Corporate Social Responsibility in Sponsorship

How Corporate Social Responsibility in Sponsorships Can Lead the Change

Gone are the days when a for-profit company’s sole concern was “maximizing shareholder value.” It’s been replaced by greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Did you know 87% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if the company supports a cause they care about? Private companies are increasingly stepping up to make positive changes, filling gaps where governments fall short. This shift is steering companies away from a singular focus on shareholder value and towards embracing CSR as a vital priority. This movement is gaining momentum, especially as organizations look to contribute to their communities.

As a team deeply involved in the world of sponsorships, we are keenly aware of the need for our industry to align with this transformative trend in corporate values. However, sponsorships are still catching up in this aspect. Integrating CSR into sponsorships opens a golden opportunity to foster consumer goodwill and amplify the impact of sponsorships. If your sponsorship strategy hasn’t embraced CSR yet, here are four avenues to explore:

1. Sponsorship of Causes Related to A Brand

Sponsoring charitable causes can be a great way for businesses and individuals to impact society while gaining visibility and goodwill positively. In this category, the sponsor’s brand has some connection to the cause. This kind of brand-related CSR will grow in popularity and impact as companies push their CSR goals to the top of the corporate priorities list. Examples include:

  • A beverage maker sponsoring an environmental organization seeking to mitigate ocean plastic pollution.
  • A home improvement chain sponsoring a non-profit dedicated to affordable housing or
  • A food manufacturer sponsoring community food banks.

2. Unconventional Causes in Sponsorships

Sponsors sometimes integrate existing causes or CSR initiatives into sponsorships, even without an obvious connection. A prime example is Honda Canada’s involvement in the Honda Indy Toronto INDYCAR event. Though the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada has no direct link to racing, Honda Canada cleverly incorporates its relationship with the foundation into various aspects of the event to connect with the audience.

3. Sponsoring Causes Directly

Non-profit organizations frequently organize events with sponsorship opportunities. Take Walgreens and Bank of America, for instance, who show their commitment to breast cancer awareness by partnering with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

4. Embedding CSR Activities into Events

Modern events take CSR to heart by embedding it directly into their operations. This could encompass collaborating with diverse vendors, showcasing non-profits in event displays or concessions, or embracing eco-friendly practices. Sometimes, the event organizers take the lead, while other times, sponsors drive heightened CSR awareness within the events they support.

Final Thoughts

By blending CSR policies into sponsorship strategies, you can make sponsorships much more impactful. This isn’t just a short-lived trend – it’s going to become even more popular as organizations recover from the pandemic. Actually, both communities and consumers now expect this. Because CSR is so important and fits well with sponsorship, combining them is like teamwork that creates a bigger effect than if they were separate.

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