You are currently viewing Corporate Social Responsibility For The Small Business

Corporate Social Responsibility For The Small Business

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of those buzz phrases that is frequently heard in business circles, but what does it mean and how does it translate in the world of sole traders and SMEs?

Many big corporations have prominent CSR programmes that employees can engage with, contributing to society through volunteering or other charitable work and investing in sustainability and environmental projects. Some firms offer employees additional days off for CSR projects such as litter picking, beach clearing or community schemes, which often have the additional benefit of being used as team-building exercises.

CSR is widely considered to contribute favourably to a brand’s reputation while also fostering public feelings of goodwill. Lego consistently tops lists of global companies who make a serious commitment to CSR – it has 12 business principles on issues such as ethics, people, children, and the environment and has impressive sustainability initiatives including eliminating waste and asking children to donate bricks to young people less fortunate.

When I started Discovery PA Solutions, I soon realised that the flexibility of being a business owner meant that I could give more back to the community and help those less fortunate than myself. I decided that in 2021 I would dedicate half my week to achieving several goals and supporting not-for-profit causes and raised over £16,000.

Some business owners are motivated by financial gain but helping people and seeing the results of my support and guidance is the greatest motivator for me. Running my own business from home and organising my diary allows me to dedicate time to the community, which is incredibly rewarding.

I not only support local charities but I also help other women set themselves up in business and offer advice about how to become a successful virtual PA, sharing my experience and knowledge. Since I started my business in 2018 I have helped over 20 VAs to take the leap or build their business and have shared my experience in an online interview with VA trainer, Joanne Munro. I also offer free support to my local Kent Women in Business group including chairing meetings and training plus offering a listening ear to those who are struggling.

I work with the award-winning Community Driving School, the UK’s first not-for-profit driving school that gives hope to victims of abuse, ex-addicts, ex-offenders, homeless, people with mental health issues, and victims of poverty. It is incredibly heart-warming to see their many success stories and I support them with their admin.

Over the last four years, I have supported Grace Kelly and The Medway Community Lunch, where we provide Christmas Day Lunches across Medway to hundreds of people! who otherwise wouldn’t have a festive lunch, and it’s one of my favourite days of the year. In 2020 demand with the pandemic reached 550 meals! I manage donations and logistics including the volunteers who support the preparation, cooking, and delivery of the meals.

I have also raised thousands of pounds for charities through a variety of fund-raising events and last year I ran my first marathon on 3 October in aid of Finley’s First Footsteps. I can honestly say it was the hardest but most enjoyable experience I have ever had.

Most recently I have been able to combine my passion for the community with business networking and I am now a Co-Founder of an online networking group,  Business Networking Online where we invest in and raise awareness of local community projects and causes. Your first meeting is free and with zero travel costs, you are helping the environment too!

Being able to help others in both my business and personal life is immensely satisfying and a great motivator, and I have met some incredible people along the way who have enriched my life and sometimes helped my business too. CSR certainly isn’t only for big corporates, it’s possible to build it into every business with a bit of planning and imagination.

What skills do you have that you can share with your local community? Often just giving your time is all that’s needed and it’s worth contacting local charities and small business organisations to find out how you can get involved.

Good luck – I promise it’s a rewarding experience!