Have you ever started searching for information on Google to find yourself down a rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland? You begin searching for one thing, and 30 minutes later, you've opened 15 or more browser windows, you're comparing at least five different websites with contradictory information, and you're overwhelmed by the options. Unfortunately, I hear this frequently when talking with Small Business Owners about social responsibility ideas.
Endless Articles and Generic Ideas
Want to test this out? Google “social responsibility ideas”. There are so many results that Google doesn't even provide a count.
Narrow down the search for “small business social responsibility ideas.” Google returns 555 MILLION results.
Now scroll through the results.
You'll find related articles with valuable information, such as summaries of how doing good helps a small business, lists of companies that demonstrate social responsibility, and reasons why a business should adopt social responsibility, but they don't provide specific ideas.
And you'll also find tons of links to articles with lists of ideas that provide the “top recommendations”, the “most common ways”, etc. Unfortunately, these lists are limited and often too generic.
Sometimes you will find valuable articles with detailed information. However, most lists are limited in length, and the content is filtered based on the author or site's intention.
The same thing happens if you search for social responsibility examples.
Some people give up at this point. The amount of information to dig through is overwhelming. But, some people persevere and read enough to come up with a few ideas for how they want to good through their business. And then… guess what…
Most initial results only provide a quick summary or sentence about the ideas. So, it's BACK to Google to learn more about each action, and you'll find yourself searching through pages and pages again.
To help Small Business Owners get off the Google Hamster Wheel when looking for social responsibility ideas, I've done the research for you.
The Small Actions Directory
I spent hours searching for ideas and examples and reading articles, studies, and reports. Then I compiled a list of over 125 social responsibility ideas to consider for your business and created the Small Actions Directory.
This online searchable database is organized into four categories and 17 subcategories (from the Small Actions Framework – my unique approach to Small Business Social Responsibility):
- Business Integrity – actions that demonstrate your interest and dedication to conducting business in an ethical and upstanding manner. These are further divided into 4 subcategories:
- Mission and Values – incorporating your Social Responsibility goals directly into your mission and values;
- Business Policies – adjusting or adding to your business policies to incorporate social responsibility components;
- Procurement – considering the impact of or source of the products you purchase for sale, supplies, or use; and,
- Operations – reviewing your existing business operations and making changes to incorporate social responsibility best practices.
- Safety, Health, & Wellness – actions that demonstrate your interest in the well-being of your employees and customers. These are further divided into 3 subcategories:
- Safety – maximizing the safe conditions of your office or off-site activities for employees and customers;
- Physical Health & Fitness – encouraging and supporting the physical health and fitness of your employees; and,
- Mental Health – encouraging and supporting the mental health of your employees.
- Environmental Impact – actions that demonstrate your interest in preserving and improving the environment. These are further divided into 5 subcategories:
- Water Use Reduction – reducing the amount of water your business uses;
- Energy Use Reduction – reducing the amount of energy your business uses;
- Greenhouse Gas Reduction – reducing or offsetting the amount of greenhouse gases your business produces;
- Waste Reduction – reducing the amount of waste your business generates; and,
- Chemical Reduction – reducing the amount of harmful chemicals your business uses (and potentially releases).
- Community Engagement – actions that demonstrate your interest in serving and improving your community (keeping in mind that “community” can apply to a location or group’s common characteristics). These are further divided into 5 subcategories:
- Time Donation – donating your or your employees’ time to help with community events or organizations (i.e., volunteering);
- Monetary Donation – donating money to support community efforts or organizations;
- Resource Donation – donating resources you use or make to support community efforts or organizations;
- Resource Drive – collecting needed resources for community efforts or organizations; and,
- Sponsorship – funding a project or organization for agreed-upon benefits.
Anyone visiting the page can browse all ideas, sort by category and then subcategory, or search for specific keywords.
AND I don't filter the ideas in the Small Actions Directory based on what I consider more valuable. Instead, if I find an idea for how to do good, I add it to the list. Period.
It's not up to me to filter or limit possible social responsibility ideas. It's up to you, as the Small Business Owner, to pick the ideas that are of most interest to you that will also connect with your business. I'm just here to make it easier.
And I'm Just Getting Started
Creating the Small Actions Directory and adding the initial social responsibility ideas is just the START of my efforts to make it easier for Small Business Owners to do more good. Many of the ideas only have a few sentences in the directory (but I had to start somewhere, right?)
To make the directory more valuable, I select one or two actions to update each week. I add more details to summarize the overall idea, provide context on how the action can also benefit your business*, recommend articles or resources on how to get started and provide links to related published studies or reports.
* Ensuring that your actions also BENEFIT your business is a foundational concept of the Small Actions Framework. To learn more about that, read my blog article “Doing Good is Good Business (IF You Do It Effectively).”
Ready to Search the Database?
Head over to the Small Actions Directory and start browsing!
If you have an idea that is NOT listed, help me help others. Send me an email via the contact form, and I'll do some research and add it to the list.
Want to receive notifications when actions are updated with more detail? Sign up to join the Small Actions Greater Good Weekly Digest, and you'll receive weekly emails with updated blogs AND the links to updated actions (you'll find a form to the right or below this article to “Join Our Community”.
Cheers to doing more good in the world!