There is a large number of NGO, Community and voluntary organisations out there that need business support. The process for choosing the right organisation to support and partner with can sometimes be overwhelming for companies that want to make a positive impact in the local community. The key to a successful partnership for both parties is to take a strategic approach. For this issue of CSR News Ireland we speak to Louise Murray, Senior CSR Adviser here at BITCI.
Louise, why is it important for businesses to develop strategic initiatives with an organisation as supposed to ad hoc activities?
I can’t name a company that doesn’t get involved in some sort of community activity. Regardless of size or scale most companies will support charities that are either close by or close to the heart of employees.
We encourage companies to think strategically about their community involvement for a number of reasons:
Companies that think strategically about community involvement cite a range of benefits to their business for example; increased morale of employees, enhanced reputation, greater customer loyalty.
What top tips could you give a company starting on this journey on how to choose the right organisation, how should they approach the process?
Start with a blank page and start asking some questions. Why is community involvement important to the company? What would success look like? What do your stakeholders expect of you? What social issues are most material to your business? Decide what you want to achieve and what resources you can offer then start thinking about a potential partner or partners. Also remember the most effective partnerships are those when all parties are gaining so think about the business objectives you hope to address.
What kind of support could a business give to a charity and what are the benefits to the business?
There are lots of supports a company can give to a charity ranging from hosting mock interviews for individuals on a supported employment programme to offering paid work placements; from offering under-utilised resources e.g. training days to use of facilities; from hands on to professional skills volunteering; from small cash donations to flagship sponsorship of social programmes. The list is exhaustive and only limited by the company’s imagination. Don’t underestimate the scale of impact even the smallest support can have.
How can BITCI help in developing strategic initiatives especially in identifying the right partner and the right kind of support?
BITCI has 15 years of experience working with companies across all sectors to develop high impact community involvement programmes. We work with each company to develop a bespoke programme that best fits their business objectives whilst addressing clearly identified social need. We conduct extensive outreach to identify community partners. We support in the roll out of the programme, we monitor and review and we advise on impact measurement and reporting. We provide a one-stop-shop for strategic community engagement.
If you are not a member join our network to access support around strategic community initiatives and make a long lasting impact in your community.