If you are a CSR / Sustainability professional you will most likely face the challenge of making most of the budget you have available for the year. Especially in bad economic times, budgets are likely to be cut and keeping your budget for your CSR / Sustainability projects and practices is not always as straight forward as it might seem.
Here are some tips I would like to give you from when I was in charge of the CSR / Sustainability budget working as the CSR Manager for a multinational.
- Continuously make your case for keeping/increasing your budgets. Everyone within an organization is fighting to maintain or increase their own budgets. You should do the same.
- If you are publishing a CSR / Sustainability Report, allocate at least 25% for it. My rule was always to use that 25% of the budget no matter how high it was in total. Some practitioners have different views and in the end is your own personal and organizational choice of course.
- Spend more time than money on outreach and stakeholder engagement. Do not fall into this trap where people (or consultants) tell you that you need to spend large amounts on communication in order to get your message across. Make use of cost effective tools such as social media and some classic communication channels including press releases and hand-outs of interesting information material. But I would advise against big marketing campaigns and event launches as they usually do not have a long term marketing effect and cripple your budget for the rest of the year.
- Do not attend all the conferences and workshops you can get to. Select a maximum of 5 events and conferences each year for your and/or your colleagues to attend. Traveling, conference fees, etc can easily eat up your budget for other crucial tasks or CSR / Sustainability projects.
- Set aside some small part of your budget to support CSR / Sustainability related initiatives or projects of colleagues or groups of colleagues. This might sound obvious but you will be surprised how many colleagues will want to promote CSR / Sustainability even more within their department when they know that you found some budget for it.
These are some insights I wanted to share with everyone today. I hope you will find them useful. Feedback is highly appreciated. As always.
Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rmgimages/4882450962/