Next Steps for Your CSR Strategy During COVID-19

April 13, 2020

Written by the Sunwest CSR & Philanthropic Services Team

Over the last few weeks, it’s been inspiring to see corporations, organizations and individuals across the globe come together to support our vulnerable communities most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Given the long-term impacts officials are suggesting, there’s still time for companies to step up and offer support. In case you missed it, we covered how to give back during the coronavirus pandemic in a previous post, but since the immediate crisis phase is still in play, here are some next steps you can implement into your corporate social responsibility plan right now.

Maintain Top Priorities

First and foremost, review activity since you implemented your CSR response to ensure you are prioritizing the following:

  1. Transparent communications: Have you consistently provided authentic, accessible communications with all audiences throughout the crisis? This includes decisions regarding how, where, to whom and to what extent the company is offering support.
  2. Safety and health: Has anyone’s health and safety been compromised through implementation of the company’s action plan? It’s critical to take extra precautions (and communicate those!) to ensure you aren’t risking the spread of the virus through your good intentions to help the community.
  3. Business continuity: Do employees have the tools they need to carry out your CSR strategy? Have you communicated changing needs or disruptions in normal operations to customers, vendors, partners, etc.? Be willing to step outside of your normal role to provide the support needed to ensure business continuity.

Establish Metrics

Once you’ve addressed priorities and implemented plans to sustain them, it’s crucial that you establish metrics to determine whether your endeavors are making a positive difference, especially as the crisis continues to evolve. In addition to evaluating the status of the need you are serving, consider the following areas as your conduct your assessment:

  1. Flexibility: Are you frequently reaching out to long-term and current nonprofit partners to determine how your company can adjust its support to meet crisis needs?
  2. Collaboration: Could your efforts be multiplied if you joined forces with another organization or channeled your funds or supplies through a different entity?
  3. Challenges: What obstacles are hindering the magnitude of your support, and what is the solution?
  4. Engagement: Have you created opportunities for your employees to safely be part of the effort? How have they, along with other constituents, responded to your impact?
  5. Risks: Are there any threats to business continuity as a result of your efforts?

We are in unprecedented times, so being part of the solution is far from an exact science. Because this crisis seems to change by the hour, it’s critical to be nimble and adapt your initiatives as the landscape evolves. Establishing metrics and continuously evaluating your progress can certainly help you stay on the right track with your social impact endeavors.

Stay tuned for best practices during the crisis recovery phase, as well as how to evaluate and redefine your CSR strategy post-crisis.