Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Small Business Tips: Seven Ways To Give To Local Schools and Education

Small businesses that would like to help out schools, school children,and education in their communities, might think that they can't match the large scale efforts of big corporations, written about here earlier, such as Staples that has collected thousands of backpacks for needy school children, or Target that has donated large amounts to school libraries.

What realistically can a small business do that could even make a difference to the local schools that have lost revenue with the current budget cuts, and the students that need to acquire a better education in order to be able to get better jobs?

Small businesses may not have as many resources in time and money that large businesses do, but they do have the opportunity to have more immediate and direct impact. By being closer to the local issues and problems a small business can choose where and how best they can give to education, teachers, students, and schools.

Small businesses can take advantage of sponsorships by paying to have their name and logo on everything from athletic shirts,to plaques on doors, and even buildings such as libraries and gyms, as well as by sponsoring a  variety of programs, events and fundraisers. In a story from USA Today, way back in 2006, in Newburyport, MA, a high school offered businesses the sponsorship rights to the Principal's office for $10,000, an auditorium for $100,000, and  even the English classrooms  for $5,000 each.
There are numerous  fundraisers, special programs, and events where even small amounts of funding can be  helpful. While schools may be wary of this kind of relationship, the benefit to both businesses and schools is clear.
"If it's something that's going to allow us to improve the school system or the city, I don't think it's a bad thing," says Bill Greinke, owner of The Sign Shop of Sheboygan.
2.Donate to a scholarship program
Colleges have become unaffordable for underserved populations and scholarship programs that help send these students to college are critical to helping offset the education gap. Many local communities have scholarship programs through organizations like a local  Rotary Club a Chamber of Commerce, or a Community Foundation. Many community colleges have set up their own scholarship programs, raising money from caring local businesses.Such schools as Hartnell Community College in Salinas, CA receives donations from dozens of local businesses every year towards the Hartnell College Foundation.

Individual small donations  may not seem like a lot, but collectively they add up to helping make a college degree a reality for someone that might not be able to get one otherwise.

3.Start you own collection drive
In a former post, we wrote about Rick Hart of Hayward, CA,. Rick was working for a paper company at the time and so when his son's fourth grade teacher put out a request for donations of paper, Rick brought in a truckload. The teacher burst into tears when she saw the stacks of paper. Rick had not realized up until then  how desperate the need for supplies was in the local public schools.
By engaging clients and customers a business can help support local schools and school children that cannot afford to buy some necessities such as stationary, pencils and tissue paper. Teachers often have to dip into their own pockets to buy these items for the classroom or send requests to parents to send some in with their kids. After learning what school supplies are needed; a business can set up a collection bin outside the front door or inside the business. By advertising or through a press release in the local paper, the drive can bring in  a significant amount of supplies that can offset the deficit the schools are experiencing 

The organization, Create the Good has developed a great toolkit that has helpful tips for setting up a collection drive. 

5. Volunteer your skills-tutor or mentor
Skills based volunteering in the form of helping schools with math programs, computer classes, and even technical training is a meaningful way for a small business to become involved.  Small business owners can help students on career days with their resumes and interviewing skills. Contractors all across America are using their skills to help refurbish and build schools as well as school playgrounds through organizations like Kaboom.

Tutoring or mentoring is a unique form of volunteering that has special rewards. Local high schools and community colleges cannot afford to give students the extra academic assistance that many of them need to catch up. Often students need mentoring assistance maneuvering through the maze of the financial aid applications, where it  practically takes someone having the skills of a CPA to manage. Businesses can start their own tutoring and mentoring program in their communities. The organizatin Tutor Mentor Connection has a guide for starting  such a program in a local community.

6. Donate used equipment or extra inventory
One small consulting firm, after remodeling, was looking to donate their used, in good condition, office furniture such as desks, chairs and file cabinets. After a little bit of research, they found within a few miles, a public elementary school  that had so little funding the principal did not even have a desk. The school wholeheartedly welcomed every piece of furniture they received and the business received a tax break for their donation.
Then there is the organization, which we featured earlier, NAEIR, which has collected more than $1.6 billion of inventory from companies such as Microsoft and Reebok and donated it to churches, schools and non-profits across the country.
Old computers can be donated through an organizations such as Computers With Causes .They will repair, refurbish, and properly prepare computers and give them to an educational program.

7. Collaborate with other small businesses to help schools
After Rick Hart heeded the urgent need to help local schools, he came up with a collaborative cause marketing program where local businesses give back a portion of sales to the schools. Another example of collaboration is in Louisiana, where businesses have created a coalition, Businesses for Improving Louisiana’s Development, that address the needs for improving standards in higher education in the state.

A small business can collaborate with other small businesses in the community in many ways:  by hosting joint fund raising events; by creating a scholarship program; by forming a giving circle, and by creating coalitions like the one in Louisiana that can affect educational policy
These types of collaborative efforts can often have far more impact than any one individual business can achieve.

The USA Today's story came out fully four years ago when communities were alerted to the huge deficits in funding back then. The situation has become much more serious.  By carefully giving through the proper channels, businesses can help the the funding gap that is occurring all across communities in this country and help support teachers and the students. After all, businesses giving to schools is not only about funding them, but about businesses feeling a sense of ownership in the community.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Take Your Business Frustrations Out For A Good Cause

For businesses that are frustrated with the economy and think they can't afford to give to a good cause, there is always a way to turn those frustrations into a positive thing. In Provo, Utah, small businesses donated $5.00 to the local Boys and Girls Club in exchange for a sledge hammer and an opportunity to beat up an old car.

I love these creative ideas where non-profits and small businesses can collaborate on fundraising to help enrich and empower lives. It should come with a disclaimer: amateurs should not try this at home, only for serious business philanthropists.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Businesses Promote Give Back to School Shopping

Businesses are hoping to involve the customer in tried and true methods of collecting everything from dollar donations for school lunch programs, such as Whole Foods' latest initiative, their partnership with the saladbar project , to donating towards backpacks for needy children through Staples’ latest philanthropic effort, StaplesGive-Backpack.

Other businesses have kicked off back to school shopping campaigns with what they describe as “pay back” programs that are designated for support of local schools.Large and small retail businesses and consumer products companies, all across this country, are hoping this back to school shopping season will be a good one, and that makes them all the more interested in attracting customers, mostly the parents of these school kids, by getting them involved in raising money for their local schools through their purchases.

Although some cynics may consider this just a another cause marketing ploy, many of these companies have a very strong corporate commitment to supporting schools in other ways and see the “give back” programs as being in alignment with their overall strategic giving plan that is implemented throughout the entire school year.
Here listed below are some large and small businesses that are seeking ways to support schools with their “buy and give back” programs.

Take Charge of Education® is a school fundraising program: Target credit-card holders can designate up to 1 percent of their card purchases to the K-12 school of their choice. To have advantage of this program, visit. At present, more than 102,000 schools and more than 3.5 million Target customers participate in the program. Celebrating its 10-year milestone this year, Target has donated more than $200 million to participating schools since the program's inception. Launched in 2006, the Target Field Trip Grants Program helps educators bring learning to life through the distribution of field trip grants. In the program's first year, nearly $800,000 was awarded to 800 educators across the country. Parents, in association with their schools, can apply for the program online.

General Mills
We all shop for groceries, sometimes two or three times a week –- or more. Now turn those shopping trip into easy cash for your school, and encourage friends to do the same! Just look for the Box Tops logo on hundreds of products like Cheerios®, Hamburger Helper® and Kleenex®, in almost every aisle of the store. All you need to do is clip and send them to your school’s Box Tops coordinator —- each one is worth 10¢ for your school.

Safeway Inc.
One of the largest corporate supporters of education, giving more than $20 million to schools and education programs each year.
This week Safeway launched its 6th Annual 10% Goes Back to Schools program, a special in-store initiative that unites over 150 food manufacturers in support of education and students throughout the United States.
Through the 10% Goes Back to Schools program, which runs through September 14, 2010, Safeway is partnering with food manufacturers to donate 10 percent of the sale price of more than 2,300 selected products to local schools designated by customers.

Office Depot
This unique cash-back program for schools can not only benefit your child's school now, but help keep them in free supplies all year long. All you need to do is make a qualifying purchase at Office Depot and present your school's 5% Back to Schools program ID - and we'll take care of the rest.

It’s not just the big stores and large companies that help cusotmers shop and give back to local schools. Just in my backyard, there is an independent bookstore, (yes, one of a rare breed) where they donate 10% of purchase to a shopper’s designated school; a local Chamber of Commerce that created a Shop Local program with a collaborative of twenty businesses that give back a percentage of sales to the local schools for supplies; a candy store that gives all proceeds of sales to the local school; and a clothing boutique that gives five percent back to the local elementary school if the customer lives in that school’s district.

There are dozen's of ways any sized business can come up with ways to involve their customers with support of their local schools, school children, and education. Finding there is a need is easy. One just needs to take a ride on the school bus around the corner.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Corporate Volunteers Get Into Gear For Back To School

While millions of children are heading back to school within the next few weeks, many schools across the country are desperate for additional support in classrooms and for their students and teachers. Businesses have been supporting local schools by volunteering and making contributions all throughout the past years, and it is time to re-assess how they can continue to contribute for the 2010/2011 school year.

These following companies have been creating unique and exemplary programs that help support the schools with tutoring and mentoring, hands on projects like fixing up buildings and classrooms, and donating their time to collect and compile classroom materials and supplies.

Target -Volunteers School Library Makeovers, is a program that provides year-round volunteer opportunities for Target employees to get involved with their local schools and literacy programs. Target team members will improve over 1,500 school libraries this year. Check out their before and after photos of library transformations that Target volunteers have brought about.

IBM -More than 6,000 employees and retirees have spent hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours introducing young children to technology and promoting technology careers in the classroom. Each year, during EWeek (Engineers Week) volunteers help promote an interest in mathematics, science, and technology among students, teachers, and parents in activities brought to schools or at IBM sites.

Cisco - named RAFT's Resource Area for Teaching, top corporate volunteer in 2009, where employees work together to assemble teachers kits and educational materials.

Best Buy- has supported innovative employee volunteer programs that use technology to make learning fun for kids, where employees volunteers bring them the love and understanding of technology. Partnering with  Junior Achievement, 330,377 volunteers teach 379,968 classes to 9,795,485 students a year

ConocoPhillips- volunteers enjoy participating in the Junior Achievement program, which educates students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.

BlackBaud -In a previous post we featured Blacbaud as a leader in corporate philanthropy where volunteering is an important component of their community engagement. As an example, in a regional project in Cambridge, MA,  Blackbaud volunteers participate in the Everybody Wins Power Lunch, where they visit local underprivileged schools during the lunch hour. While serving nutritious meals volunteers sit down to read a book and assist students with their reading skills.

Comcast-Every year on Comcast Cares Day, tens of thousands of Comcast employees, their families, and friends come together to make a positive impact on their communities across the country. On April 24, 2010, spanning 39 states and Washington, D.C., Comcast Cares Day projects included fixing up schools. Watch this clip to see Comcast volunteers at the James Rhoad elementary school in West Philadelphia and hear about what it means to the volunteers, the teachers, and the mayor, to help the school on Comcast Cares Day.Check out the Comcast Cares Day site for more clips of schools that have benefited from Comcast volunteers helping out.

Education is a cornerstone of communities. That's why businesses are helping schools and students with volunteering efforts,innovative giving programs and partnerships with educational organizations. Any amount of support can change the lives of the children and have tremendous impact on all communities.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back To School For Corporate Giving

Parents and kids are gearing up to go back to school and so too businesses are gearing up their giving programs. Through funding, donations, and volunteering businesses are creating initiatives to address the critical needs of students and education.

Last week I participated at a education roundtable forum sponsored by the Entrepreneurs Foundation and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation for corporate community practitioners and education non profits to share examples of effective models of corporate involvement in education.

Manny Barbara, Vice President, Advocacy and Thought Leadership, of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation opened the forum with some stark statistics about some of the broad issues that the US faces in education and some specific challenges our communities face here in Silicon Valley.

President Obama in a speech at The University of Texas in Austin Texas last Monday August 9th, also outlined the challenges that education in this country faces and our educational goals that we must reach in order to strengthen our economy and be able to compete in a global economy. The statistics point to the United States falling behind other countries in math and science and also falling behind in college graduation rates for young adults.

"It's an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who've never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have gone to college. Education is an economic issue when nearly eight in 10 new jobs will require workforce training or a higher education by the end of this decade. Education is an economic issue when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that countries that out-educate us today, they will out-compete us tomorrow."

President Obama laid out the critical areas that need to be addressed in improving our college graduation rate: academic competencies, affordability, focused career programs, dropout rates  But also he emphasized the  need to create better schools across America at the pre-school, elementary and secondary levels in order for students to be prepared for college.

Businesses understand the critical need to educate a workforce that can help companies compete in a global economy. It is in their best interest to step up to the plate and to help close the achievement gap in many communities, to educate future leadership, and create this workforce that is better prepared for a global society. For global companies, they also understand and participate in supporting education in many of the countries and communities where they have a presence.

As corporate philanthropy becomes more aligned with each company's core business, many companies are investing in education as a focus area and creating innovative solutions to many of these problems.Safeway Corp. is an example of a company that understands this, as Mike Minasi, President of Marketing for Safeway said in a press release: "It makes sense for businesses to make a financial commitment to education, because today's students are tomorrow's workforce. We see this as an investment in the future of our communities."

In the next few posts I will be sharing the stories of some of these large and small companies, like Safeway and others, that are creating an impact by partnering with schools and communities to raise the level of education creating stronger communities and a better world for everyone.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


By: saheli chakraborty  

      Corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as  sustainable responsible business (SRB), or corporate social performance, is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure their adherence to law, ethical standards, and internati onal norms. Business would embrace responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stockholders and all other members of the public sphere Corporate Social Responsibility is a very well known concept in the present day world. Infact the corporate giants are very conversant with corporate social responsibility or corporate sustainability –in today's parlance.. The responsibility they have towards the society and the community as a whole cannot be denied. A tremendous surge and then a sustained consistency in the progress of the concept  of CSR has been witnessed over a span of quite a number of years, elevating it to the highest pedestal of importance in all aspects of business and production, be it private or public.
In the modern times the concept CSR incorporates and strives to explain and clarify numerous co related and uncorrelated issues peculiarly, particularly or especially pertinent to SOCIAL and environmental interests and welfare, keeping in full view the financial interests and benefits of the shareholders. Responsibility has more or less taken the shape of accountability and obligation. Business ethics has also been brought into the arena of corporate social responsibility. Infact an ethical business performance acts as a positive catalyst in hastening the process of corporate success via motivating the employees and the underlying system. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a commitment to improve community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources. However it is not charity but it is a core business strategy of an organization. It is not a common term,infact many Indian companies talked about responsible business or triple P(People, Planet and Profit).Some others of corporate citizenship or stewardship, responsible entrepreneurship and triple bottom line. Responsible competitiveness is nothing other than CSR.

Towards developing a rationale for Corporate Social Responsibility-
CSR goes by many names, which include: corporate citizenship, corporate philanthropy, corporate giving, corporate community involvement, community relations, community affairs, community development, corporate responsibility, global citizenship, and corporate societal marketing. It makes no difference what this social commitment of companies is called. It is a NEW way of doing business to cater to the needs of the market and its stakeholders. Social responsibility is the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that is consistent with sustainable development and the welfare of the society; takes into account the expectations of stakeholders ; is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behavior and is integrated throughout the organization.This is a working definition by ISO 26000 working group on social responsibility (Sydney, February 2007)

CSR is the way in which an organization strikes a balance between economic, social and environmental imperatives on the one hand and the expectations and welfare of the shareholders on the other. This implies that social responsibility or rather its execution involves a well planned strategy. Assessment of the social environment, formulation of objectives, devising operational plans and programmes, monitoring social progress, assessment of social and economic impact and summary of outcomes and performances are of utmost importance.In other words CSR implies that the profits of corporate houses should be diverted to socially responsible activities for the benefit of the society. Companies can exert an emphatic influence over the quality and credibility of its products in the market through its CSR activities, which has a great impact on society and also provides better synergy returns to their business. In fact CSR is the impact of organizational activity on society. CSR is becoming an increasingly important activity to businesses nationally and internationally. As globalization accelerates and large corporations serve as global providers, these corporations have progressively recognized the benefits of providing CSR programs in their various locations. CSR activities are now being undertaken throughout the globe. The rationale for CSR has been articulated in a number of ways. In essence it is about building sustainable businesses, which need healthy economies, markets and communities, which again necessitate all business houses whether private or public to carry out CSR activities. The government has declared it compulsory for industries to be socially responsible. They cannot ignore the society while carrying out production and amassing profit. A vibrant association or a high degree of correlation can be revealed between CSR and good public governance. Earlier this was neither specified nor executed, as the industrial policy resolutions failed to point out the real role of industries in society. Infact the real costs that the society incur, are primarily due to the presence and operation of the industrial houses. Public sector units may have to shell out 2-5% of profit in CSR. CSR for a PSU may no more be a photo opportunity for its chairman but would involve people-centric projects to be funded by 2-5% of the company's net profit.

J.R.D TATA, the founder of TATA STEEL, stated, ‘Every company has a special continuing responsibility towards the people of the area in which it is located and in which its employees and their families live.' The aspect of social responsibility of a company is mainly concerned with the role of the company in addressing issues of societal benefit and of reduction in social costs. There have been different instances where businesses originate in social awareness and welfare. Corporate Social Responsibility is a growing movement and to sustain it, it is necessary to improve and promote the interest in investment and the competence of both the society in general and of the governments in the individual countries to adjust to the CSR programme.

As for example the Grameen Bank which started by providing loans to the low income groups has now been able to provide financial returns which are reasonable in nature and helped improve lives of many people. The Grameen Bank and Grameen Foundation USA (GFUSA) have coordinated with big companies or corporate houses to expand their activities. Always there is interdependence between the society and the organization in question or rather a cycle of relationship exists between the two in which the society supports and sustains the organization while the latter is totally committed to the sustenance and development of the former. A one sided picture distorts the entire concept of CSR- which is conceptually a one way process of social accountability.

One must not forget that a flow in one direction cannot last long until and unless backed by other reciprocating flows. This implies that the role played by society is not a passive one or a neutral one. The growing responsibility of the society and the community in general cannot be denied at all. The awareness level of the society, which in turn is correlated with the literacy level, the standard of living, the preference pattern is a major determinant in this area- which helps individuals to voice their demands and grievances in a systematic manner ensuring that organizations in that locality practice CSR in a way that truly benefits society. The aim of every organization is to produce and distribute goods and services in such a way that income exceeds cost. Society expects the organization to be socially responsible as the economic environment of the society is dependant on the business environment. Socially responsible business is a common term today as business and societies are unthinkable without each other.

Cisco takes an entrepreneurial or venture-capital approach to social investing. They address important social issues through multiyear initiatives that can have an immediate impact, but that also can scale in size and scope, be replicated in other environments, and support a mechanism for achieving sustainability over time. These initiatives generally take the form of public-private partnerships that respond to a broad range of stakeholder perspectives and make the most of Cisco's core competencies, including their technologies, expertise, and collaborative approach.

They apply a four-stage "Cycle of Innovation" model to each of their social investments, remaining engaged through some or all of these cycles:
1. Identify innovative opportunities that address issues in their areas of focus.
2. Develop a framework for action, then test or pilot a solution and assess the results.
3. Scale the successful implementation and replicate it to fit similar situations.
4. Operate and maintain the initiative to the point where it can sustain itself, then adjust our engagement and look for another promising opportunity.

They believe that in the long run, education provides the strongest foundation for lasting social and economic progress. By applying effective 21st century educational techniques in schools and other institutions, communities worldwide can prepare students to enter the local talent pool and provide the skills needed to bolster economic growth. Cisco's education initiatives, including what may be the largest e-learning program in the world, help fill our own talent pipeline and those of our business partners, while also helping to close the technical skills gap that exists in many areas of the world.
But beyond that, Cisco's many education-oriented engagements create trusted relationships and seed the workforces of many types of organizations with knowledgeable people who are capable of building and maintaining the infrastructures upon which societies everywhere depend. In this way, we are contributing to a sustainable economic environment that will reward our corporate stakeholders and our fellow citizens alike.

Thus Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society. Thus companies consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment. This is seen to extend beyond the statutory obligation to comply with legislation as organizations are voluntarily taking further steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families as well as for the local community and society at large. If a company chooses to follow the way of CSR, it will integrate ethical concerns in its activities and in its interaction with all the. stakeholders. This implies that the corporate units function in such a way that their CSR activities in all  likelihood actually reach out to the beneficiaries –the society in general. The  ethical considerations are aimed at preparing the groundwork for expecting the correct reaction or response of their CSR generated  activities

It would be useless to even try to initiate action where the response generated would be negative. This is why  prior to corporate social responsibility lies the work of preparing the society for the same, which  should be the joint efforts of corporates, non-governmental organisations and definitely the monitoring authority, that is the government. Such concerted efforts can expectedly produce the desired results.The groundwork is essential ,since an unresponsive,obstructive ,unwilling,suspicious recipient ,in this case the society,will actually deter all efforts directed towards development and cause unnecessary delay and confusion.Providing employment andspreading literacy will actually see the commencement of CSR.Yes,the question willdefinitely arise that if transport and communication is grossly undeveloped ,how is it possible to spread literacy? The obvious solution would be the involvement of the residents in the construction of roads and other communication networks,which would therefore guarantee them employment.

The monitoring authority or the government has a very important role to execute here.Of course organisations like TSRDS (TATA  STEEL'S CSR) are laying their own  groundwork for successful implementation of their  corporate social responsibility, and in this sphere they are the forerunners and the pathfinders.With its headquarters in Jamshedpur TSRDS has been able to establish its credibility inthe society it operates,actually transforming a resistant  tribal undeveloped social set up to a group of faithful recipients and respondents who rely wholeheartedly on the csr development drives of the organisation,and it did take time .Therefore a valid conclusion would always be directed at a functional relationship between the corporates and the society, where a third entity ,the government plays the monitoring role.

1.B.Wenther Williams, Chandler David-Strategic Corporate Social Responsbility:Stakeholders In A Global Environment
2.Blake .D.H. ,The Management Of Corporate Social Policy
3Chatterjee N.N ,Social Responsibility Of Business: Some Indian Myths & Realities Decision vol 8, sep 1976
4.Chris C Ganotis,Managerial Attitudes Towards Corporate Social Responsibility, Paper presented at University of California.at Berkley (Nov 9-11, 1972)

About the Author
MOBILE NO: +918051174851 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +918051174851      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +918051174851 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
E MAIL chakrabortysaheli2009@gmail.com
Saheli Chakra borty is working as a Faculty (Economics) at IUJNC , Jamshedpur since December 2009.She is SET qualified and is an alumnus of Presidency college ,Kolkata from where she graduated with Economics Hon ours(B.Sc Eco).She post graduated with a 1st class in Economics from Kolkata University,(M.Sc Eco) and has completed B-ed ,with a 1st class from Kolkata University. She enrolled for M Phil in Jadavpur University and continued for 1 year. She has registered herself for PhD in Economics (which is near completion) from Ranchi University.Saheli is an ex-student of Loreto Convent Asansol.
She has a plethora of experience of fourteen years and more of teaching, examining and supervising in schools and colleges. She started her career as a professor of Economics and English in Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture in Golpark, Kolkata.She has also been a lecturer of Economics in South City College (Heramba Chandra) and Eklavya College, JSR.Saheli has the added experience of teaching Economics in eleven and twelve in Little Flower School, Tag ore Academy, and M.N.P.S. She has been a visiting faculty (Economics and Quantitative Methods) in IUJNC; Jamshedpur from August 2008 to November 2009.She has been a I.SC Supervisor and ISC Examiner.
Saheli has attended seminars and workshops connected to Economics at Management Skill Centre, Kolkata, on Lions Quest Skills at Jamshedpur.She has recently presented a paper on CSR and Chemical Industries at Chemcon, organized by All India Institute of Chemical Industries at Vizag from 27th to the 30th of Dec 2009.Her abstracts have been published in scholarsden.org.
She aspires to write many more papers in future and has already received an invitation from Kurukshetra and three international journals to write articles .Her interests range from Economics to English, Mathematics and Psychology.
(ArticlesBase SC #2483195)
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/ - CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THE SOCIETY

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Charity Choice: Innovative Commitment For Corporate Giving

Who would have thought that a little card could pack such a philanthropic punch? CharityChoice Gift Cards offers an array of opportunities to small and large businesses by providing a corporate customization suite of philanthropic giving options that engages the recipient in the gift giving choices, and delivers a message to clients about the company's commitment to charitable giving.

CharityChoice Gift Cards, is a fundraising enterprise that supports the non-profit, Special Kids Fund. The idea to develop this enterprise was hatched at a board meeting when a member mentioned that he was searching for a way to donate to charity in memory of an associate's deceased father, but was stumped since he did know what the family's favorite charities were. The board of Special Kids Fund came up with the idea of creating an internet based charitable giving program that has since grown to support over a hundred participating charities by employing a variety of mechanisms to enable the gift giving. 

Intrigued by their innovative ideas, I was thrilled to have an interview with Daniel Goldman, the co-founder of CharityChoice, where he chatted on the phone with me all the way from Israel.

Danny outlined the process of the customized gift card and online giving programs for businesses. He was enormously passionate about the benefits, for any sized businesses, of creating an unusual type of cause marketing by using CharityChoice Gift Cards.

How do you see Charity Choice Gift Card as helping businesses, large and small with their corporate giving and social responsibility?

Danny: In terms of Social Responsibility ….. When a business doesn’t want to align itself with a particular cause, but the cause they want to align with is just the giving part-corporations and small businesses can see  how CharityChoice can fulfill that mission. The idea that by fulfilling that component of cause affinity is kind of novel because it is not an affinity with a particular kind of cause but is an affinity with charitable giving in general.
That is a leap for many people, but the advantage here is that it gives the customer or client of the company, the choice. That is the key in terms of both Corporate Social Responsibility and in terms of gift giving, because the choice and the decision in how the charitable gift will be designated is left to the recipient.

How would this work? How does a business of any size, large or small, actually enable their customers or their clients to take advantage of this and partner with you?

Danny: When you mention a small business, what we give is an opportunity for a small business to brand in a way that they normally would not have. Usually with a particular charity if they are a small business, a large charity is not interested in their branding.
If they are a large business, Kelloggs for example, and they are going to have a campaign for a certain charity, then that affinity for the charity creates a partnership. If they are a small business, a large charity is not necessarily going to partner with them.

The way our card works is: you can give it in many forms, it can be a card, an e-mail; you can purchase code and put the code in a medium like on boxes, event tickets, programs for an event; the code itself can be distributed in a any way. So in fact, getting back to the charitable giving, they can create an affinity with a small group of charities, by limiting the choice to the smaller group rather than using the list that we have.

So it’s the business that is buying the cards and offering it to their customers.

Danny: For the customers, the clients- as holiday gift cards- they can put up their logo, or put up season greetings, or they can give thank you cards, and have whatever caption they want on the page. The client can then select the charities the funds can go towards.

There is the psychology of people not wanting other people to make decisions for them. When a company says they want to donate to a charity, a lot of people may not care about that charity. What we are offering is the feeling or reality of participation.

Psychologically it’s just a matter of respect. There was an article, Control Freaks, by David Berkowitz, director of marketing for search engine marketing firm icrossing, where he wrote about the psychological principle of people wanting control in their choices and how CharityChoice taps into that.

I noticed in your website that you have loyalty points that can be designated towards CharityChoice, in the bigger companies such as Wells Fargo and other banks.

Danny: If you are at the link:
www.mycharitypoints.org, it has a list for employee incentive programs, a whole slew of major corporations that are offering our card for incentive programs. They work the same as credit card incentive programs. On the credit card side you will see some links to actual programs, Verizon Business Partners, Wells Fargo, US Bank, many other banks. Verizon Business Link Rewards uses CharityChoice to help support relief efforts in Haiti.

We were covered by Incentive Magazine, they also had a diamond invitational golf tournament for host companies and clients at the event, where they passed out our cards in goody bags, passed as giveaways by Incentive Magazine. The industry itself treats us as a tremendous vehicle for incentives and all types of corporate promotions.

On the side of the charities, how do you benefit charities that partner with you?

We offer to a charity, the opportunity to register as your charity. Your charity has the functionality of being a featured charity. Your supporters can click on that link and make a purchase , then your charity is the featured charity for that purchase and 75% is pre-designated to the charity.

If a group of local businesses and local charities partner, it could become community buzz for charitable gift giving and benefit local charities.

I love the whole view that the gift you are giving is that choice and that are real psychological and economic benefits that come from this.

Definitely there is something in terms of the respect the integrity of the recipient with a charity gift. Therefore the participation is meaningful. We see it all the time when they send a thank you- its amazing in terms of the  types of comments we get back from people.

Danny sent me a link to some of  comments. Here's one from the Los Angeles branch of a major insurance company:
 "Thank You CharityGiftCertificates.org. Our 2007 holiday gift giving initiative was a huge success. We received only positive feedback from our customers thanking us for giving them the opportunity to give back to the charity of their choice. The service was fantastic and the gift certificates customized with our corporate logo was very professional."

Of course, CharityChoice has a registry for birthdays and weddings too, to make personal giving more meaningful. The choices and possibilities are endless-I expect to see CharityChoice expand into many more creative ways for businesses,organizations and individuals to continue to support causes they choose to support, with a little help from their friends.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cause Marketing: Conveying a Message That Makes You Smile

Everyone knows that a good commercial that makes people laugh does more for brand recognition and sales than a dull serious one. Well, just as I am getting over a serious attack of seriousness, thinking about philanthropy killing Africa and all, I can always count on a good friend, Christina McClure, who is heading up a TEDxYouth conference in my area, to write or post something on her TEDxCastilleja site, that just lifts me right up. 

Silly me, I didn't get it til the very end. The comments say it is touching, others think it's hilarious. I think it's all of those things, but more. Kudos to a brilliant piece which conveys a worthwhile  message.
See for yourself- watch the whole thing-