We are heartened that many corporate organisations have stepped up to contribute back to the society. While taking heed that corporate social responsibility goes beyond voluntarism and philanthropy, the continuity of such deeds is an important consideration for VWOs that rely on the help from the community. Mr Abhimanyau Pal, executive director of SPD, gives his take on this in the following letter which was first published in The Straits Times Online Forum on 12 January 2015.
We thank Ms Marissa Lee (“Corporate social responsibility: Getting it right”; 24 December 2014) and Mr Wong Shih Shen (“Corporate social responsibility is about improving well-being”; 27 December 2014) for highlighting that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more than philanthropy and volunteerism.
Reviewing one’s business for negative impact and taking steps to mitigate it is a responsible business practice. Any organisation that does so shows that it is not solely intent on making profit at the expense of the community it is in.
While this is important, the continuity of corporate philanthropy and volunteerism are key determinants in the viability and sustainability of programmes and initiatives for many causes, and plays a big part in the improvement of society as a whole.
One of the major challenges that voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) face is attracting more corporate sponsors and engaging them on a longer term basis. A survey by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre indicates that corporates prefer short-term partnerships so that their employees get to experience a variety of volunteering activities catering to different social causes. On the contrary, VWOs seek to forge longer and more strategic relationships with corporate sponsors that would enable them to plan further ahead for its beneficiaries.
CSR in the form of corporate philanthropy and volunteerism is vital to VWOs. Not only multinational corporations but small- and medium-sized enterprises could also consider taking up CSR.
Every contribution could create a ripple effect, and so when more companies take up CSR, it would encourage other corporates to do so and contribute their part to society.