CSR in a Crisis Part II: External Communications - Vested

CSR in a Crisis Part II: External Communications

AMBER ROBERTSLEADERSHIP

In last week’s edition of Forward Guidance, we explored how businesses should lean into existing CSR efforts given COVID, and best practices for communicating these efforts internally. In Part II of our Forward Guidance on the topic, we’ll explore how to share these initiatives externally in a genuine and compelling way.

  • Communicate with purpose: Remember that people are the ultimate beneficiaries of all CSR efforts. Content that sounds too corporate or formal is likely to miss the mark. Remember to showcase the human element of these initiatives for an impactful and purposeful message that resonates.
  • Maintain authenticity: As COVID continues to dictate narratives around brands and individuals, there can feel like a pressure to give back. If CSR programs have taken a back seat to business continuity or other pressing matters, that’s ok. Wait to showcase your CSR initiatives when there is content and programming that does it justice.
  • Provide context: In our last piece, we advised organizations to assess their current CSR partners. If a business has not reallocated funds or resources to a more COVID-centric cause like food banks or blood drives, providing context around donating, for example, to the arts is important. Ensure your audience understands why this particular organization and cause if it is not otherwise obvious.
  • Leverage social media: Having your employees act as brand ambassadors for CSR initiatives is a powerful and organic way to showcase an organization’s giving efforts. Ask employees to be both thoughtful and consistent in their posting around their CSR involvement. Because the communications is ultimately disseminated by individuals, offering employees suggestions on language and images helps set guidelines around appropriate posting.
  • Offer a call-to-action: CSR communications should be both retrospective and forward-focused. Illustrating an organization’s efforts to-date is important for credibility and of course, gives communications departments content. But it’s also an opportunity to gain support for your company’s cause and ask others in and outside the organization to participate.

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