Corporate social responsibility has not always been a priority for many companies. Organizations might budget funding for charity, make some end-of-year donations, or schedule volunteer time for their employees.

Today, thanks to round the clock digital connection between customer and company, empowered consumers are requiring more from the corporate world. Companies can respond in a variety of ways as they operate in this new landscape where they are expected to be more transparent, communicative, and hands-on in trying to improve the community in which they do business.

The following are five ideas to consider developing a corporate social responsibility program:

Crowd Source Ideas

A top-down, command-and-control type of company hierarchy is a bad match for inspiring a truly vibrant corporate social responsibility program. Engage employees in the idea generation process. Ask them what they want the company to take on to give back to the community. Then, use those ideas to create a corporate social responsibility culture that is more inclusive and participatory.

Enlist Customers

Customers expect companies to carry their weight when it comes to social responsibility. When a company aligns its mission with corporate social responsibility, customers and business partners are much more likely to jump on board.

Make sure your company puts its money where its mouth is. Then don’t be afraid to ask others to join your cause. Use social media, e-newsletters, and blog posts to generate interest and gather support.

Partner with Other Organizations

Businesses leery of building (and staffing) an entire corporate social responsibility program can seek partnerships with organizations aligned with their company’s mission. The partnership may generate more on-the-ground results and goodwill than a company’s corporate social responsibility program built from scratch.

Combine Philanthropy and Corporate Training

Make philanthropy an integral part of how the company operates, learns, and grows. Building empathy, collaborating on charitable projects, and connecting to those in need can offer employees valuable business lessons and help create a strong corporate culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to give and grow at the same time.

Create Something That Lasts

Some corporate social programs have encountered skepticism and the perception that the efforts are one-offs. Customers can tell when a company is simply cutting a check and not fully invested in a program. Impress your customers by creating a self-sustaining social responsibility program that is designed to make significant social change over an extended period of time.