How to Pitch a CSR Program to Your Boss
Getting Your CEO on Board with Giving Back
How do you convince your CEO to start a CSR program? This can be a very challenging conversation, especially if times are a bit lean at your company. Many CEOs and other business leaders are cautious about taking risks that don’t quickly or directly correlate to improving the bottom line, and CSR programs often fall into this category. Pitching a CSR program to your CEO is all about preparation, giving the big-picture context of CSR programs, and making sure that they connect to the mission and goal of the CSR program.
Pitching a new corporate giving program to your CEO can be hard, but by keeping a few of the basics in mind you’ll set yourself up for success and impress your boss with your preparation.
Emphasize the Competitive Landscape of CSR
Having a corporate social responsibility program is much more common than it used to be. Many companies have corporate giving programs that span from sponsorships to green initiatives to employee matching. Convincing your CEO to start a CSR program takes some thought and work, but it’s important to give the context.
Instead of Pay-to-Play, it’s Give-to-Play
For many industries, it’s normal for companies to engage in significant CSR programs. Your CEO should know that CSR programs are often a standard part of the relationship with your customers, especially in industries like construction, architecture, and others that prioritize long-term relationships with high-paying clients. By giving to causes you care about, your company can establish itself as a responsibility member of the business community and build deeper relationships with stakeholders throughout the area.
Show your CEO examples of competitors giving back to the community and illustrate how your company could use a CSR program to increase access to key stakeholders. Pitching a CSR program to your CEO usually revolves around showing how others are using CSR effectively and how you can do the same.
Competitive Advantage of Companies that Give Back
Younger customers in particular view charitable companies more positively. Giving back can help induce greater brand loyalty, distinguish your brand from less charitable competitors. Companies that tie each purchase to supporting a cause encourage customers with more reasons to give back—for millennials and Gen Z, that extra push can go a long way. By tying your business’s profits to its giving, you’ll see a boost in your reputation and may even decrease price sensitivity.
In fact, some surveys have revealed that millennials prefer companies that give back—helping you stand out in a key demographic. As millennials move on in their careers and have more disposable income, finding any way to stand out to this group can have a serious impact on both your short- and long-term revenue prospects.
CSR Programs Lead to Free Press
Pitching a CSR program to your CEO might be challenging, but pitching a story about your company’s charitable efforts to local media is often simple. By investing in your community and giving back, you also open up opportunities for your company to get positive press and improve your reputation in the community. Focus your company’s charitable giving on a few key areas and then make sure to capture meaningful data and stories about your impact.
Pitch the Whole CSR Program to Your CEO
Identify all the resources you would need for an effective CSR program and show your boss the numbers. It’s important to not just think about the cheapest way to do a CSR program, but also the way that’s most efficient—how can you make your CSR program smooth, professional, and effective?
The Right CSR Software Gives Your Company an Advantage
When you’re pitching your CSR program to your CEO, it’s important to have all of the pieces in place and demonstrate that you’re prepared to run an effective corporate giving program. Logistical concerns of how to process requests for grants and sponsorships are some of the most time-consuming and complex parts of a CSR program, so make sure you can show your CEO that your CSR program can handle requests easily and effectively.
One of the easiest ways to convince your CEO that your CSR program is ready is to find the right software solution. You’ll want something that automates a lot of tasks to take the burden off your team, but also something that is customizable and robust to allow you to set up your CSR program effectively. Tools like DonationXchange can help with everything from grant and sponsorship applications to payment processing to reporting.
Focus Your CSR Program on Causes that Matter to Your CEO
There are two components to getting your CEO excited about starting a CSR program: the business case and the personal case. Making the business case for a CSR program to your CEO is important—focusing on the impacts to your reputation, brand loyalty, and other areas can help. However, most CEOs won’t be excited about a CSR program unless you also connect having a CSR program to positively impacting a cause your CEO cares about. Help your CEO see how your company can make a difference towards a cause your leader cares about—maybe that’s education or homelessness or equality. Think about the kinds of causes and civic engagement that your CEO participates in and customize your examples to appeal to the areas your CEO cares about.
This can be a helpful exercise for you, too, as identifying specific causes for your CSR program can help you start to narrow down the focus of the program. Pitching a CSR program to your CEO is also an exercise in focus and clarity, as a wandering goal or meandering process to execute will likely get the idea shot down.
When Pitching a CSR Program to Your Boss, Prepare
Getting your leadership on board with a CSR program has its challenges, but it’s important to focus on the basics. Provide your CEO with clear, positive results of an effective CSR program as well as how you will execute a CSR program efficiently. By showing your CEO the benefits of a CSR program, you’ll set yourself up well to convince your boss why your company should give back.
Businesses choose DonationXchange to handle their charitable giving processes because our platform saves hundreds of hours in phone calls and administrative work. With DonationXchange, you can track your impact on the community and generate year end contribution reports to showcase the effects of your CSR efforts.
How DonationXchange Can Help:
• Create & Track Fundraisers, Scholarships, Grants & More!
• Manage & Grow Donor Base
• Process, Track, and Analyze Donation Requests
• Manage Volunteer Opportunities
• Supercharge Employee Engagement
• Champion the Causes that Matter to YOU!