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How the pandemic changed CSR, social impact programs

by Ornella Schillaci
July 1, 2021 - Reading time: 4min
How the pandemic changed CSR, social impact programs

Every article says the same: the world has changed since the pandemic. That, you know. From new individual habits to the most significant corporate changes, our lives took a new perspective. And even if these “new ways” of working, living, going out, doing shopping, etc., were news at the beginning, truth be told: we’re pretty used to it by now.

However, what is striking is the sudden increase in social impact initiatives and the generosity and humanity that grew. A psychological switch made us realize how attached we are to our habits and privileges from the very beginning. And from the very beginning, it was also clear that some others don’t have the same claims. And it’s now even worse for some of them. It’s human to want to do something. But how? Where to begin? What to do?

For once, everyone suddenly realized that we’re all in the same boat. More specifically, the pandemic also highlighted, even more, the injustices and inequalities from every point of view. Specific sectors are indeed suffering more (arts, for instance); budget cuts have, after all, a massive impact on the public sector and the health programs, and local culture and small businesses can’t survive if 90% of their customer base has to stay home. We began to be aware that online presence in this world is essential now more than ever. When you don’t have the materials to build an online presence, it gets tough to stay in touch.

So yes, there was a sudden and admirable pivot in social impact programs. Whereas before the pandemic fell on us, one could doubt the real motivation to get involved in CSR, volunteering, donations, or sponsorship, it’s now a bit more clear that this is the standard way to be a healthy and respectable company.

Maybe the covid19 crisis is an opportunity for us, for you, for me, to put the CSR and social impact initiatives on our plan. Once and for all.

Of course, we needed companies to be aware of that even before the pandemic. Climate change is no news; societal inequalities didn’t spread a few weeks ago, charities did need help and involvement even before, and buying fairtrade products was already a good idea. Then what should companies do? Here are four tiny tips we thought to share with you.

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1. Stay aligned to your missions and values

It is possible to find the issues and the programs that fit your company’s story. Maybe you shouldn’t rush into actions just because you need to do like everyone else: think it through and get the best practices and tools to accompany your involvement.

2. Listen to your employees and empower them

Some of them might know a lot about volunteering and social impact activities. Now would be a great time to start taking that into account and gather their motivation and will to do more good. Plus, there is a demand for it: several studies showed (mostly we read Deloitte’s research on that) that younger generations (the ones we call Millenials and Zoomers) are very involved. They, as customers, expect their favorite brands to take action. And they, as employees, want the opportunity to show that they don’t just work for money but also to do good for society. If you need inspiration on that, we’ve recorded a rather interesting podcast episode on the topic. The world has changed, the mindsets too. Where do you stand on that?

3. Stay focused

Don’t get messy and blurry, don’t try to do everything. You’ll end up doing nothing. Identify where you can have an actual impact. Covid19 crisis impacted many different topics and sectors: social isolation, employees well-being, health, education, arts, etc. Choose the one that resonates with your brand, with your people, and your values. The fit will come naturally.

4. Invest in the long-term

Whether it is because regulations are evolving regarding climate change or because people – employees and customers – expect you to stand up, your volunteering or donation or social impact program shouldn’t be a one-shot event. It’s good if covid19 brought a positive image and made you get started on social impact activities. It would be even better if you keep on going even when the pandemic will fade away. Yes, the pandemic changed the face of CSR and social impact. Yes, all these issues were there before. Yes, it is still time to get involved. And yes, again, you’re not alone to do that. So if you still have doubt or don’t know how to start, if you need a tool or tips and best practices, we have what you need. Drop us a message, and let’s get in touch.

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