Small business owners might think a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is only for large corporations. However, having an impact mission can fuel your business’ mission for profit. Creating a CSR program for your small business can help you give back in an organized way and get a consistent return on your investment. 

What Is Corporate Social Responsibility For Small Businesses?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for small businesses is the process of setting up a formal impact mission and plan to consistently make an impact in society, the community, or the environment. Through a small business CSR program, business owners commit to an impact mission that fuels the mission for profit. Small business can use their impact to drive their brand strategy and connect with customers and employees who share similar values.

How To Create a DIY Small Business CSR Program

Small businesses can make a positive impact on society and the environment by implementing a corporate social responsibility program while also benefiting their own bottom line. Small businesses that focus on their CSR can demonstrate to customers and employees that they have values that align with their brand. 

Communicating your impact mission can help your small business attract the right type of clients who want to support the impact work and benefit from your product or service. Creating your CSR goes hand-in-hand with your small business marketing strategy. By leveraging your marketing, your business will benefit from your efforts to give back. 

This symbiotic relationship between helping others and helping your business is the reason having a CSR program can help your business attract the right kind of clients and talent. 

5 steps to start your small business CSR program

5 Steps to Create Your Own CSR Program

If you want to DIY your small business CSR program. These essential steps help you get started. To create a full program, consider hiring a consultant or coach to work with you through the development process. 

  1. Define your goals and values: The first step is defining your small business goals and values. Align with your business’s mission and priorities with clearly established goals and values.
  2. Identify areas for impact: Small businesses can then assess their current operations and identify areas where they can make a social and/or environmental impact. This could include establishing a formal impact mission or using the DPTD framework. 
  3. Develop a plan: Developing your small business CSR plan leverages your goals, values, and ideas for impact. This plan should outline specific activities and initiatives that the business will undertake to improve its social and environmental impact, as well as goals and metrics for measuring success.
  4. Implement and monitor the plan: The next step is to begin implementing the activities and initiatives outlined in the plan. It is important to monitor the progress of the program and to make adjustments as needed to ensure that it is effective and aligns with your business’s goals and values.
  5. Communicate and engage with stakeholders: Finally, you will need to communicate about your CSR program and efforts with key audiences (stakeholders, employees, customers, and the wider community). Regular communication about the outcomes of your impact mission helps build trust and support for the program. Communication efforts also provide opportunities for stakeholders to engage with and support your business’s efforts.

Using the DPTD Framework to Make An Impact

Consistently making an impact is an important part of having a CSR program. Consistency shows your customers, employees, and audiences that you are committed to the impact mission and your actions are not performative. The DPTD framework is an easy way to identify the impact ideas you have and create a plan that will promote consistency.

DPTD stands for Dollars, People, Time, and Donations. These are four common ways that businesses can give back to the community. Each one is further defined here and is explained in more detail in this blog post with examples from social businesses with strong impact missions.


Many social businesses give money to causes they support. Sometimes small businesses give money as corporate sponsors without calling themselves a social business or using their impact to create more business. Securing corporate sponsorships help nonprofit and community organizations work on changing the world. 

Giving dollars can be a regular occurrence through things like payment processing where a portion of proceeds automatically goes to a nonprofit organization or by dedicating a portion of proceeds from a specific event or day towards a nonprofit organization. There are many community organizations that are seeking corporate sponsorships. As a business owner, your job is to find opportunities that are aligned with your values and will move your impact mission forward. You also want to seek partnerships with organizations that are reaching their outcomes and will use your contributions wisely.


Small business owners can create volunteer opportunities for nonprofits. Volunteers help complete important projects. Volunteering with community organizations also shows support for local causes that need in-person manpower.

As a business owner, you can organize volunteers from your employees, family/friends, or host a volunteer drive on behalf of a partner. You will need to find a nonprofit or community organization looking for volunteers and negotiate your volunteer opportunity with them. You can determine how many volunteers are needed, what time, and the location of the volunteer opportunity. 


Businesses that offer time as a corporate social responsibility activity might give “pro-bono services” or other professional services to charity organizations for free or at a reduced rate. This is a form of donating time to help another organization or founder achieve its mission by leveraging your professional experience. 

Time can be a form of “volunteering” as well, for example, the time you spend volunteering for a nonprofit board of directors. Time donated is often related to a professional service or some other form of time that could normally be billed but is instead offered at a discounted rate or for free.


Donations are an important part of giving because there are so many things that a business can donate. Beyond services and time, giving tangible goods is a great way for a business to show corporate social responsibility. 

Many donations go beyond monetary donations and could include offering space, products, or other tangible items that can help another organization or partner achieve its mission. 

Start Building Your Small Business CSR Today

Your small businesses can develop and implement a successful CSR program that aligns with their goals and values and makes a positive impact on society and the environment.

If you are ready to build your small business CSR, Wendie Veloz Enterprises offers consulting services to business owners who want to make a consistent impact in the community.


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