How to get CSR initiatives started in your company...

by tmalavika on Sep 29, 2008      Category: Useful Resources Tags: csr start company

No CSR initiatives in your company? Here’s how you can get something started! Form a group This is the first thing to do. CSR initiatives are always rooted in small beginnings. So, look around and gather a group of people who are interested in such initiatives. Approach your HR department and higher management with your findings and suggestions. How do you find people? Well, one easy way is to organize a screening of movies related to social initiatives. There are institutions like VisualSearch, FilmsForFreedom and Vikalp, who have social consciousness related films and they would be delighted to give you the copy for screenings.


First, do no harm


Study your business and its impact on people, environment, resources etc. Attempt to reduce the negative impact caused by your business.


  • Use eco-friendly packaging
  • Avoid or at least reduce the use of plastics
  • Dispose waste safely
  • Reduce wastage of resources like raw materials, water, energy etc
  • Reduce pollution by improving the technology used
  • Increase safety at the work place for employees and contractors
  • Have some greenery around the workplace
  • Some things like using individual cabs are clearly a luxury and can be easily reduced.
  • Create a positive impact


There is only so much you can do to fix the problems your business causes. When you reach that point, start finding out other initiatives your group can participate in. There are many organizations that are looking for volunteers. Most people get stuck here because they don’t know what to do. But there are people you can take help from. For example, iVolunteer is an organization which can help you locate the nearest NGO to your office/home, and give you various volunteering opportunities that are available. You can get Toybank to organize a toy collection drive in your office or you can organize a clothes collection drive or a news paper collection drive. You can help some rural NGO set up an organic foods stall in your company, which would enable farmers to sell directly.


Use your competency and share your skills


How can your firm’s competency be used to help people? Are you in technology? In marketing? Finance? Law? Medicine? Share your job skills. Help an organization to reach more people by creating an informative website. Help someone fight a legal battle. Teach people basic finances and banking. Volunteer to do the PR for some NGO. For example, WeMove is a group which does theatre for benefit of old age homes. Be it music, theatre, science, writing, teaching or whatever you enjoy and are good at doing, there will be volunteering opportunity for it.


Subtle ways to make a difference


If you don’t have time for volunteering, then there are more subtle ways to make the difference. Help employ the differently abled in your workplace. Take the initiative to create awareness in your HRD towards offering equal opportunities and help employ differently abled people in your work place. Create a disabled-friendly environment - ramps, wheelchairs, accessible counters etc.


Empower the under privileged by using their services.


Whenever your company buys bulk gifts and T-shirts for all employees you could ensure that you buy them from NGOs like Samarthanam, Ananya, and so on.


Don’t waste; Donate.


Whenever you have excess food after a function, you can call 1098 - child line number and they will ensure that the food which would otherwise be wasted, reaches some needy children’s home.


Respond to catastrophes


Floods, droughts, earth quakes, fires, crashes happen out of the blue. Help at such important junctures by volunteering your time to help in rehabilitation.


Get others involved Spread the word and get more people to join. Everyone does not have the time on a regular basis. With more people involved, everyone has lesser pressure and more options. Make the people in your organization aware of the world around them. Encourage one time activities and awareness campaigns.




Visual Search Flat No:103, May Flower Laxmi Apts, 63, Sultan Palya Main Rd, R.T. Nagar, Bangalore - 560 032 E-mail: Films for Freedom


Samarthanam # 11, Villa Suchita, 1st cross, 17th ‘A’ main, Behind Giri Apts. JP Nagar 2nd phase, Bangalor Phone: 080 26592999 / 26591488


Toybank Shweta Phone: 9892077071 This article was originally published in the August2008 issue of Sattva, an ITIHAS initiative. You can find this issue of Sattva at Sattva, An ITIHAS initiative: an e-magazine focusing on the social sector. Web: Email:

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mynk's picture

A similar post focussing on CSR on environment -

parulgupta8ue's picture

Great article, Malavika! I really like the bit about "do no harm" - that cuts the problem right at its source. In addition to the article pointed by Mayank above, here's another one on how IT companies are becoming more eco-friendly

Badhri's picture

A well thought out article, I could have come up with one such article, but never crossed my mind. Kudos!

As an enabler of CSR at our office, here are a few tips from my side (but quite a few are just my opinions based on my ideals...I don't mean to impose them)

- Try to get involved in a project that involves lasting social change than on just feel-good-factor projects. For example, collection Rs. 20,000 to feed 300 orphans of an orphanage just once helps none. Usually an orphanage that can find accommodation for 300, has a way to fund their food too! :) Rather just sending an email and setting up a box to collect old books to donate to a school is more productive.

- CSR within the office need not stop with reducing wastes and promoting eco-friendliness. It can also include promoting eye-donation drives, first-aid and emergency response and repetitive stress injury education.

- Set up a process to donate used laptops

- For disaster relief cloth (or other kind) donation is better than money donation (though the latter is necessary too) for its ability to discourage corruption. I have heard first hand accounts of massive corruption even when donated through credible organizations.

- One way for a small CSR group in a large company to gain visibility is to request time for a 5-10 min presentation during an all-employee meeting. Trust me, it works like magic. I gave a presentation when I was a one man army..ended up with way more volunteers than I could handle!

Narendran's picture

CSR related documents and CSR Rating done by Karmayog at

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