Corporate social responsibility (CSR) research has mainly focused on understanding the antecedents and outcomes of CSR adoption. Yet, little is known about the organisational process of ‘CSR engagement’ and how this would affect organisational identity. We mobilise Basu and Palazzo’s cognitive and linguistic notions of sense-making and Brickson’s organisational identity orientation to frame how rural community banks (RCBs) in Ghana engage with CSR. Drawing from semi-structured interviews with RCB directors, managers and other stakeholders, we conceive of the CSR engagement process as one that allows for the communication and orientation of organisational identity through an ‘informal co-creation’ involving organisational actors and stakeholders. Our findings also emphasise the ‘cultural/political’ modes of justification put forward by RCBs in their CSR engagement. Lastly, we tentatively propose the notion of an ‘opaque context’ to highlight settings that are less concerned about public visibility (i.e. transparency and disclosure), and where the focus is instead on the direct interactions between organisations and stakeholders in a given social context.