“It is an honor to pay forward. This is a heartwarming and humbling experience.”
These are the words of Miss Jezrel Perez, our CEO here at Ripple VAs. This is because there is nothing as fulfilling as seeing our communities flourish with us.
The more successful we are, the more we have the power to change things for the better. This is the principle behind corporate social responsibility (CSR)— a set of policies and practices implemented by a company that enables them to be socially accountable by having a positive impact in the community.
CSR boosts the morale within the company, and it also strengthens the relationship between a company and its customers. It helps us become more conscious of the impact our businesses have on all aspects of society— environmental, political, social. The financial power that we also entails a morally powerful obligation.
If you are a big and successful company, it is your responsibility to give back to the society that made you so. A company without its workers and its customers is nothing, and it is our obligation to give back. We owe society our success, because the success of our companies is built upon the hard work of our employees and the support of our stakeholders. Without them, we will be on our knees. Having good CSR projects is an expression of gratitude to the society that ushered in our success, and people are more likely to support companies with strong CSR.
With this, how can businesses start with their CSR projects that are impactful and relevant to the community that they serve?
Before your company helps people outside, make sure it takes care of the people within. The workers should have equal pay for equal work with no discrimination on gender, race, and religion. There should also be sufficient benefits along with the pay, and the right to form a workers’ union should be upheld. There should be no exploitation nor unethical labor practices present within the workplace. If possible, environmental sustainability should also be practiced in the company’s operations, such as using and investing in renewable energy rather than in fossil fuels.
Ask your employees what cause they are passionate about, and involve them in the decision-making process. They might know of some organizations in the locality that need help, or personal community projects they need funding for. In this way, you can engage with your workers more; they will feel heard and cared for. You can also directly help the immediate community where your business is based, because it will forge stronger bonds between your company and the people in your area. It is also comforting to know that your business is part of nurturing the community that enabled it to thrive.
Begin with an end in mind.
When deciding on a CSR project, reflect on your company’s mission and vision. Besides your financial goals, what impact do you want to have in your community? You have to know what the ends are so you can properly utilize your means. You have to keep your goal in sight, and focus on it, so that your impact in society will be deep and meaningful.
Don’t just conduct activities, projects, and programs for the sake of the completion of your company’s CSR report. We have to do away with providing band-aid and one-shot solutions to societal ills. While outreach programs and coastal cleanups are well and good, let us think of more ways on how to make this sustainable. An outreach program can be sustainable if we continue supporting the institution after the event, and when we conduct educational or livelihood programs that will aid their recovery. A coastal cleanup can be sustainable if we work with organizations that conduct a waste assessment and brand audit (WABA), and gather data to be used in plastic pollution research. No matter what activity we choose to do, let’s make sure there are ways to sustain it.
Honor quality over quantity.
We do not have to help everyone if it’s just superficial. What we can do is to help a few people in ways that will change their lives for the better. It is not about how many hearts we touch, it is about how the hearts changed after we touched them.
Here at Ripple, we have three (3) mission projects that we are passionate about: our Ripples of Joy Campus Ministries, our Mission Offerings, and our Ripple VAs Scholarship Program.
Ripples of Joy is an organization aimed towards gathering young Christians, cultivating their spirituality and faith, and making them better catalysts in this changing world. Meanwhile, our Mission Offerings is our monetary and logistic support to various communities and ministries in the past two years. Lastly, our Ripple VAs Scholarship Program aims to inspire and enable tomorrow’s leaders to become a positive force for change. We initiated this to make a direct impact on the community by helping deserving students afford higher education.