Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of business self-regulation that aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic or charitable nature. For many businesses, CSR is not just a suggested best practice; it's necessary for the communities they work in--and the season of giving is the perfect time to take part.

Involve Your Employees

At Zen Media, we make helping others part of our culture. And there are plenty of organizations and nonprofits that are willing to make helping others and organizing group-style charitable giving as easy as possible. 

We set team volunteering goals with a tracker so we can see our holistic progress and acknowledge the valuable organizations we are able to partner with. Many on our team use catchafire.org--a virtual volunteering website that connects volunteers with nonprofits based on skill sets. 

For the holidays, we will collect donations to purchase a farm animal for a needy community through heifer.org. But the options for charitable giving are endless. Think about the causes you and your staff care about and how you can help either fiscally or through your time and skills. 

Help with Health

Speaking of animals, at Holistic Actions (HA!)--an international leader in the fight for creating a better world for pets--they're launching the "Ha! Foundation 2022 One Health-One Medicine" initiative for the holidays. As they have done for the last two years, HA! will also be gifting three scholarships for All Access membership to financially challenged pet parents or rescue organizations.

Go Big

Das Nobel from the class of '06 and Nipa Nobel, co-founders of MTX Group (MTX), are fully funding the expansion of the science center and renovation of the Roger Bacon Hall at Siena College, donating $35 million. But this donation isn't just for a new building; it will support new, growing, and popular academic programs that directly impact 41% of the student body, including programs in biology, chemistry, data science, communications, health sciences, and computer science. The Nobel Foundation will support the pledge, which aims to inspire the next generation to dream big.

MTX also recently announced the investment of $25 million in Miami Dade College to support the advancement of the college's emerging technology programs, scholarships, internships, and global learning experiences for students and seed funding for student ventures. With this investment, the Nobels seek to increase opportunities for underserved and underrepresented students attending MDC.

Weave It into the Nature of Your Business

While many organizations don't have the capacity for such large donations, others have the option of getting creative with how they check their CSR box, so to speak. After all, Corporate Social Responsibility is evolving from writing a check or co-sponsoring a program to weaving it into the very nature of the business. 

When fintech solutions giant, FIS, set out to tackle financial inclusion, they started weaving it into every product and solution they created. They used their expertise to help power Greenwood, a digital banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and business owners. They created Banker on the Go to help underserved communities gain better access to important financial advice and information. And, most importantly, they used their Real-Time Lending Platform to help over 150,000 small businesses obtain $13.9 billion in loans last year. 

Focus on the Here and Now

Numerous charitable organizations scrambled to come up with programs to help those impacted by Coid-19, whether from the illness itself, layoffs, or the struggles of adjusting to life in isolation. Healthcare education provider Carrus has built their business around helping people find careers in areas with new demand, and the healthcare industry--and keeping hospitals and medical centers staffed--has become their focus. They partner with companies like 3M, CVS, and Walgreens to get more people working in healthcare faster--a huge asset to communities at large. But Carrus also knows that those career opportunities need to be equitable, and they continually offer scholarship programs for BIPOC healthcare learners to help them continue moving forward in their careers.

As founder and CEO of Zen Media, I believe heavily in CSR. Our volunteer and charity projects positively impact employee satisfaction and retention, and it's great for our brand identity because CSR initiatives help bolster customer trust and public respect. But, and most importantly, in doing so, we are helping people and communities thrive. 

Let's do our part. Whether your company can help through a big gesture or in smaller, more gradual ways--every bit makes a difference.