It is that time of the year again!
Christmas just ended and New Year’s around the corner.
Celebrations and resolutions are all around us, good spirits and deeds from friends and colleagues trying to squeeze in as much as possible to make the end of the year “that much” better and meaningful.
The same happens to companies and organisations. They look for good causes to be part of and “hunt” for the best opportunity to support and make a change.
After all, if you want to be liked and accepted in the society and the environment where you operate you must have CSR, and that needs to be present so your public profile scores high.
You are probably saying, what’s up with this guy? What’s up with the “attitude” and point of view regarding CSR? Since when having CSR and contributing to good causes is such an issue?
Well, i may have a little attitude against it, and NO, I don’t think that contributing to good causes is bad; on the contrary it must be supported and promoted.
And talking about good causes i was involved in a couple of those these past days through 2 different initiatives.
- As part of our organisation commitment to give back and contribute, we decided to get our Christmas and New year’s greeting cards
that we send to our partners, from “Down Syndrome Albania” a Civil Society Organisation that has in focus the needs of kids with down syndrome, and;
- In the personal level, we got together with other colleagues and their kids and joined a “marathon of broadcasting” from Club FM, a national radio station in Albania that collects clothes; books and gifts for children from less privileged families. Contributing as much as we could and making our own kids part of this process is also important; not only for what you give, but more importantly for what you teach to your kids and the culture of caring and sharing with others, especially when they come from different realities than yours.
The problem i have in reality is that such initiatives are great, but they are not the “right” ones for helping people and getting them out of the problematic situations they might be into. As the old saying goes:
“GIVE a man a fish, and he is set for one day; TEACH him HOW to fish, and he is set for life”
The change coming from NGO’s like Down Syndrome Albania, radio station initiatives like Club FM and development programs like Risi Albania is welcomed, but is not sustainable.
“The real change should come from the private sector, for the private sector can serve as the leading actor in this process”.
I say this based on the evidence that i see generally in Albania. Most of the big companies do the same as we did with their CSR funds.
Most of the times they support such good causes, they sponsor various activities such as street concerts for youth or the occasional funds for a start-up idea. But unfortunately none of these falls under “sustainability”.
They all fall under “good publicity” that unfortunately last very little and get lost into the vast amount of information that we are served each moment from all sorts of media sources.
So what do we need?
In my opinion, we need more of the “right” kind of CSR.
- More CSR initiatives involving young women and men being introduced to the labor market;
- More initiatives that give unemployed people the chance to re-enter the workforce;
- More initiatives that offer sustainable support to the creation of new start-ups;
- More initiatives that connect local businesses with local youth;
- More initiatives that help grow the local economy;
- More initiatives that keep our youth in the country, or even when they study abroad, create an inviting environment for them to come back and contribute for the better;
- And these initiatives NEED to come from the BIG companies, for they have the financial means to support such changes.
- The rest of us can offer our experience, expertise, time, connections, ideas, etc…
Am i being to harsh on the subject? I don’t know; all i know is that i am being real. And, if there is a need to have a closure to all the above, that can probably serve as an invitation for the private sector to change their approach; it would be summarized in the following quote:
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About the Author
Besnik Ligaci is a tech enthusiast and aspiring entrepreneur, firm believer of empowering women and men through equal opportunities and presence in entrepreneurship and all walks of life. Cofounder of PDPOrganisation; Founder of InventoRoom® Connect with Besnik also on other social media channels: LinkedIn Twitter Instagram Facebook Quora Medium