Though I don’t claim to be someone that watches a ton of football, the events of the past few weekends have caught my eye; here’s my take:
We all have opinions and a myriad of places to express those opinions. The safety we feel as American people to freely express those opinions is, unarguably, one of the things that make our country great. When our opinions are expressed, at best they can lead to conversations and learning; at worst they lead to division and rifts between us. It might sound idealistic, but I think we are capable of the best case scenario. I think we can learn from each other and let our differing opinions start a conversation.
When Colin Kaepernick first took a knee last year, President Obama stated, “I want (the protesters) to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain he (Kaepernick) may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.” I think this gets at the heart of the issue. We have to take a step back from our own biases and narratives we live in and be willing to see the issue from another person’s side. This openness challenges us, grows us, and makes us better.
When I think of this debate and the narrative from both sides, I just want to have a conversation. I want to sit down and talk to my friends who see things differently than me, to hear how this situation touches their mind and heart. I think we can all take a step and listen to each other and have honest conversations. I don’t think this kind of situation gets solved from a Facebook rant, I think it starts with a cup of coffee, a trusted colleague, and an open mind.
I have been blessed to travel around the world on short term mission trips with various organizations. One specific trip to Malawi in 2015 truly changed my heart, perspective, and future plans. On this trip, I worked with a company that sells products made by women in a specific village partnership. My eyes were opened to how for-profit companies can be leveraged to create lasting impact. I dove head first into learning all I could about corporate social responsibility.
During this process, I reached out to people I respected and asked how I could learn more. Consistently a book called, When Helping Hurts was recommended. It became an incredibly valuable resource for me and has to continued to be to this day.
When Helping Hurts looks at the best approach for alleviating poverty. Unfortunately, so often the tactics used for helping the poor end up adding to the negative cycle that hurts the recipient and the giver. Written by Steve Corbet and Brian Fikkert, the book presents many examples of how even with the best intentions, it is easy to get a vastly different outcome than what the donor intended. Corbet and Fikkert provide a new way of looking at impoverished situations and offer a fresh perspective for how to go about delivering developmental aid.
This book has been crucial in how I examine our potential charitable partners here at Artistry. I highly recommend it. Feel free to pick up your copy here.
Incorporating a corporate social responsibility program helps your company meet multiple bottom lines. One of the best attributes of creating a program like this is sharing the nonprofit’s story with your customers. It is proven that consumers, especially millennials, are more likely to purchase from a company that has a socially responsible backbone. This being said, it is crucial to share your efforts.
There are many ways to invite your customers into your social responsibility story. Every couple months various retail outlets ask if you would like to round up your bill or add a few dollars to your total for them to give to a charity. For some business this is an easy and efficient way to include your customers, others may need to get more creative. Having co-branded collateral is a great way to share the story of your nonprofit partnership with your customers. Work with the organization you have linked arms with to create something that is beneficial for both parties. It might even something they can give out to their staff and volunteers as well. Another effective way to share the story of your partnership is to create a landing page on your website. Customers can easily click to receive more information and even visit the nonprofit’s website.
Regardless of which medium your company chooses, share your story with your customers. It is a gift to invite them into the work your company feels passionate about doing.