“Corporate social responsibility (CSR): When a corporation takes initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing.”

You’ve heard the term. And you might even work for a company or own one that implements CSR in the workplace. There are countless ways — both big and small — to engage employees and companies in global causes. As you kick-off 2016 and begin planning the year for your team, consider these 10 ways to ramp up your own company’s CSR efforts. We’ve experimented with several of these methods here at the Case Foundation and found them to be great ways to engage staff in giving back. We hope you enjoy these simple ways to encourage staff to use their time, talent and treasure to give back to deserving causes and nonprofits.

  1. Offer pro-bono services from your staff while unleashing their talent and expertise for good. Companies like Discovery Communications host an annual Create the Change 12-hour creative marathon with hundred of employees working on campaigns for dozens of nonprofits. They devise promotional materials, press kits, videos, marketing and events strategies and social media campaigns in one day! More than 5,000 companies have pledged their pro bono and skills-based services to global causes through the A Billion + Change initiative in similar efforts.
  1. Host a fitness challenge. Nurture good health and wellness habits among your workers with competitions, like seeing who can walk the most miles throughout the day? For even more impact, the prize for the winner each month could be a donation to a nonprofit of their choice. Use fitness tracking apps like Fitbit and UP to track which employees takes the most steps in one day to keep everyone accountable.
  1. Race for a cure as a team with proceeds going to meaningful charity for the group. Each year the Case Foundation team joins together for the Race for Hope to benefit Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure. The race has grown to more than 12,000 participants each year who support efforts to find a cure for brain cancer. Find a cause that resonates with your employees and join together to support it.
  1. Institute a dollar-for-dollar match for every dollar donated by an employee to a charity of their choice. Companies like GE, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson offer employee matches from $20,000 to $50,000, but even a small match of $500 per employee can go a long way for local nonprofits.
  1. Crowdfund as a team on annual days of giving like your local city-wide giving day or the international #Giving Tuesday holiday, which this year raised more than $116 million for nonprofits across the globe. Online giving platforms like Crowdrise and GlobalGiving make it easy to start a team page and raise funds together.
  1. Volunteer as a group at a charity or nonprofit. Join together as a team to build a playground with KaBoom!, or get out in the weeds at your local community garden! The HandsOn Network, sponsored by Points of Light, teams up corporate volunteering teams with nearby nonprofits who need support. More than 2.6 million volunteers have provided 25 million hours of community service through the program.
  1. Host a donation drive for items to give to shelters, including toiletries, clothing, canned goods, books, back-to-school supplies and holiday gifts.
  1. Encourage board service by your employees and give them time off to serve. Not only are you helping local nonprofits to benefit from the expertise of your employees, but board service builds leadership skills that can be brought back to your company as well. Organizations like Volunteer Match, Bridgespan and Idealist often post board member openings in areas across the U.S.
  1. Provide time off for staff to volunteer and serve outside of paid vacation. Companies like Deloitte offer unlimited paid time off to volunteer, while Salesforce offers up to six days a year. Find an amount of time that works for your company, and make sure employees know the volunteer time is there and how to access it. 
  1. Examine your own company and Measure What Matters. CSR can come in a variety of ways, including expanding how the brand creates value for its customers, employees, community and the environment. More than 20,000 companies have used B Lab’s Impact Assessment, funded by the Case Foundation, to start to benchmark and improve their social and environmental performance. You can access the assessment free of charge and see how well your company scores.

While these are some ideas to get you started, it is always important to ask your staff or host a brainstorm to better understand how they want to be engaged. Encourage employees to share their opinion on how the company can become more involved in social cause — they may hold an outside-of-the-box alternative that we missed! Have additional ideas for how employees and companies can incorporate practical CSR into their workplace?  Tweet them to us at @CaseFoundation or use #CSREfforts.

Header photo credit: Flickr user DC Central Kitchen, used via Creative Commons.