Communications professionals from around the world want to raise the profile of their organizations’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts by beefing up communications and backing stand-alone CSR departments, according to a poll by Ragan Communications and PollStream.
Respondents were conflicted, however, about why they want to increase CSR activities and where a CSR department should reside within their organization.
- Some 70% of the 439 respondents indicate that their companies practice and communicate CSR, though 30% say they have no CSR programs at all.
- When asked what they’d like to change about their CSR programs, 43% would like to increase them and 21% want to measure their ROI. Only 6% would reduce CSR initiatives overall.
- Poll respondents are split over their reasons for wanting to increase CSR. Some 40% say it would improve employee engagement, while 50% say it would enhance PR and corporate image; 7% hope to grow sales and 4% want to attract new employees.
- Nearly 50% believe a standalone department reporting directly to the CEO should take charge of CSR. The remaining 50% are split over whether media relations, internal communications or marketing should have responsibility.
Communicators also showed a preference for using traditional media – such as newsletters and CSR reports – rather than new online media, to communicate CSR initiatives:
- 58% of respondents cite traditional communications outlets as their venue of choice for disseminating CSR news.
- 43% plan to promote CSR activities such as employee volunteerism and community ambassador programs.
- 22% plan to promote CSR with more aggressive public relations programs that coincide with community outreach.
- 22% plan to communicate CSR programs using social media such as blogs, podcasts and Facebook groups.
About the research: PollStream partnered with Ragan Communications to create POLL-arized, a series of polls about corporate communications. A sample of 439 communicators from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia participated in the poll.