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Eight Keys to Effective CSR Communications

A commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a contract between a company and its stakeholders. As such, companies have a responsibility to communicate what they are doing. This isn’t bragging; it’s delivering on a promise. Here are some tips for communicating your CSR program:

  1. Authenticity
    The most effective approach to CSR communications is a fact-based tone that isn’t too self-congratulatory or promotional.
  2. Transparency
    Be honest and balanced in your communications. That means not just sharing the good news, but also acknowledging any “bumps in the road” from which lessons have been learned.
  3. Simplicity
    While there may be a variety of stories to tell and details to share, make sure you continue to make these key points:
  • Social cause(s) the company supports and why, including how the company’s business aligns with supporting that specific issue.
  • How CSR programs and metrics relate to the company’s mission.
  • Relevance to stakeholders highlighted through specific examples and events.
  1. Consistency
    Inconsistent CSR communications does more harm than good. Both too much or too little communication can create skepticism among your constituents. The key is determining the right cadence for your company, your audiences and your channels, and then committing to it.
  2. Multichannel
    Having a page on your website and publishing a report are two important ways to communicate CSR activities, but they should not be the only channels you use. Consider a mix of owned, paid and earned media channels to ensure your messages reach all your audiences.
  3. Refresh Content
    No matter the cadence of information, or the channels you use, be sure to continually update your content. CSR is an ongoing, ever-evolving process. Stale, old information connotes lack of commitment. Updates and results, including new program information, should be shared in real time.
  4. Employees as Ambassadors
    Well-informed, engaged employees are your company’s best spokespeople. Keep internal communications a high priority to build employee support for and advocacy of company CSR programs.
  5. Results
    Showing how you are delivering on your promise communicates commitment and integrity. Do things that can be measured, and continually report progress.