Being persuasive means more than £
Cold, hard cash is often in short supply. But the scope of CSR is much wider:
Sponsorship: The beauty of sponsorship is that it provides not just CSR, but also a commercial angle. Local companies may be persuaded to pay for anything and everything from furniture and sports kits to vehicles and toys – provided they have the sponsor’s name emblazoned upon them. Local businesses might also be willing to sponsor events.
Resources: Do local companies have anything they don’t want but that your organisation could use? Furniture? Technology? Staionery? Equipment?
Time: Businesses may not be able to donate money but they can always donate time – in the form of services in kind (like pro bono work or discounted products); or through good old-fashioned volunteer work. It’s surprising the amount of people who are willing to climb mountains, knock on doors or have wet sponges thrown at the in the name of a good cause – if given a small nudge in the right direction!
Do it yourself?
CSR is an activity that anyone can pursue.
Maybe you already know local businesses you could approach. Remember, there is some PR kudos for them in agreeing to help you. In fact, you could offer to write a press release and do some local media relations in order to provide some extra motivation!
If you’re approaching prospective CSR candidates ‘cold’, then email is a good way to start. When contacting companies you can make use of many of the general principles you might use in PR pitch writing – ie, keep it brief, relevant and make sure you show some empathy for the reader and what their priorities might be out of the relationship.