Corporate social responsibility is typically associated with large companies, not small businesses. But as companies of all sizes are quickly learning, social responsibility is a contemporary business imperative. In particular, education-driven initiatives are popular with small and mid-sized business owners. Two out of three mid-sized business owners say they are seeking to improve community engagement through education initiatives aimed at younger community members, according to Business News Daily. Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, CSR often becomes an after-thought for small business owners who are too busy growing their business to focus on secondary initiatives like CSR. It doesn’t have to be.

CSR goes hand-in-hand with a smart brand strategy. Consumers vote with their wallets, supporting companies that demonstrate concern for employee welfare, community development, environmental sustainability, and human rights.

“We live in a customer-centric and highly connected world where consumers not only want to feel good about their purchase but also want to make use of social media to share the story behind the purchase. Consumer sentiment can make or break a business. Having a positive social purpose and a core message that resonates with your audience can be the key business differentiator.” says Creative Brand Strategist Andrew Miller, who works closely with small businesses to help them structure effective CSR programs.

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Originally published on HuffingtonPost.com