When you get clear on your mission and your brand’s culture, The Agency’s Rainy Hake Austin writes, you can create positive and sustainable initiatives as you forge community partnerships.

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In every industry and organization, the essence of success extends beyond your bottom dollar. Your customers care: What are you doing for the world? How are you making an impact for the greater good?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), or corporate citizenship, means a company is conscious of the impact it’s having economically, environmentally and socially and that the company holds itself accountable to its stakeholders and the public.

As president of The Agency, I have experience in the art of weaving compelling CSR initiatives into the very fabric of one’s real estate business, transforming it into a force that not only builds homes but also uplifts communities and sets the stage for a brighter, more socially responsible future.

Here are six tips that will help you make an impact across the board. 

1. Identify your core values

Know thyself. Before diving into CSR initiatives, it’s crucial to identify and articulate your company’s core values. Understanding what matters most to your business will help you align your CSR efforts with your overall mission and goals. If you work in the real estate sector, this might include commitments to sustainability, community development, or affordable housing.

2. Engage stakeholders

To ensure the success and authenticity of your CSR initiatives, engage with key stakeholders such as employees, clients, and local communities. Seek their input on the causes that resonate with them, and involve them in the decision-making process. This inclusive approach will not only strengthen your initiatives but also foster a sense of shared responsibility among your stakeholders.

3. Focus on local impact

Real estate is inherently local, and your CSR initiatives should reflect that. Identify and support local community projects, charities, or organizations that align with your values and have a direct impact on the areas where you operate. This not only demonstrates your commitment to the community but also strengthens your local brand presence.

4. Walk your talk

Whatever cause you’re directing your efforts to, make sure you fully embrace them in your culture. If you’re raising funds for sustainability, make sure you are doing what you can to not only influence outside your organization but also make changes within it. Implement environmentally friendly practices in your company projects, promote energy efficiency in your offices, and explore green building certifications. 

5. Establish meaningful partnerships

Collaborate with philanthropic partners to amplify the impact of your CSR initiatives. We work closely with Giveback Homes to build affordable housing for families within our communities. While each local office also has its own specific efforts to various causes, this global initiative unites us all in a shared mission.

6. Measure and communicate impact

Numbers are a great way to share the impact your organization is making. Regularly assess your CSR initiatives using measurable metrics. Whether it’s the number of families housed, carbon footprint reduction, or community development milestones, transparently communicate these achievements to your stakeholders. Demonstrating tangible results will build trust and strengthen your brand and culture.

Through every sustainable initiative and through every partnership forged, your organization is creating a better world for others and also sculpting your brand’s own culture of compassion and commitment. Get clear on your mission, take action, inspire others and make change for good. 

Rainy Hake Austin is president of The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with her on Instagram.

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