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The corporate world has been thinking and acting on social causes. The organizations create “community service board” structure to evaluate community service projects. They design schemes where employees can participate and help.
Here is a quick round up, along with some experiences:
1. Native village adoption
Employees come up with proposal – Problem, solution, execution plan etc. The community service board would review these proposals. Once accepted, employee and the organization execute the project on share the cost basis.
I have seen some people helping their natives with this. For the organization, it is about better loyalty and branding, apart from being part of the cause.
Now couple of questions –
a. Without support in local administration, it may be hard to execute projects of impact. This local administration may come with its baggage. For example, donating water tank to a village. The project undertaken may be “re-done on paper” with govt money.
Can you live with that risk?
b. The project may be used as achievement of a political party.
Can you accept this possibility and move ahead?
2. Supporting education – scholarships
This is among the favorite projects for organizations. We always enjoyed bringing school kids to campus, giving them assignments, evaluating their papers and giving away the scholarships. This was done with several schools and for several years.
“Thank you Sir”
That was nice to hear from the kids. Their joy, the enthusiasm of their teachers in parading the kids in office campus. That was something to watch…
But then there is a catch – Organization may stop the project after couple of years due to whatever reasons. The school authorities have hard time explaining next batches on why they do not get scholarships. When the schools approach us, we may be globe trotting. And when we communicate that the project is no more active, the school authorities are left high and dry.
That will not be nice.
3. Healthcare support & medical camps
4. Sabbatical for social work
After several years, mid-career crisis comes. Both organization and the individual have the need to take short break from each other. Some of the people who are part of the system for too long, get tired. They want different exposure. How about sabbatical leave for good causes?
This sabbatical scheme can be mutually beneficial. The people can take a break, work for reduced salary in NGO setup. May be they pick up new skills. At the same time, satisfy alter ego. After that they can come back re-energized. Organization saves some cost and in return gets back the veteran with good mix of new energy.
This is win-win.. Isn’t it?
I know an organization which launched the project. I do not know the outcome though.
5. Funding NGOs in various spheres
There are organizations which do not want to take the headache of managing social work within its premises. Administering it is stressful. It is hard to scrutinize the spending and audit the end-benefit.
They simply tie up with NGOs and fund. May be this is expensive, but easy.
Some organizations share contributions to wikipedia kind of initiatives. Some of these, fund open source projects.
Easy & effective. Think about it.
We have seen quite a bit of tokenism and awareness campaigns. These range from cleaning roads, hugging trees, marathons, walkathons and everything else.
I do not have any measure/sense of their effectiveness to comment further. But I am sure this is lot of fun.
If you get opportunity, go for it !
And then you have crony capitalism.
One of my friends who genuinely wanted to help through an established company. It was the position of corporate social responsibility officer who would head this and do some branding for the organization. During interview, she realized that they just did not have any serious plans. They just wanted someone to manage their PR and brand. After realizing it, she did not pursue further.
After everything, I have realized that, in social work, easiest things are to do one-time donations/physical volunteering.
Making a big difference needs long term commitment. Unfortunately, it is not very romantic.
Hope this helps to make choices if you get the social itch.