opportunities to develop better internal relationships among team members? Can your team gain valuable job-related skills while making a social impact?

We hope these questions will help you create a truly meaningful and memorable CSR project for your organization that would benefit all parties involved.


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