Every company involved in corporate social responsibility activities is expected to release regular reports to its stakeholders and shareholders. Proper CSR reporting will enhance confidence in your company, while poor reporting could have detrimental effects on your reputation. Here are some of the mistakes you need to avoid when it comes to CSR reporting:
1. Not acknowledging your company’s interests
Your corporate social responsibility reporting should be transparent and sincere enough to acknowledge the interests of your company. It is a fact that every company exists to meet the needs of its shareholders. Your CSR activities and projects usually fall within your objective of serving shareholders. Make sure this is outlined clearly in your reporting. Don’t make the mistake of hiding your interests in order to appear altruistic. Be sincere about what you and your shareholders stand to gain through your CSR activities. This will add more credibility to the rest of your message.
2. Being too complex
CSR reporting should be made in a simple manner that can be understood by your audience. If your message is not easy to read and digest, it will not be effective. If you don’t know how to simplify your CSR reporting, just ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are the beneficiaries of the CSR project?
- Why is it vital for them?
- What has the project achieved?
- How was it carried out?
- Why is your company involved in this project?
- What are the challenges?
The answers to these questions will help you come up with a concise and simple message which will make sense to your audience.
3. Being too defensive
At times, CSR projects are kicked off in response to an outcry by society or activists. In some cases, your company might actually be guilty of making mistakes which have affected the community in a negative way. If this is so, don’t waste time defending yourself in your CSR reporting. Instead, accept liability and explain how you handled the situation. Getting too defensive will only make you lose credibility in the eyes of your audience.
4. Not giving due credit
The success of any CSR campaign is usually determined by many parties. Therefore, your CSR reporting should not make it appear like your company did everything on its own. Be sure to share credit liberally. In all your conversations, presentations and writings, be sure to acknowledge the contribution of everyone who participated in the project, from the least to the greatest.
5. Focusing too much on data
It is inevitable that your CSR reporting will have some details and data. However, projects are about real situations and real people. Therefore, your audience will not just want to look at boring graphs and statistics. They want to hear stories, see photos and watch videos concerning the project. This will cause your message to come alive and capture the attention of your audience.
6. Poor timing
Timing is very important when it comes to CSR reporting. At times, it would be advisable to remain silent and allow results to speak for themselves. This is the best approach, especially when your company is the middle of a major controversy. If you release a CSR report at such a time, the message will only end up getting lost in the noise. Therefore, before making CSR reporting, assess the situation and determine if the time is right.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the points mentioned above? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.