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December 14, 2023

Aligning Values for Impact: How to Choose CSR Causes That Align with Your Brand

These days, large businesses are expected to have a strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that aligns with their purpose and mission. Approximately 80% of all Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies now issue a CSR report to share their impact and results with stakeholders.

According to this 2021 Harvard Business School blog post, 70% of Americans believe it’s either “somewhat” or “very important” for companies to make the world a better place while 93% of employees believe companies must lead with purpose. That is why it is critical for a company to support causes aligned with its values as part of a long-term commitment to building trust, engaging key audiences and delivering strong financial results.

For example, National DCP strategically chose areas strongly aligned with its brand, mission, and vision by focusing on CSR efforts in hunger relief and sustainability. As a supply chain leader, NDCP recognizes its crucial role in providing food to those in need within the community. By actively partnering with Feeding America, NDCP has made substantial contributions, donating over 210,000 lbs. of food and 4,000+ gallons of dairy to local Feeding America sites in 2020 alone. NDCP’s commitment to the environment is evident in its sustainability initiatives. Our partnership with World Coffee Research has raised more than $2 million since 2018, contributing to securing a sustainable future for coffee.

Wondering how to get started in aligning your business with social impact?  Here are six steps to guide you in selecting CSR initiatives that resonate with your brand values:

  1. Define Your Brand Values. Identify the core values that define your brand. Consider aspects such as integrity, innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility that resonate with your company’s mission. This foundational step sets the stage for a purposeful and cohesive approach in selecting CSR causes that align with your business expertise. Consider how your company’s skills, resources, and industry knowledge can contribute effectively to the chosen CSR initiatives.
  2. Identify Relevant Social Issues. Research and identify social and environmental issues that align with both your brand values and the concerns of your stakeholders (customers, employees, investors, and the community). Take the time to understand their values, expectations, and priorities. Recognizing the varied viewpoints within your stakeholder network ensures your CSR causes resonate not only with your brand but also with the broader interests of those who play a vital role in your business environment.
  3. Conduct a CSR Audit. Assess your current CSR initiatives, if any, and evaluate their effectiveness. Understand the impact they have on both the community and your brand while assessing  the potential long-term impact of each CSR cause. Consider the sustainability and scalability of your initiatives to ensure they create lasting positive change.
  4. Research Potential Partnerships. Explore potential partnerships with reputable nonprofit organizations or other entities working in the chosen CSR areas. Ensure alignment in values and goals.
  5. Set Measurable Goals and Communicate Progress. Define clear and measurable goals for your CSR initiatives. This allows you to track progress, demonstrate impact, and communicate success to stakeholders.
  6. Stay Adaptable. Be open to reassessing and adapting your CSR initiatives over time. As societal needs and business landscapes evolve, your company may need to adjust its focus to maintain relevance and effectiveness.

Choosing CSR causes aligned with your brand is about more than philanthropy; it’s a strategic decision with significant impact on your stakeholders and business overall. As CSR continues to play a pivotal role in business success, aligning social responsibility initiatives with brand values, this critical step helps create a sustainable and socially conscious future.

Are you ready to take the first step towards impactful CSR alignment? Together, let’s shape a future where responsible business practices drive positive change.