Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

No matter how small your business is – it can have a positive social impact (and maybe already is!)

Corporate Social Responsibility Northern Ireland
Business making a difference
It has become expected that big businesses have a Corporate Social Responsibility policy in place and of course, that they tell the world about it. In fact a Guardian report states that 97% of FTSE 100 companies report on corporate responsibility in their annual reports.
 
You encounter their messages throughout your daily life whether you actively notice or not. They are there when you do your grocery shopping (Tesco Diabetes UK and British Heart Foundation Partnership and Lidl Community Works), online when you are browsing social media (Facebook education initiative) and even when you are relaxing with a film eating popcorn (Metcalfe’s CLIC Sargent popcorn). 
 
It is fantastic to see these companies think about the social impact of their work and consciously chose to use their influence and profits to benefit society. But it could be said that CSR is easy for multinational companies with the resources dedicated to designing and implementing their policies and PR agencies to tell the world about it. What about the small businesses which make up the majority of the private sector in Northern Ireland, can they have a positive impact on their community or is it too labour intensive?
 
CSR  - no matter how small
The truth is your small business may already be having a positive social impact, but just not calling it a CSR policy. Do you recycle paper, use Fairtrade coffee, have your staff taken part in a charity fundraiser or volunteered at a local event? All of these things are positive choices which have an impact on the environment and community.
 
Here are a few ideas of ways to get started:
 
1. Get in touch with a charity close to your heart
 
In an office with just a few members of staff a fundraising coffee morning may seem like a waste of time. Instead, why not get in touch with a charity you want to support and ask what the best way is for you to make a difference to them. It could be that they would welcome £500 sponsorship from your company to help fund an event which is going to raise thousands of pounds for their cause. For what may be a small amount of money to your business you could be impacting hundreds of lives.
 
2. Introduce social enterprises to your supply chain
 
Having a business lunch? Help people with learning difficulties and barriers to employment get into work by ordering your food from Loaf Catering. Need a corporate video? Use SlackPress Media and help them provide training and employment for students, graduates and the unemployed. Take a look at an earlier Gauge NI blog post by Stephen McGarry about introducing social enterprises to the supply chain.
 
3. Network and find out what other SME’s are doing
 
As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. There is no need to try and reinvent the wheel with your CSR efforts, find out what other companies are doing and see if you can do something similar in a way that suits your organisation. 
 
There are plenty of organisations in Northern Ireland who would be more than happy to help your business take the first steps in CSR – check out Business in the Community NI and Volunteer Now.
 
Measure and communicate your impact
As well as benefiting the community, the outcomes of actively engaging with CSR can be wide reaching – it sets you apart from your competitors, engages staff and is an excellent PR opportunity. People want to do business with ethical companies, so make sure your customers know what you are doing to improve your social impact.
 
At Gauge NI we specialise in measuring, evaluating and communicating the social impact of organisations across the third, private and philanthropy sectors in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We work with private sector companies to evaluate the social, environmental and economic value of their CSR policies. 
 
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you understand, measure and communicate your social impact, take a look through our recent reports and visual impact cards or get in touch on 02890 234414, email info@gaugeni.co.uk
 
 
Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN