And the letters are stacking up

Are you getting more and more letters and emails asking your company to support worthy causes? Do invitations to charity events land in your inbox almost every day? Do some of these requests come from important clients and customers? Do some even come from employees in your own company? How do you know which causes are worth supporting?

You are not alone! The number of nonprofit organizations is increasing steadily, at the rate of nearly 30,000 new organizations each year. The total number of nonprofit organizations in America now tops over 1.5 million! No wonder your inbox is filling up. Your inbox isn’t likely to be empty anytime soon. The socially responsible lifestyle is here to stay. At home, and in the workplace.

Indeed, 83 percent of consumers are willing to change their consumption habits if it can help make tomorrow’s world a better place to live. But that doesn’t mean you can’t regain control. Optimizing your corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget is a great place to start. By streamlining your company’s employee engagement and CSR activities, you’ll be better able to meet your budget goals and improve employee and brand engagement at the same time.

If you're an entrepreneur, the challenge is even more interesting. Your company is new. Your company is small. But it's growing. And you're committed to CSR because sustainability and giving back are baked into the company's values. Which, of course, are your values. Entrepreneurs are some of the most socially responsible and generous folks around. And just because your company's budget for giving back is small doesn't mean you can't make a big impact. Consider the strategy at Optima Worldwide. Optima offers nonprofit organizations the opportunity to apply for free website construction. That's a smart way to do good, especially because pro bono work creates immediate, positive impact for a charitable organization. "Usually the limiting factor for charity websites is budget," writes Kyle Claypool, Optima's founder. Optima gives back by "selecting a charity every few months to build a brand new website." And not just any website, but a website that's search engine optimized, integrated with social media and capable of being easily managed and maintained in house by the nonprofit organization's own staff. Very smart. And very generous.

Sure, the requests will keep coming. But writing checks isn't the only way to do good. Giving your company's time and talent counts, too. In fact, it often counts even more than the dollars.