The feel good factor
CSR is a much bandied word and everyone has its own intepretation. For me (and therefore for my company) it is about giving back to the community. In whatever means I can. As an individual, I volunteer when and where I can, support local initiatives as much as a I can, especially when it comes to things I am passionate about. I try and give a helping hand or tips to my friends and family to help them get a kickstart. Some accept, some ignore. But it will not stop me (or any company I am associated with).
This post is about some pro-bono work I am doing - one with a friend who needs to rebuild her business after taking a year to be with her ailing father and the other for a local non-profit that lends a hand to start-ups (okay some vested interest here). It is rewarding (not in monetary terms) but in terms of job satisfaction. So here is what I have seen work and what I get out of each. I have a few others that I give a helping hand as and when I can.
Commitment: It is imperative that you clearly earmark time for these projects (amidst your other jobs). You are making a commitment to someone or organisation and they are relying on you. They cannot be demanding because you are volunteering but by the same token, you need to clearly outline what kind of time and resources you can give the projects. Don't begrudge the time. If you can't do it, don't take on the project. I am working with both my friend and the organisation to specific timelines on projects with clearly defined deliverables. And its working so far.
Freedom: The satisfaction comes from the fact that because there is a feeling of partnership. I am happy to say that I enjoy this with most of our clients but there is a freedom of creativity, of creating your own ideas to help these two guys build their messages and share them. There are no set rules on how and where you can do the job - as long as it gets done.
Resources: You will be surprised at the resources you can draw on from the community. Free. If they know and understand your intentions, the community at large - both personal and commercial - have a generous heart.
So what have you done recently to give something back to the community? How has it worked? Would you like to share your lessons with us.