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How to Choose CSR Consultant?

The benefits of working with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives are not always evident, even when more and more companies are embedding this concept in their business.

Many times, companies do not require hiring external consultants for this objective. For instance, if you clearly know the social purpose of your business, the publicizing of this message can be handled by the company’s internal communications team.

If your CSR is mainly an HR (Human Resources) initiative, you will not require external help to set up a volunteer program or enhance employee engagement. In case you have partnerships with NGOs, it is ideal that your insider team handles the relationship.

However, there are major exceptions. Some of these are social audits for supply chains, assessment of the impact on the environment, and measuring social outcomes when third-party assurance/ verifications are necessary and suitable. In spite of this, you must focus on constructing internal CSR initiatives whenever and wherever possible.

The number of CSR companies and consultants is rising fast. There is so much choice that selecting one for your company has become a confusing and daunting challenge. Following are some major criteria for CSR consultancy:

Wide experience

Consider whether they have worked in various categories of business. Have they worked for NGOs and big corporations? Have they offered their services to big and small companies? When CSR is applied in an extensive range of situations, it results in valuable cross-learning.

Deep experience

Many people are passionate about CSR and have ventured into this area. But when you choose a CSR consultant, one must balance both experience and enthusiasm.

Diversity of experience

You should work with CSR consultants to match the external and internal audiences you hope to touch and impact. This implies that the consultants must have access to an extensive range of varying opinions and to persons of various ethnicities, genders, and ages.

Promote internal resources

The best CSR consultants like to encourage companies to rely on their own internal teams of CSR. It is a fact that most CSR initiatives can be handled internally. Avoid consultants who are excessively obsessed with self-promotion.

Encourage social change

Simply having educational credentials like degrees or some level of practical experience in business is not enough. CSR is all about the synergy between purpose and profit. This implies that the consultants are required to know how social change happens.

Inspiration 

You must find a consultant for CSR who offers inspiration to be provocative in a suitable and positive mode. For example, some of the best consultants for CSR are artists and musicians.

A great example of a CSR initiative is the Indian NGO called GreenSole. The company’s main activity is to collect donations of old shoes, refurbish them and market them as fashionable footwear. Green Sole encourages companies to associate with them for CSR. The employees of companies can pool resources to support the venture or organize a drive for the collection of discarded shoes. They can also become customers of refurbished footwear as well as arrange footwear for the needy poor. This venture also generates employment for women in rural areas.

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