media update’s Nakedi Phala shows you how you can excel at your next CSR campaign through the use of PR strategies.

Using PR tactics to run your CSR campaigns can improve your business’s reputation and make it more recognisable (can you say, ‘earned publicity’?). In fact, these campaigns have proven to attract investors for businesses easier. This is because they would have proven to play ‘donor’ in their selective community to benefit without any profit expectations. 

And, playing a social responsibility role impacts your finances positively, which means your CSR investments might help you pay less on your corporate income tax depending on your company’s do-good expenses. So the more CSR campaigns your business engages in, the more exemptions from the taxman.
media update top tip: In your process of seeking to play a CSR role, have look at the terms and conditions of the South African Revenue Services for some more in-depth knowledge.  
Ready to find out how to use CSR in PR? Let’s take a look: 

1. Conduct research using PR methods 

When conducting research, the needs of the business need to be considered in order to find the purpose of the   CSR campaign, and that PR has the right methods of research to help a business gather all the data you need to ensure that everything runs smoothly.  

Consider the following PR research methods: 
  • Formative research: This form of research can help you establish what your community knows about your business, whether they have faith in it or not and whether  they actually value your business. 
  • Evaluative research : After conducting the formative research, you can assess the findings of what the community wants. For example, this could be whether the community wants policy changes, or if the youth wants study bursaries.  This data makes it easier to determine where your CSR efforts should be diverted. 
  • Casual research: Have chats with members of the community and listen to their opinions to find their needs or concerns. This way, you gain insights on what your business needs to change or improve to carry out its CSR activities. 
PR research methods are convenient; they are designed in a way that does not waste money researching and communicating with communities that have no interest in your CSR efforts. 

2. Promote volunteerism 

You can encourage volunteerism with your business. This means that you will spend less money on rendering services for your CSR campaigns and events. You can incentivise  your business co-workers to: 
  • create a persuasive message that can attract external volunteers 
  • offer internal staff an incentive for volunteering in CSR campaigns  
  • offer a recommendation or reference for external volunteers offer possible employment opportunities to external volunteers
A well-personalised volunteer programme gives a company the opportunity to reward those who are helping to execute its CSR goals and improve its participation in communities. 

3. Publicise your good deeds 

The most important avenue you should be gunning for is press releases. Why? If you are fortunate and your press release is newsworthy and a couple of journalists respond, guess what? You’ve just earned yourself a chance at free publicity, and your CSR events can have earned media coverage — which costs nothing! 

Some businesses have jargon in their mission statements that only stakeholders and those in their business of trade understand. But, utilising services of a PR to interpret the jargon makes it easier for others to understand without distorting your business's objectives. 

This will give an opportunity to those who are on the receiving end to learn effectively about their donor, and how they can gain from your company’s CSR efforts. There is no perfect language; however, the perfect way to communicate is to tailor a message targeted to a particular audience for greater understanding — as well as  having less communication imperialism. 

4. Form a committee for the CSR

Some CSRs require a committee that will deal with their affairs. This includes having someone who has a PR background.  Having such a committee is helpful in various ways, as these PRs skills can deliver the results a CSR campaign requires. 

Here are four things PRs can offer that will be a bonus for any committee: 
  • They can help build a compelling message that can attract sponsorship. 
  • PRs defend the CSR campaign if an impromptu crisis arises. 
  • They communicate with both internal and external stakeholders.
  • PRs design a communication model that supports the businesses agenda. 
The main aim of a committee is to help create a smooth communication channel amongst committee members, stakeholders and beneficiaries, as well as to assure that every decision taken will benefit the community and improve the image of the business through CSR attempts. 

CSR is one way to help a business boost its reputation. What  other ways do you know of that can help a business’s CSR campaign reach its full potential? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Weshu ... Oratile ditaba tjarena akere na? Refe maikutlo agago. 

Now that you know the PR methods you can apply in your future CSR campaign, why not read up on Reputation management 101 to ensure you stay ahead of the game? 
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy