With every passing day corporate social responsibility becomes more and more central in the modern world of business. LinkedIn is awash with articles explaining why CSR is vital if you want to survive in a market-place that is more and more flooded with ‘millennials’. Young socially aware customers who, after growing up in a world of e-petitions and viral videos, are increasingly unhappy doing businesses with businesses that exist simply to do business. As a member of this ‘millennial’ social group, roughly defined as people born between the 80s and 00s, I can attest to the fact that I have seen a marked increase in my peers choosing certain service providers for reasons beyond the financial. If anyone in a position of power is listening I can also attest to the fact that we think ‘millennial’ is a rubbish word that really needs to be reconsidered.
Personally I feel that this obsession with focusing on ethics to attract ‘the youth’ sells the rest of society short a little. There are practical people in all generations who will come to you for their web design or property selling needs because that is the service that you offer but there are also people of every age that like to see their spending power doing good as well as securing goods and services. These are the people who shop in Waitrose not simply because they include fresh vermicelli and lavender scented ironing water in their ‘Essentials’ range but because Waitrose is an ethically sound company which is owned by its employees and ploughs thousands of pounds into various charitable activities. These people have existed for many years and it is high time that business caught up with them – if you have always wanted your business to walk the ethical walk then there has never been a better time than now to start.
Many Winchester businesses are already firmly involved with the world of responsible business – for example those shortlisted for The Business Collective and Osborne Property Services Responsible Business Award to be handed out at the Guildhall in June, but there are plenty more businesses who are yet to get involved in this do good world. If you run a small business you may feel that there is no time for you to do your CSR bit, not between running the website, managing the accounts, driving sales figures and finding time to fill your children with a nutritious dinner that ticks agrees with their various dietary quirks and you are probably right.
This is where Community First come in – this organisation, which recently incorporated the longstanding Winchester Area Community Action run an effective programme to allow small businesses to do their charitable bit, they handle the organisation of an excellent event with a local charitable group and your business turns up on the day and does there bit. It’s that simple, great PR for you, a helping hand for a local charitable cause and hopefully some good old fashioned fun along the way. You can find out more and get in touch with the programme manager Janet Duggan here.