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PR and its role in communicating corporate social responsibilities
Author
Raja Sarkar
Ph.D. Scholar/ UGC Junior Research Fellow
Department of Business Administration, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar
E-mail id- rajasarkar71@gmail.com
Mobile- 8777723100
Abstract
Corporate social responsibility and public relations are nowadays vital cogs in the wheels of communicational
and image activity of companies within the context of communities where they operate. Both concepts refer,
each in its own representative way, to the process through which organizations choose to communicate with the
various stakeholders involved in their activity. While public relations propose to build and maintain a long term
positive image, reputation and popularity of the company, so that all categories of public have a most
transparent and clear vision of the company and its activity, corporate social responsibility intends to meet
various social problems facing the communities where the company operates in order to help improve their
quality of life. Producing high-quality goods or services is no longer enough to fully succeed in today’s
corporate environment. Corporations are increasingly expected to act ethically in a manner that benefits all
stakeholders in their surrounding communities. As an intermediary between corporations and stakeholders,
public relation is often involved in realizing these societal pressures. Despite these rising expectations and the
abundance of academic research on the topic, confusion and uncertainty continue to surround the popular
concept of corporate social responsibility and its relationship to public relations. The present paper will analyze
how far corporate social responsibility can be an effective medium to build public relations.
Keywords:
Public relations, Social responsibility, Community, Ethics, Sustainability
Introduction:
Public relations offer an external perspective to assist in developing strategy and informing programs, playing
the role of an intermediary between an organization and its constituents. The communications department also
plays a coordination role, internally and externally. PR professionals organize cross-functional groups within
the company and arrange participation of external partners, including nonprofit organizations and government
actors, in program implementation. Public relations professionals use public affairs, nonprofit, and government
relations skills to develop the appropriate partners and teams to most effectively accomplish CSR initiatives.
Leveraging their intermediary position, PR professionals represent the interests of the organization and the
communities to develop, implement, and communicate programs. The aggregator role may facilitate a CSR
culture and tradition in an organization by compiling and publicizing the independent volunteer work done by
employees. A significant function of public relations is to “help tell the stories” of aggregated CSR efforts
through sustainability reports, media pitching and publicity efforts, and program visibility internally and
externally. Perhaps the most mentioned role of PR was the communication function. Not all programs or
activities are communicated; instead organizations often organically serve the community and only publicize
broad data or significant achievements. Several practitioners only promote extreme accomplishments through
traditional outlets so as not to boast or brag about programs. Each organization’s communication preferences
varied, guided by their organizational values and cultures.
Objectives:
i) To understand what public relations and corporate social responsibilities are
ii) To understand how public relations play a role in communicating CSR activities
Public relations:
Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or
an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public. Public
relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public
interest and news items that do not require direct payment. Public relations is the idea of creating coverage for
clients for free, rather than marketing or advertising. An example of good public relations would be generating
an article featuring a client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article. The aim of
public relations is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other
stakeholders and ultimately persuade them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization,
its leadership, products, or political decisions.
PR is ingrained in the corporate culture of most large enterprises. Executives often give speeches and make
other public appearances to foster their organization’s relationship with its community. Corporate
communications, such as mission statements, press releases, social media posts and website content,
are typically written with attention to PR considerations.
Role of Public relations in business:
Public relations for business is powerful because it helps companies get more exposure and it places them in
front of their target audiences. The following are the benefits of public relations in business-
i) Raising awareness- People trust established brands. One way to make business known and compete with
established brands is to send out the messages by a third party such as a popular magazine in the industry, a
high-traffic website, a respected influencer or social media superstar.
ii) Building credibility- Unlike advertising, a magazine mention of the product or a product review is not a
direct sell so it comes out as a recommendation from a person that could be an authority in the niche like a
celebrity beauty blogger with thousands of followers.
iii) Tailoring information- Every business has its unique brand message. People adore brands that have a
compelling or relatable story so businesses have to make sure that they wholeheartedly diffuse all of them
because it is what makes people remember them.
iv) Helping manage reputation- Having trusted connections in the media is not always about free
marketing but also reputation management. In the journey, businesses will encounter dreadful situations like
advertising gone wrong or unsatisfied customers lashing out on social media about how bad the product is.
In times like these, media connections can help repair the damage through a press release or similar means.
v) Helping shape a positive image- Customers love friendly and community-engaged brands. By
maintaining a constant presence in the industry or in front customers’ eyes, businesses can create a strong
connection with the audiences.
vi) Saving cost- Paying for a magazine spread is not a bad idea if the business has the budget for it.
However, if it’s on a tight budget, having friends in the right places can get a full feature or an article
mention on the same publication without paying loads of cash.
vii) Promoting brand values- PR can be used to send out positive messages to the target audience that are
in line with the brand image by using the language and ideas that the target customers respond to more
positively.
viii) Strengthening community relations- When businesses make new connections, they are building ties
with the local market by attending functions, joining groups, donating time to charity or causes related to the
business. Being an active member of a community establishes credibility with peers, consumers, and
editorial contacts.
ix) Boosting niche authority- Getting featured on media outlets may come out as simple to many but for a
business owner, the effect could be massively beneficial especially if you are trying to own a niche.
x) Knowing the competition well- A particular company is not the only one which spends time in making
new connections. It’s one way of knowing what the competitors are up to, which gives it clues how to keep
up with them.
Corporate social responsibility:
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model.
CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active
compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and national or international norms. With some models,
a firm's implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and statutory requirements, which engages in "actions
that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law". The
aim is to increase long-term profits and shareholder trust through positive public relations and high ethical
standards to reduce business and legal risk by taking responsibility for corporate actions. CSR strategies
encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers,
employees, investors, communities, and others.
Companies can invest in local communities in order to offset the negative impact their operations might have. A
natural resources firm that begins to operate in a poor community might build a school, offer medical services
or improve irrigation and sanitation equipment. Similarly, a company might invest in research and development
in sustainable technologies, even though the project might not immediately lead to increased profitability.
Corporate social responsibility regulation in India:
According to Section 135 of the Indian Companies Act, Corporate Social Responsibility is required for all
companies viz. private limited company, limited company. The following companies are necessary to constitute
a CSR committee:
 Companies with a net worth of Rs. 500 crores or greater, or
 Companies with a turnover of Rs. 1000 crores or greater, or
 Companies with a net profit of Rs. 5 crores or greater.
If any of the above financial strength criteria are met, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provisions and
related rules will be applicable to the company. These companies are required to form a CSR committee
consisting of its directors. This committee oversees the entire CSR activities of the Company.
All qualifying company required to have a CSR committee are required to spend at least 2% of its average net
profit for the directly preceding 3 financial years on CSR activities. Additionally, the qualifying company shall
be necessitated to comprise a committee (CSR Committee) of the Board of Directors (Board) comprising of 3 or
more directors. The CSR Committee will prepare and recommend to the Board, a policy which will specify the
activities to be undertaken (CSR Policy); advocate the amount of expenditure to be incurred on the activities
referred and monitor the CSR Policy related to the company. The Board will take into account the
recommendations made by the CSR Committee and support the CSR Policy of the company.
Activities permitted under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
The following activities can be performed by a company to accomplish its CSR obligations:
 Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty
 Promotion of education
 Promoting gender equality and empowering women
 Reducing child mortality
 Improving maternal health
 Combating human immunodeficiency virus, acquired, immune deficiency syndrome, malaria and other
diseases
 Ensuring environmental sustainability,
 Employment enhancing vocational skills, social business projects
 Contribution to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or any other fund set up by the Central
Government or the State Governments for socio-economic development, and
 Relief and funds for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes,
minorities and women and such other matters as may be prescribed.
Top 10 companies in India in terms of CSR spending:
Name CSR spent (in crores)
RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LIMITED 652.0
NTPC LIMITED 491.8
OIL AND NATURAL GAS CORPORATION
LIMITED 421.0
TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES LIMITED 294.2
SOUTH EASTERN COALFIELDS LIMITED 270.9
Source: Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India
Benefits of corporate social investment for businesses and employees:
i) Improved public image- Companies that demonstrate their commitment to various causes are perceived as
more philanthropic than companies whose corporate social responsibility endeavors are nonexistent. A
corporation’s public image is at the mercy of its social responsibility programs and how aware consumers are of
these programs. Corporations can improve their public image by supporting nonprofits through monetary
donations, volunteerism, in-kind donations of products and services, and strong partnerships. By publicizing
their efforts and letting the general public know about their philanthropy, companies increase their chances of
becoming favorable in the eyes of consumers.
ii) Increased media coverage- How much good a company can do in its local communities, or even beyond
that, is corporate social responsibility. And the better the benefits, the better the media coverage. On the other
hand, if a corporation participates in production or activities that bring upon negative community impacts, the
media will also pick this up. Unfortunately, bad news spreads quicker than good news. Media visibility is only
so useful in that it sheds a positive light on your organization.
iii) Boosts employee engagement- Employees like working for a company that has a good public image and is
constantly in the media for positive reasons. Happy employees almost always equal better output. When
companies show that they are dedicated to improve their communities through corporate giving programs, they
are more likely to attract and retain valuable, hardworking, and engaged employees. If a corporation is
philanthropically minded, job-hunting individuals are more likely to apply and interview for available positions.
Once hired, employees who are engaged will stay with a company longer, be more productive on a daily basis,
and will be more creative than disengaged workers.
iv) Attracting and retaining investors- Investors who are pouring money into companies want to know that
their funds are being used properly. Not only does this mean that corporations must have sound business plans
and budgets, but it also means that they should have a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. When
companies donate money to nonprofit organizations and encourage their employees to volunteer their time, they
demonstrate to investors that they don’t just care about profits. Instead, they show that they have an interest in
the local and global community. Investors are more likely to be attracted to and continue to support companies
ITC LIMITED 247.5
CENTRAL COALFIELDS LIMITED 212.8
NMDC LIMITED 210.1
TATA STEEL LIMITED 204.5
INFOSYS LIMITED 202.3
that demonstrate a commitment not only to employees and customers, but also to causes and organizations that
impact the lives of others.
v) Positive workplace environment- When corporations exhibit philanthropic behavior, they are more likely to
provide employees with a positive workplace. Consequently, employees feel engaged and productive when they
walk into work each day. Instilling a strong culture of corporate social responsibility within every employee
from the top down will help to create a positive and productive environment where employees can thrive.
Corporations that care about the lives of people outside the walls of their businesses are more likely to create a
positive environment.
vi) Increased creativity- Employees who know that their employer is committed to bettering the local and
global communities feel a stronger connection to the company. Because of this close relationship that
employees share with their company, workers feel more inclined to be productive and creative. Employers have
identified creativity as one of the most important leadership qualities that an employee can possess. Creative
employees enjoy working for companies that they can believe in and stand behind. By incorporating
comprehensive philanthropic programs, companies can help employees become more productive and creative.
vii) Encourages professional and personal growth- When companies have a culture of corporate social
responsibility, they can easily promote volunteerism to their employees and encourage them to donate to
nonprofits. When employees contribute their time and money to worthy causes, they develop
professionally and personally. By helping those in need and volunteering as teams, employees learn to work
better together on important projects. Employees also experience a sense of pride when they know that they
work for a company that cares about the community and encourages them to be passionate about worthy causes.
viii) Promotes individual philanthropy- When employees notice that the company they work for is involved
in charitable endeavors, they play follow the leader and begin to engage in their own philanthropic activities. If
a company encourages group volunteerism and matches donations to nonprofits with a matching gift
program, an employee is more likely to take advantage of those programs and become more individually
philanthropically minded. Without the strong sense of CSR that a company should adopt, employees are less
likely to branch out themselves and serve the community with monetary donations and volunteer efforts.
Role of Public relations in communicating CSR:
Perhaps the most mentioned role of PR was the communication function. Nearly all practitioners mentioned a
high significance threshold that responsibility stories must meet before publication. Not all programs or
activities are communicated; instead organizations often organically serve the community and only publicize
broad data or significant achievements. Several practitioners only promote extreme accomplishments through
traditional outlets so as not to boast or brag about programs. However, social media offers an outlet to subtly
express brief and current successes. Each organization’s communication preferences varied, guided by their
organizational values and cultures.
The role of marketing and public relations in CSR initiatives is to make sure customers are aware of a brand’s
programs and efforts. This calls for well-planned campaigns that build relationships and demonstrate a
company’s commitment in an authentic manner.
Engaging established and respected CSR influencers, whether they are journalists, bloggers, or key
stakeholders, can be critical to communications success. Although owned and paid media shouldn’t be ignored,
earned media from key CSR influencers has the potential of spreading your message much further.
Like the firms’ preference for media outlets, content preferences also differ. Some corporations emphasize the
human-interest element of corporate social responsibility, highlighting employee volunteerism, feature stories
and testimonials. In contrast, other companies stress results and outcomes as a guard against self boasting.
Most companies combine the approaches into what is called “balanced reporting” in which the company uses
stories and press releases surrounding the results-focused report to expand on successes, innovations, positives
and negatives. The informations need to be supported with statistics.
Regardless of the broad communication strategy, professionals agreed that the emphasis should be on the
positive impact of the programs rather than on pure organizational publicity.
Externally, practitioners use all available communication tactics to reach an audience. Each company published
an annual or biennial responsibility report aggregating all efforts and results from across the spectrum of
programs. However, each company reports at varied levels of completeness, balancing reporting standards with
sensitive corporate information.
Perhaps the most significant outlet for communicating CSR initiatives is through online and social media
channels, contributing to many organizations’ environmental sustainability efforts by reducing paper waste.
Typically, the annual or biennial reports are published on the websites along with descriptions of each initiative,
goals for each program, and measurements of success. Digital tactics include online press releases, e-postcards
to announce new reports, Facebook events, and video services. The interactivity of social media affords the
opportunity to connect with community members, increase awareness, expand programs, and monitor the
impact of their programs through social media interactions.
Internally, many practitioners highlight employee’s work so that others get involved in programs. Professionals
use a variety of traditional and digital tactics, including internal websites and news channels, posters and
company magazines, town hall meetings, and word-of-mouth communication to spread the programs at the
grassroots level.
Conclusion:
CSR can improve the reputation of PR by expanding the perspective of PR professionals to think beyond
traditional public relations goals, objectives and tactics. By incorporating CSR into corporate communication,
the transparency expectations which exist in CSR communications will also extend to the public relations
department. CSR can have a positive impact on public relations through expanding PR’s perspective and
reinforcing dedication to transparency in all communications. Public relations departments should not take sole
responsibility for CSR programs. Rather, playing a vital supportive role, it can take advantage of PR
practitioners’ skills and expertise to bring in enhanced reputation in companies’ overall functioning.
References:
i) Frankental (2001), Corporate social responsibility – a PR invention? Corporate Communications: An
International Journal ,Volume 6 . Number 1, Page 18-23
ii) CATHERINE HOLLEY REEVES, USING PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL
RESPONSIBILITY: PR PROFESSIONALS’ COMPLEMENTARY ROLE IN SUCCESSFUL CSR
PROGRAMS
iii) David Crowther & Güler Aras, Corporate Social Responsibility, Güler Aras & Ventus Publishing ApS,
ISBN 978-87-7681-415-1
iv) Huertas and Capriotti, Using corporate social responsibility as a public relations tool in a local community
v) Kriyantono (2015), Public relations and corporate social responsibility in mandatory approach era in
Indonesia, 2nd Global Conference on Business and Social Science-2015, GCBSS-2015, 17-18 September 2015,
Bali, Indonesia, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 ( 2015 ) 320 – 327
vi) Reeves (2016), Defining Public Relations’ Role in Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, PRJOURNAL,
Vol. 10, No. 2
vii) Galandrová (2006), Public relations and Corporate social responsibility, Thesis
viii) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ix) www.mca.gov.in

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PR and its role in communicating corporate social responsibilities

  • 1.
  • 2. PR and its role in communicating corporate social responsibilities Author Raja Sarkar Ph.D. Scholar/ UGC Junior Research Fellow Department of Business Administration, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar E-mail id- rajasarkar71@gmail.com Mobile- 8777723100 Abstract Corporate social responsibility and public relations are nowadays vital cogs in the wheels of communicational and image activity of companies within the context of communities where they operate. Both concepts refer, each in its own representative way, to the process through which organizations choose to communicate with the various stakeholders involved in their activity. While public relations propose to build and maintain a long term positive image, reputation and popularity of the company, so that all categories of public have a most transparent and clear vision of the company and its activity, corporate social responsibility intends to meet various social problems facing the communities where the company operates in order to help improve their quality of life. Producing high-quality goods or services is no longer enough to fully succeed in today’s corporate environment. Corporations are increasingly expected to act ethically in a manner that benefits all stakeholders in their surrounding communities. As an intermediary between corporations and stakeholders, public relation is often involved in realizing these societal pressures. Despite these rising expectations and the abundance of academic research on the topic, confusion and uncertainty continue to surround the popular concept of corporate social responsibility and its relationship to public relations. The present paper will analyze how far corporate social responsibility can be an effective medium to build public relations. Keywords: Public relations, Social responsibility, Community, Ethics, Sustainability
  • 3. Introduction: Public relations offer an external perspective to assist in developing strategy and informing programs, playing the role of an intermediary between an organization and its constituents. The communications department also plays a coordination role, internally and externally. PR professionals organize cross-functional groups within the company and arrange participation of external partners, including nonprofit organizations and government actors, in program implementation. Public relations professionals use public affairs, nonprofit, and government relations skills to develop the appropriate partners and teams to most effectively accomplish CSR initiatives. Leveraging their intermediary position, PR professionals represent the interests of the organization and the communities to develop, implement, and communicate programs. The aggregator role may facilitate a CSR culture and tradition in an organization by compiling and publicizing the independent volunteer work done by employees. A significant function of public relations is to “help tell the stories” of aggregated CSR efforts through sustainability reports, media pitching and publicity efforts, and program visibility internally and externally. Perhaps the most mentioned role of PR was the communication function. Not all programs or activities are communicated; instead organizations often organically serve the community and only publicize broad data or significant achievements. Several practitioners only promote extreme accomplishments through traditional outlets so as not to boast or brag about programs. Each organization’s communication preferences varied, guided by their organizational values and cultures. Objectives: i) To understand what public relations and corporate social responsibilities are ii) To understand how public relations play a role in communicating CSR activities Public relations: Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public. Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. Public relations is the idea of creating coverage for clients for free, rather than marketing or advertising. An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article. The aim of public relations is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders and ultimately persuade them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization, its leadership, products, or political decisions. PR is ingrained in the corporate culture of most large enterprises. Executives often give speeches and make other public appearances to foster their organization’s relationship with its community. Corporate
  • 4. communications, such as mission statements, press releases, social media posts and website content, are typically written with attention to PR considerations. Role of Public relations in business: Public relations for business is powerful because it helps companies get more exposure and it places them in front of their target audiences. The following are the benefits of public relations in business- i) Raising awareness- People trust established brands. One way to make business known and compete with established brands is to send out the messages by a third party such as a popular magazine in the industry, a high-traffic website, a respected influencer or social media superstar. ii) Building credibility- Unlike advertising, a magazine mention of the product or a product review is not a direct sell so it comes out as a recommendation from a person that could be an authority in the niche like a celebrity beauty blogger with thousands of followers. iii) Tailoring information- Every business has its unique brand message. People adore brands that have a compelling or relatable story so businesses have to make sure that they wholeheartedly diffuse all of them because it is what makes people remember them. iv) Helping manage reputation- Having trusted connections in the media is not always about free marketing but also reputation management. In the journey, businesses will encounter dreadful situations like advertising gone wrong or unsatisfied customers lashing out on social media about how bad the product is. In times like these, media connections can help repair the damage through a press release or similar means. v) Helping shape a positive image- Customers love friendly and community-engaged brands. By maintaining a constant presence in the industry or in front customers’ eyes, businesses can create a strong connection with the audiences. vi) Saving cost- Paying for a magazine spread is not a bad idea if the business has the budget for it. However, if it’s on a tight budget, having friends in the right places can get a full feature or an article mention on the same publication without paying loads of cash. vii) Promoting brand values- PR can be used to send out positive messages to the target audience that are in line with the brand image by using the language and ideas that the target customers respond to more positively. viii) Strengthening community relations- When businesses make new connections, they are building ties with the local market by attending functions, joining groups, donating time to charity or causes related to the
  • 5. business. Being an active member of a community establishes credibility with peers, consumers, and editorial contacts. ix) Boosting niche authority- Getting featured on media outlets may come out as simple to many but for a business owner, the effect could be massively beneficial especially if you are trying to own a niche. x) Knowing the competition well- A particular company is not the only one which spends time in making new connections. It’s one way of knowing what the competitors are up to, which gives it clues how to keep up with them. Corporate social responsibility: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and national or international norms. With some models, a firm's implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and statutory requirements, which engages in "actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law". The aim is to increase long-term profits and shareholder trust through positive public relations and high ethical standards to reduce business and legal risk by taking responsibility for corporate actions. CSR strategies encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others. Companies can invest in local communities in order to offset the negative impact their operations might have. A natural resources firm that begins to operate in a poor community might build a school, offer medical services or improve irrigation and sanitation equipment. Similarly, a company might invest in research and development in sustainable technologies, even though the project might not immediately lead to increased profitability. Corporate social responsibility regulation in India: According to Section 135 of the Indian Companies Act, Corporate Social Responsibility is required for all companies viz. private limited company, limited company. The following companies are necessary to constitute a CSR committee:  Companies with a net worth of Rs. 500 crores or greater, or  Companies with a turnover of Rs. 1000 crores or greater, or  Companies with a net profit of Rs. 5 crores or greater. If any of the above financial strength criteria are met, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provisions and related rules will be applicable to the company. These companies are required to form a CSR committee consisting of its directors. This committee oversees the entire CSR activities of the Company.
  • 6. All qualifying company required to have a CSR committee are required to spend at least 2% of its average net profit for the directly preceding 3 financial years on CSR activities. Additionally, the qualifying company shall be necessitated to comprise a committee (CSR Committee) of the Board of Directors (Board) comprising of 3 or more directors. The CSR Committee will prepare and recommend to the Board, a policy which will specify the activities to be undertaken (CSR Policy); advocate the amount of expenditure to be incurred on the activities referred and monitor the CSR Policy related to the company. The Board will take into account the recommendations made by the CSR Committee and support the CSR Policy of the company. Activities permitted under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) The following activities can be performed by a company to accomplish its CSR obligations:  Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty  Promotion of education  Promoting gender equality and empowering women  Reducing child mortality  Improving maternal health  Combating human immunodeficiency virus, acquired, immune deficiency syndrome, malaria and other diseases  Ensuring environmental sustainability,  Employment enhancing vocational skills, social business projects  Contribution to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or any other fund set up by the Central Government or the State Governments for socio-economic development, and  Relief and funds for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women and such other matters as may be prescribed. Top 10 companies in India in terms of CSR spending: Name CSR spent (in crores) RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LIMITED 652.0 NTPC LIMITED 491.8 OIL AND NATURAL GAS CORPORATION LIMITED 421.0 TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES LIMITED 294.2 SOUTH EASTERN COALFIELDS LIMITED 270.9
  • 7. Source: Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India Benefits of corporate social investment for businesses and employees: i) Improved public image- Companies that demonstrate their commitment to various causes are perceived as more philanthropic than companies whose corporate social responsibility endeavors are nonexistent. A corporation’s public image is at the mercy of its social responsibility programs and how aware consumers are of these programs. Corporations can improve their public image by supporting nonprofits through monetary donations, volunteerism, in-kind donations of products and services, and strong partnerships. By publicizing their efforts and letting the general public know about their philanthropy, companies increase their chances of becoming favorable in the eyes of consumers. ii) Increased media coverage- How much good a company can do in its local communities, or even beyond that, is corporate social responsibility. And the better the benefits, the better the media coverage. On the other hand, if a corporation participates in production or activities that bring upon negative community impacts, the media will also pick this up. Unfortunately, bad news spreads quicker than good news. Media visibility is only so useful in that it sheds a positive light on your organization. iii) Boosts employee engagement- Employees like working for a company that has a good public image and is constantly in the media for positive reasons. Happy employees almost always equal better output. When companies show that they are dedicated to improve their communities through corporate giving programs, they are more likely to attract and retain valuable, hardworking, and engaged employees. If a corporation is philanthropically minded, job-hunting individuals are more likely to apply and interview for available positions. Once hired, employees who are engaged will stay with a company longer, be more productive on a daily basis, and will be more creative than disengaged workers. iv) Attracting and retaining investors- Investors who are pouring money into companies want to know that their funds are being used properly. Not only does this mean that corporations must have sound business plans and budgets, but it also means that they should have a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. When companies donate money to nonprofit organizations and encourage their employees to volunteer their time, they demonstrate to investors that they don’t just care about profits. Instead, they show that they have an interest in the local and global community. Investors are more likely to be attracted to and continue to support companies ITC LIMITED 247.5 CENTRAL COALFIELDS LIMITED 212.8 NMDC LIMITED 210.1 TATA STEEL LIMITED 204.5 INFOSYS LIMITED 202.3
  • 8. that demonstrate a commitment not only to employees and customers, but also to causes and organizations that impact the lives of others. v) Positive workplace environment- When corporations exhibit philanthropic behavior, they are more likely to provide employees with a positive workplace. Consequently, employees feel engaged and productive when they walk into work each day. Instilling a strong culture of corporate social responsibility within every employee from the top down will help to create a positive and productive environment where employees can thrive. Corporations that care about the lives of people outside the walls of their businesses are more likely to create a positive environment. vi) Increased creativity- Employees who know that their employer is committed to bettering the local and global communities feel a stronger connection to the company. Because of this close relationship that employees share with their company, workers feel more inclined to be productive and creative. Employers have identified creativity as one of the most important leadership qualities that an employee can possess. Creative employees enjoy working for companies that they can believe in and stand behind. By incorporating comprehensive philanthropic programs, companies can help employees become more productive and creative. vii) Encourages professional and personal growth- When companies have a culture of corporate social responsibility, they can easily promote volunteerism to their employees and encourage them to donate to nonprofits. When employees contribute their time and money to worthy causes, they develop professionally and personally. By helping those in need and volunteering as teams, employees learn to work better together on important projects. Employees also experience a sense of pride when they know that they work for a company that cares about the community and encourages them to be passionate about worthy causes. viii) Promotes individual philanthropy- When employees notice that the company they work for is involved in charitable endeavors, they play follow the leader and begin to engage in their own philanthropic activities. If a company encourages group volunteerism and matches donations to nonprofits with a matching gift program, an employee is more likely to take advantage of those programs and become more individually philanthropically minded. Without the strong sense of CSR that a company should adopt, employees are less likely to branch out themselves and serve the community with monetary donations and volunteer efforts. Role of Public relations in communicating CSR: Perhaps the most mentioned role of PR was the communication function. Nearly all practitioners mentioned a high significance threshold that responsibility stories must meet before publication. Not all programs or activities are communicated; instead organizations often organically serve the community and only publicize broad data or significant achievements. Several practitioners only promote extreme accomplishments through traditional outlets so as not to boast or brag about programs. However, social media offers an outlet to subtly
  • 9. express brief and current successes. Each organization’s communication preferences varied, guided by their organizational values and cultures. The role of marketing and public relations in CSR initiatives is to make sure customers are aware of a brand’s programs and efforts. This calls for well-planned campaigns that build relationships and demonstrate a company’s commitment in an authentic manner. Engaging established and respected CSR influencers, whether they are journalists, bloggers, or key stakeholders, can be critical to communications success. Although owned and paid media shouldn’t be ignored, earned media from key CSR influencers has the potential of spreading your message much further. Like the firms’ preference for media outlets, content preferences also differ. Some corporations emphasize the human-interest element of corporate social responsibility, highlighting employee volunteerism, feature stories and testimonials. In contrast, other companies stress results and outcomes as a guard against self boasting. Most companies combine the approaches into what is called “balanced reporting” in which the company uses stories and press releases surrounding the results-focused report to expand on successes, innovations, positives and negatives. The informations need to be supported with statistics. Regardless of the broad communication strategy, professionals agreed that the emphasis should be on the positive impact of the programs rather than on pure organizational publicity. Externally, practitioners use all available communication tactics to reach an audience. Each company published an annual or biennial responsibility report aggregating all efforts and results from across the spectrum of programs. However, each company reports at varied levels of completeness, balancing reporting standards with sensitive corporate information. Perhaps the most significant outlet for communicating CSR initiatives is through online and social media channels, contributing to many organizations’ environmental sustainability efforts by reducing paper waste. Typically, the annual or biennial reports are published on the websites along with descriptions of each initiative, goals for each program, and measurements of success. Digital tactics include online press releases, e-postcards to announce new reports, Facebook events, and video services. The interactivity of social media affords the opportunity to connect with community members, increase awareness, expand programs, and monitor the impact of their programs through social media interactions. Internally, many practitioners highlight employee’s work so that others get involved in programs. Professionals use a variety of traditional and digital tactics, including internal websites and news channels, posters and
  • 10. company magazines, town hall meetings, and word-of-mouth communication to spread the programs at the grassroots level. Conclusion: CSR can improve the reputation of PR by expanding the perspective of PR professionals to think beyond traditional public relations goals, objectives and tactics. By incorporating CSR into corporate communication, the transparency expectations which exist in CSR communications will also extend to the public relations department. CSR can have a positive impact on public relations through expanding PR’s perspective and reinforcing dedication to transparency in all communications. Public relations departments should not take sole responsibility for CSR programs. Rather, playing a vital supportive role, it can take advantage of PR practitioners’ skills and expertise to bring in enhanced reputation in companies’ overall functioning. References: i) Frankental (2001), Corporate social responsibility – a PR invention? Corporate Communications: An International Journal ,Volume 6 . Number 1, Page 18-23 ii) CATHERINE HOLLEY REEVES, USING PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: PR PROFESSIONALS’ COMPLEMENTARY ROLE IN SUCCESSFUL CSR PROGRAMS iii) David Crowther & Güler Aras, Corporate Social Responsibility, Güler Aras & Ventus Publishing ApS, ISBN 978-87-7681-415-1 iv) Huertas and Capriotti, Using corporate social responsibility as a public relations tool in a local community v) Kriyantono (2015), Public relations and corporate social responsibility in mandatory approach era in Indonesia, 2nd Global Conference on Business and Social Science-2015, GCBSS-2015, 17-18 September 2015, Bali, Indonesia, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 ( 2015 ) 320 – 327 vi) Reeves (2016), Defining Public Relations’ Role in Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, PRJOURNAL, Vol. 10, No. 2 vii) Galandrová (2006), Public relations and Corporate social responsibility, Thesis viii) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ix) www.mca.gov.in