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Crafting Your New CSR Strategy for 2023

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs took a big hit as companies worked to navigate the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies got a handle on their business affairs, 2022 was the year they were able to ramp up their CSR programs back to full speed or at least consider incorporating a CSR strategy. As we look ahead to 2023, here are some key trends that you should keep in mind to either start or build out your CSR programs.

Using Volunteerism to Rebuild Company Culture

One universal consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic that companies in all industries are facing is the cultural shift that comes from returning to the office after working from home for an extended period of time.

READ — 5 Tips for Building a Strong Company Culture in a Hybrid Work Environment

With hybrid schedules becoming more of the norm, many new people are starting their employment during these hybrid or remote times. This is the perfect time to use volunteerism to help build connections among employees, even for those that are more introverted.

There is nothing like mucking a horse pasture or doing some grueling trail maintenance with fellow colleagues to create lasting connections and camaraderie! Increasing your volunteer programming within your CSR strategy will have a huge benefit, not only regarding those you are helping in your community but internally as well.

Connecting your CSR and DEI Programming

As Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programming continues to remain a top priority for organizations, you can use your CSR strategy to elevate your DEI efforts and create opportunities for your colleagues to engage with diverse communities.

Many companies provide training and educational sessions addressing DEI. Why not add a volunteer opportunity to provide colleagues with a personal way to connect with those in the community? For example, in honor of Black History Month, in addition to hosting our traditional cultural initiatives event, we also hosted volunteers and partnered with Communities in Schools to provide story times with elementary school students to share the influence and contributions of individuals of African descent. Aligning your DEI efforts with volunteer opportunities and charitable contributions to organizations focused on serving diverse communities will strengthen both your CSR strategy and DEI efforts.

Emergency and Disaster Relief Strategy

Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, mass shootings, hate crimes, wars and a global pandemic … the world is facing a major increase in the number of natural and man-made disasters. Incorporating an emergency and disaster relief strategy will provide your company with the ability to quickly and meaningfully respond to such incidents, rather than taking a more panicked and responsive approach.

Consider which stage of disaster relief to focus on (i.e., preparedness, relief, reconstruction), which type of support to provide (hosting a campaign/event, investing financially, deploying volunteers, pro bono support), where to give, both geographically and frequency (which is particularly challenging), and your alignment with existing disaster relief organizations.

As you craft your strategy, take a look back at how the pandemic shifted CSR strategy (a “disaster” of its own sort) and take note of lessons learned. This is a good time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in the event another major crisis comes along and CSR efforts have to evolve.

READ — How Business Leaders Can Embrace a Multigenerational Workforce

As we wrap up 2022, I hope you and your company plan to incorporate a more robust CSR program as businesses are now back to the new normal. For those just starting their CSR journey, B:Civic, a part of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, is a great local resource. As companies must navigate how to rebuild post-pandemic company culture, an intentional CSR program can be an impactful tool.


Jayme RitchieJayme Ritchie is Brownstein’s Community Relations Director.