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Now, more than ever, inclusion, innovation, corporate responsibility, sustainability, resiliency, authenticity, transparency and trust are critical cores of growth. Not only can organizations of every size make an impact, but it is an increasingly component of business strategy through the lens of both consumers and employees.  

  •  53% of workers believe that having a job where they can make an impact is important to their overall happiness.
  • 35% of workers say that they would take a 15% pay cut in order to work for a company committed to corporate social responsibility, 45% would do the same to have a job that makes a social or environmental impact, and 58% say they would do the same to work for a company whose values reflect their own. 
  • 75% of consumers are likely to give their business or start shopping with a company that supports an issue they agree with; 59% are likely to stop doing business with a company that supports an issue they disagree with.

I frequently hear from smaller businesses that they don’t have the resources to have a meaningful impact with CSR, but this is a misperception. You DON”T have to be a large-scale corporation or global enterprise to have a meaningful mission or far-reaching impact. I should know. Companies don’t get smaller than mine (I have been a solopreneur operating an LLC since 2014), but Escalate Solutions is still a difference-maker in the community. 

The volume of small businesses has surged as a result of the pandemic, with the importance of social responsibility surging alongside. There are dozens of non-profits that I commit to giving contributions to, and while it is true that my dollar volumes don’t match those of the Fortune 500, to many of the entities I give to, a few thousands of dollars here and there can actually be mission-changing.  I have also volunteered my time to impactful organizations like Energize Colorado, the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, National History Day Colorado, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, the Rise School of Denver, Childrens Hospital Colorado, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Heart | Stroke Association, the American Red Cross and more.  I recognize that my personal ability to scale impact is limited, so I deliberately choose to contribute to those who do have that reach.  

I encourage all of my fellow small business owners to think of CSR as a multi-tiered ecosystem that allows for the promotion of a greater cause or mission. If you can’t stand up your own initiative, find a cause that matters to you, your team and your clients.  And then donate, volunteer, engage, join boards,  commit to hiring employees with passion and a track record of community engagement, and explore social capitalism or PE funds that are enabling ESG and CSR outcomes.  

It’s been a difficult few years for the business ecosystem, especially for many small businesses.  You can make a difference for others and your own organization by raising your voice….raising a few dollars….and supporting causes that matter.