Scholastic launched the #SAVEWITHSTORIES initiative with Jennifer Garner to support nonprofit organizations.
Scholastic launched the #SAVEWITHSTORIES initiative with Jennifer Garner to support nonprofit organizations. Getty Images/Steven Ferdman

As the global community continues to wrestle with finding solutions during the current COVID-19 pandemic, many companies continue to struggle with finding a working balance between still functioning as a business - while not ignoring the realities of the crisis.

The fact is it simply cannot be business as usual for any company. And what a company does in a time of crisis such as this, will be remembered by customers and potential customers. The right response can yield strong brand loyalty for years to come.

So what exactly is corporate social responsibility (CSR)? In the simplest terms, CSR is a strategic concept whereby businesses integrate social and environmental concerns into their overall business strategy. For example, when a company considers the effects on the environment and overall carbon footprint when discussing how to produce its products.

And never has it been a more opportune time for companies to consider their CSR strategy and exact some positive changes. Here are four CSR-related initiatives your company can implement during this time.

  • Ensure Employees' Well-Being - The well-being and satisfaction of employees is the cornerstone of success for any company. During this current crisis, many individuals feel uncertain about several factors - health risks, job security and more. Companies need to implement initiatives that ensure the well-being of their staff. This may include providing the opportunity to work remotely where possible, extending sick leave protections for anyone who may have contracted the virus, offering some type of compensation for hourly workers if businesses have to close and more.
  • Give to Charity - Many global brands have already pledged millions to various global and grassroots initiatives working to stop the spread of virus. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $5 million to aid public health agencies in Seattle, after already pledging $100 million to various health organizations and charities. Understandably, many companies do not have that kind of money to offer; but there are various small, grassroots community organizations, initiatives and more that companies can donate to and partner with. It's always important to remember that every little bit helps.
  • Keep Customers & Community Informed - Sometimes the best way to help is by simply sharing information. With the overwhelming amount of content available and with it the advent of "fake news," many individuals are grateful for credible and helpful information, especially at a time like this. Companies can help by maybe partnering with local and maybe even global health organizations to create an informative campaign, including social media posts with facts and helpful tidbits, do an Instagram takeover with the local Red Cross or Health Department, etc. People will appreciate the information.
  • Support Campaigns/Initiatives - Sometimes giving back simply means supporting an existing effort. With actors Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams, Scholastic launched the #SAVEWITHSTORIES initiative this past March. The goal of the campaign is to help drive donations to Save the Children and No Kid Hungry nonprofits, to ensure needy students who are currently not in school due to the virus still get nutritious meals and books. Supporting a campaign such as this requires nothing more than sharing it on your company's platforms and encouraging your staff and customers to do the same.

In times like these companies and brands need to show that they are about more than just the bottom line. Because customers and potential customers are paying attention. And they won't forget how a firm behaved.

Digna Joseph is a content specialist/writer whose Island PR analyzes public relations, marketing, and social media.